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The Coin Galleries: The Greeks: Diodotos

Around 250 BCE, probably during the reign of the Seleucid emperor Antiochos II, the governor of the Seleucid province of Bactria, named Diodotos or Diodotus, asserted his independence. The Seleucid province of Parthia was experiencing a similar breakdown of central authority, so the provinces of Parthia and Bactria became independent around the same time. Initially, Diodotos continued to issue coinage in the name of his nominal suzerain, but he put his own image on the coins and also replaced the image of Antiochos's favorite deity, Apollo, with an image of a "Thundering Zeus," a naked Zeus with his back facing and getting ready to hurl a thunderbolt.

Diodotos I ? as Satrap

Bactria: Diodotos I
in the name of Antiochos II
Gold stater, c. 250 BCE

Weight: 8.15 gm., Diam: 17 mm., Die axis: 7h
Bust of Diodotos facing right/
Zeus standing left, hurling thunderbolt
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY
     wreath and eagle in left field
Although this coin is nominally in the name of the Seleucid emperor Antiochos II, it actually marks the emergence of the Bactrian kingdom. Diodotos, who was probably the Seleucid king Antiochos II's governor in Bactria, declared his independence by placing his own bust on the coins. Eventually, he even replaced Antiochos's name with his own.

Bactria: Diodotos I
in the name of Antiochos II
Gold stater, c. 250 BCE

Weight: 8.26 gm., Diam: 17 mm., Die axis: 6h
Bust of Diodotos facing right/
Zeus standing left, hurling thunderbolt
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY
     N monogram and eagle in left field

Bactria: Diodotos I
in the name of Antiochos II
Silver tetradrachm, c. 250 BCE

Weight: 16.76 gm., Diam: 25 mm., Die axis: 6h
Bust of Diodotos facing right/
Zeus standing left, hurling thunderbolt
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY
     M monogram and eagle in left field

Bactria: Diodotos I
in the name of Antiochos II
Silver drachm, c. 250 BCE

Weight: 4.01 gm., Diam: 17 mm., Die axis: 7h
Bust of Diodotos facing right/
Zeus standing left, hurling thunderbolt
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY
     N monogram and eagle in left field

Bactria: Diodotos I
in the name of Antiochos II
Bronze dichalkon, c. 250 BCE

Weight: 6.96 gm., Diam: 21 mm., Die axis: 6h
Bust of Hermes right, wearing petasos /
Crossed caducei
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY
Diodotos I or II as King

Bactria: Diodotos I or II, as king
Gold stater, c. 250-230 BCE

Weight:8.24 gm., Diam:18 mm., Die axis:7h
Bust of Diodotos facing right/
Zeus standing left, hurling thunderbolt
Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΔIOΔOTOY (of King Diodotos)

Bactria: Diodotos II, as king
Gold stater, c. 230 BCE

Weight:8.15 gm., Diam:19-20 mm., Die axis:7h
Bust of king facing right/
Zeus standing left, hurling thunderbolt
Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΔIOΔOTOY (of King Diodotos)
Diodotos I was succeeded by his son Diodotos II. Numismatists have generally been unable to distinguish which coins were of which Diodotos, because they seem to have maintained the same reverse type, the so-called "Thundering Zeus." This coin, previously unpublished, is almost certainly an issue of the younger Diodotos, because of the very youthful portrait and the fact that the coin names Diodotos as king.

Bactria: Diodotos I or II, as King
Silver tetradrachm, c. 240 BCE

Weight: 16.75 gm., Diam: 26 mm., Die axis: 6h
Bust of Diodotos facing right/
Zeus standing left, hurling thunderbolt
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΔIOΔOTOY (of King Diodotos)
     M monogram and eagle in left field

Bactria: Diodotos I or II, as King
Silver drachm, c. 240 BCE

Weight: 3.58 gm., Diam: 18 mm., Die axis: 11h
Bust of Diodotos facing right/
Zeus standing left, hurling thunderbolt
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΔIOΔOTOY (of King Diodotos)
     monogram in right field

Bactria: Diodotos I or II, as King
Silver hemidrachm, c. 240 BCE

Weight: 1.78 gm., Diam: 13 mm., Die axis: 11h
Bust of Diodotos facing right/
Zeus standing left, hurling thunderbolt
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΔIOΔOTOY (of King Diodotos)
     monogram in right field

Bactria: Diodotos I or II, as King
Bronze dichalkon, c. 240 BCE

Weight: 5.74 gm., Diam: 21 mm., Die axis: 6h
Bust of Hermes right, wearing petasos /
Pallas Athena standing facing, holding spear
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΔIOΔOTOY (of King Diodotos)

Bactria: Diodotos I or II, as King
Bronze chalkous, c. 240 BCE

Weight: 3.25 gm., Diam: 17 mm., Die axis: 7h
Bust of Hermes right, wearing petasos /
Pallas Athena standing facing, holding spear
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΔIOΔOTOY (of King Diodotos)

Bactria: Diodotos I or II, as King
Bronze lepton (hemi-chalkous), c. 240 BCE

Weight: 1.75 gm., Diam: 13 mm., Die axis: 6h
Bust of Hermes right, wearing petasos /
Pallas Athena standing facing, holding spear
     Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΔIOΔOTOY (of King Diodotos)
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