Friday, July 26, 2013

Ancient Bactria: Numismatic History (700 AD)


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"Zhang Qian (2nd Century BCE) He was an imperial envoy to the outside world in the 2nd century BC, during the time of the Han Dynasty who traveled along the Silk Road......An-si [Parthia or Persia] may be several thousand li west of the Ta-yue-chi. The people live in fixed abodes and are give to agriculture; their fields yield rice and wheat; and they make wine of grapes. Their cities and towns are like those of Ta-yuan. Several hundred small and large cities belong to it. The territory is several thousand li square; it is a yery large country and is close to the K'ui-shui [Oxus]. Their market folk and merchants travel in carts and boats to the neighboring countries perhaps several thousand li distant. They make coins of silver; the coins resemble their king's face. Upon the death of a king the coins are changed for others on which the new king's face is represented.".....

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Hephthalites Phromo Kesaro circa 8th Century Local Imitation of Hormizd IV with 3 countermarks......The Coins reads in Bactrian script: "The Glory Increased! The Majestic Sovereign!"

"Phrom Ge-sar was the successor of Sahi Tegin (700-738 CE) "King of Khurasan'.......the Kushan territories of Gandhāra and Udayana..... in 739, Tegin Shah abdicated the throne of Gandhara in favour of his son, Fu-lin-chi-p'o (also known as Fromo Kesaro, the Bactrian form of his name).........this victory occurred during the Reign of Fromo Kesaro (739-746 AD) and may have contributed to his transformation in later historical tradition into the Tibetan national hero Phrom Ge-sar, whose figure still survives today in the folklore of the territory of ancient Gandhara..... The territory was defined by natural boundaries: the Hindu Kush mountain range ... Beyond the foothills north of Gandhara was the ancient region of Udayana...".


Greek Coins; Bactria, found in India. Diodotos I as Satrap in the name of Antiochos II of Syria, 256 BC, Gold Stater (8.52 grams; 18 mm.), die-axis 6 o'clock. ...Ovs. Bust of Diodotos facing to right, wearing taenia, an ancient soft insignificant striking fault on the head, but without the regular test-cut, surrounded by a border of dots. .....Rev. Zeus standing left, with agis draped over left arm, and hurling thunderbolt in right hand. Greek legen: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY Of the King Antioxos. Eagle standing to left at feet, wreath above. Surrounded by a border of dots. Very fine. From a recent found AD 2001, about 30 coins found in Bihar, India. It is claimed, contained a number of examples of this rarity but few without obverse gash. ".....

Diodotus, the governor of the thousand cities of Bactria (Latin: "Theodotus, mille urbium Bactrianarum praefectus"), defected and proclaimed himself king; all the other people of the Orient followed his example and seceded from the Macedonians. (Justin, XLI,4) The new kingdom, highly urbanized and considered as one of the richest of the Orient (opulentissimum illud mille urbium Bactrianum imperium "The extremely prosperous empire of the thousand cities of Bactria" Justin, XLI,1), was to further grow in power and engage into territorial expansion to the east and the west...... "At the heart of the Greek or Roman inspiration of Gandhara art lies the fact that its first two patrons were Alexander and Diodotus-I (Asoka)....".....


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….July 2013


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