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The Coin Galleries: Bactria: Euthydemos I

Diodotos II was succeeded as the king of the Bactrian kingdom by Euthydemos I (also spelled Euthydemus). It appears that Euthydemos was not a direct descendant of the Diodoti. He appears to have had a long reign, perhaps 230-200 BCE according to Bopearachchi, as the portraits on his coins show a steady maturing or aging.

During his reign, Euthydemos faced a challenge from the Seleucid king Antiochos III, who attempted to take back the Bactrian kingdom. Euthydemos was able to convince him that, since he was not related to the usurper Diodoti, he should not be the target of Seleucid agression, and he was able to obtain recognition of his sovereignty.

Euthydemos I (early coinage)

Bactria: Euthydemos I, Gold stater, c. 230-220 BCE
Weight: 8.14 gm., Diam: 18 mm., Die axis: 6h
Diademed head of king facing right, within dotted border /
Nude Herakles seated left on a pile of rocks,
     holding club in right hand which he rests on another pile of rocks,
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ EYΘYΔHMOY
     no monogram (appears to have been erased from the die at top left)
The early phase of Euthydemos's coinage followed the practice under Diodotos to have the die axis at 6 o'clock.

Bactria: Euthydemos I, Silver tetradrachm, c. 230-220 BCE
Weight: 16.33 gm., Diam: 27 mm., Die axis: 7h
Diademed head of king facing right, within dotted border /
Nude Herakles seated left on a pile of rocks,
     holding club in right hand which he rests on another pile of rocks,
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ EYΘYΔHMOY
      monogram in lower right field
Some of the early coins show Euthydemos even more youthful than this.

Bactria: Euthydemos I, Silver drachm, c. 230-220 BCE
Weight: 4.06 gm., Diam: 17 mm., Die axis: 6h
Diademed head of king facing right, within dotted border /
Nude Herakles seated left on a pile of rocks,
     holding club in right hand which he rests on another pile of rocks,
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ EYΘYΔHMOY
      monogram in upper left field
This is the plate coin of MIG 86b.

Bactria: Euthydemos I, Bronze dichalkon (doule unit), c. 230-220 BCE
Weight: 9.69 gm., Diam: 22 mm., Die axis: 3h
Head of Herakles facing right, within dotted border /
Horse prancing right,
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ EYΘYΔHMOY
The bronze coinage featured a completely different design. In this early phase, the bronze coinage seemed to adhere to a die axis at 3 o'clock and featured the characteristic steeply beveled edge, seen very clearly here on the obverse.

Bactria: Euthydemos I, Bronze chalkous (unit), c. 230-220 BCE
Weight: 5.48 gm., Diam: 21 mm., Die axis: 3h
Head of Herakles facing right, within dotted border /
Horse prancing right,
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ EYΘYΔHMOY

Bactria: Euthydemos I, Bronze hemi-lepton ( quarter unit), c. 230-220 BCE
Weight: 0.87 gm., Diam: 8 mm., Die axis: 3h
Head of Herakles facing right, within dotted border /
Horse prancing right,
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ EYΘYΔHMOY
Later coinage

Bactria: Euthydemos I, Silver tetradrachm, c. 220-200 BCE
Weight: 16.51 gm., Diam: 29 mm., Die axis: 12h
Diademed head of king facing right, within dotted border /
Nude Herakles seated left on a pile of rocks,
     holding club in right hand which he rests on another pile of rocks,
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ EYΘYΔHMOY
      monogram in lower right field
The defining characteristic of the later coinage is that the die axis tends to be around 12 o'clock. The portraits of Euthydemos show an older man than the youthful portraits of the early phase coinage.

Bactria: Euthydemos I, Silver tetradrachm, c. 220-200 BCE
Weight: 16.28 gm., Diam: 29 mm., Die axis: 12h
Diademed head of king facing right, within dotted border /
Nude Herakles seated left on a pile of rocks,
     holding club in right hand which he rests on another pile of rocks,
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ EYΘYΔHMOY
      monogram in lower right field
The elderly portrait on this coin indicates it must have been minted late in the reign of Euthydemos. This is regarded as one of the masterpieces of portraiture in the Bactrian series.

Bactria: Euthydemos I, Silver hemidrachm, c. 220-200 BCE
Weight: 2.05 gm., Diam: 14 mm., Die axis: 11h
Diademed head of king facing right, within dotted border /
Nude Herakles seated left on a pile of rocks,
     holding club in right hand which he rests on another pile of rocks,
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ EYΘYΔHMOY
      monogram in lower right field
The youthful portrait on this coin suggests it is an early issue, but the 11 o'clock die axis tells us it belongs to the later phase. It may have been one of the earliest coins of that phase.

Bactria: Euthydemos I, Silver hemidrachm, c. 220-200 BCE
Weight: 0.64 gm., Diam: 10 mm., Die axis: 12h
Diademed head of king facing right, within dotted border /
Nude Herakles seated left on a pile of rocks,
     holding club in right hand which he rests on his right knee,
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ EYΘYΔHMOY
      monogram in lower right field
Note that here Herakles rests his club on his knee.

Bactria: Euthydemos I, Silver hemiobol, c. 220-200 BCE
Weight: 0.35 gm., Diam: 9 mm., Die axis: 12h
Diademed head of king facing right, within dotted border /
Nude Herakles seated left on a pile of rocks,
     holding club in right hand which he rests on his right knee,
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ EYΘYΔHMOY
      monogram in lower right field

Bactria: Euthydemos I, Bronze dichalkon (doule unit), c. 220-200 BCE
Weight: 6.76 gm., Diam: 25 mm., Die axis: 6h
Head of Herakles facing right, within dotted border /
Horse prancing right,
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ EYΘYΔHMOY
The later bronze coinage has irregular die axes; it also has lost the beveled edge of the early phase bronze coins, as a result of which we have nice spread flans.
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