Agathocles of Bactria

Agathocles Of Bactria

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Agathocles of Bactria

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Agathocles Dikaios ( "GoodGlory", ο Δίκαιος "the Just") was a Buddhist Indo-Greek king, who reigned between around 190 and 180 BCE. He might have been a son of Demetrius and one of his sub-kings in charge of the Paropamisade between Bactria and India. In that case, he was a grandson of Euthydemus whom he qualified on his coins as "Basileas Theos" ("Βασιλέας Θεός" Greek for "God-King").

Agathocles was contemporary with or a successor of king Pantaleon. He seems to have been attacked and killed by the usurper Eucratides, who took control of the Greco-Bactrian territory. Little is known about him, apart from his extensive coinage.

Pedigree coinage

Agathocles issued a series of "pedigree" dynastic coins, probably with the intent to advertise his lineage and legitimize his rule, linking him to Alexander the Great, a king Antiochus Nikator (Greek: "Νικάτωρ" "Victorious", probably intended is Antiochus III), the founder of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom Diodotus and his son Diodotus II, Euthydemus, Pantaleon, and Demetrius.

Dynast or usurper?

The pedigree coinage has been seen as a token of his ancestry, but a critical view might be considered. All the associations provide a contradictory image. The Euthydemid kings (Demetrius and Euthydemus) are not known to be related to Diodotus – in fact, Euthydemus I overthrew Diodotus II! The Seleucids were enemies of the...
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