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The Coin Galleries: Indo-Greeks: Hermaios (c. 90-70 BCE)

Hermaios (also spelled Hermaues) was the last Greek king to rule in Gandhara and the Kabul valley. His kingdom must have been overrun by nomadic invaders from the north, the Yueh-Chih. These same nomadic tribes had swept through Bactria in the middle of the second century BCE, terminating Greek rule in that area, and now, in the early part of the first century BCE, they drove south over the Hindu Kush mountains and established their rule there also. The vast majority of coins in the name of Hermaios, which are available in large quantities, were imitations of that king's coins by these invading nomads. The earliest coins of the Kushan king Kujula Kadphises also name Hermaios and imitate his coins. The lifetime issues of Hermaios are in fact quite scarce, and some types are very rare.

     
Hermaios, Lifetime Issues

Hermaios, Silver tetradrachm
Weight: 9.74 gm. Diameter: 25 mm Die axis: 12:30h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 414k, Bop 2E

Hermaios, Silver drachm
Weight: 2.24 gm. Diameter: 17-19 mm Die axis: 12h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 415p, Bop 3A

Hermaios, Silver drachm
Weight: 2.47 gm. Diameter: 19-17 mm Die axis: 12h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 415 var, Bop 3 var
A previously unpublished variety that features a monogram well-known in the Indo-Greek series, but previously unknown for Hermaios. This PKA monogram was last used by Antialcidas on his Zeus-reverse type ... a type with a reverse design corresponding to this Hermaios issue. It suggests that, at least in the area where that monogram was used, Hermaios succeeded Antialcidas. The similarity of execution on this coin with some coins featuring the PKB monogram seen on the previous coin suggests also that the PKB monogram replaced the PKA monogram.

Hermaios, Silver tetradrachm
Weight: 9.71 gm. Diameter: 27 mm Die axis: 12h
Helmeted, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 412a, Bop 4D

Hermaios, Silver drachm
Weight: 2.48 gm. Diameter: 17 mm Die axis: 12h
Helmeted, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 413a, Bop 5A
(photo, courtesy CNG)

Hermaios, Silver drachm
Weight: 1.82 gm. Diameter: 17 mm Die axis: 12h
Queen ? mounted on horse prancing right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in right hand
     and resting left arm on throne arm,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG ---, Bop 6A
(photo, courtesy CNG)
This coin is sometimes described as depicting a king on a prancing horse, but the shape of the figure's torso quite clearly indicates a female form. The type recalls the prancing horse type of the Hermaios coins with Calliope.

Hermaios, AE quadruple
Weight: 7.76 gm. Dimensions: 22 x 18 mm Die axis: 12h
Bust of Zeus/Mithra right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ΣΩTHPOΣ / EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Horse walking right,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa / tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 416b, Bop 9

Hermaios, AE quadruple
Weight: 8.94 gm. Dimensions: 19 x 21 mm Die axis: 12h
Radiate bust of Zeus/Mithra right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ΣΩTHPOΣ / EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Horse walking right,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa / tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 417, Bop 9
Mitchiner regards the coins with the prominently radiate bust of Zeus/Mithra as a distinct type, but Bopearachchi regards both types as the the same.
Posthumous issues (Imitations)

Hermaios imitation, Silver tetradrachm
Weight: 8.75 gm. Diameter: 25 mm Die axis: 1h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 414d, Bop 10H
The Hermaios imitations issued by the invading nomads are all of the bare-headed bust / Zeus enthroned type, with the early coins being of good style and decent silver content, and later coins steadily deteriorating in style and silver content. The early imitations, like this one, are distinguishable only by the monograms used.

Hermaios imitation, Silver tetradrachm
Weight: 9.64 gm. Diameter: 25 mm Die axis: 12h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 414f, Bop 10A

Hermaios imitation, Silver tetradrachm
Weight: 9.51 gm. Diameter: 25 mm Die axis: 1h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 414m, Bop 10J

Hermaios imitation, Silver drachm
Weight: 2.10 gm. Diameter: 16 mm Die axis: 12h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 415f, Bop 11L

Hermaios imitation, Silver drachm
Weight: 1.98 gm. Diameter: 16 mm Die axis: 11h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 415k, Bop 11E

Hermaios imitation, Silver tetradrachm
Weight: 8.73 gm. Diameter: 27 mm Die axis: 12h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 418 type, Bop 12B
One stage of degeneration in the style of the imitation coins had the omicrons (the Greek letter O) take a "square" shape, as on this coin.

Hermaios imitation, Silver drachm
Weight: 2.29 gm. Diameter: 17 mm Die axis: 11h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 419j, Bop 13A

Hermaios imitation, Billon drachm
Weight: 1.80 gm. Diameter: 16 mm Die axis: 12h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 419a, Bop 15A

Hermaios imitation, Billon drachm
Weight: 2.17 gm. Diameter: 16 mm Die axis: 12h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 415 type, Bop 15B

Hermaios imitation, Billon tetradrachm
Weight: 8.29 gm. Diameter: 25 mm Die axis: 12h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 418f, Bop 16A

Hermaios imitation, Billon drachm
Weight: 2.08 gm. Diameter: 16 mm Die axis: 12h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 415 type, Bop 17 var

Hermaios imitation, Billon tetradrachm
Weight: 8.68 gm. Diameter: 23 mm Die axis: 1h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 420b, Bop 18B

Hermaios imitation, Billon drachm
Weight: 2.10 gm. Diameter: 16 mm Die axis: 12h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 419g, Bop 19C

Hermaios imitation, AE tetradrachm
Weight: 8.52 gm. Diameter: 23 mm Die axis: 7h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 421a, Bop 20O
The last coins in this series seem to be almost all base metal. These may have been issued by Kujula Kadphises. Note how the die axis, which had hovered around 12 o'clock for the entire series, now becomes much more random.

Hermaios imitation, AE tetradrachm
Weight: 10.09 gm. Diameter: 23 mm Die axis: 3h
Bare-headed, diademed bust of king right, Greek legend around:
     BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ EPMAIOY
     (Basileos Soteros Hermaiou ... of King Hermaios, the Saviour)
Zeus enthroned three-quarters left, holding sceptre in left hand
     and bestowing blessing with right hand,
     Kharoshthi legend around: maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa
Reference: MIG 421b, Bop 20 type
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