Indo-Scythian (N. India) Tetradrachm of Azes I, struck c. 57-12 BC

These coins are among the most meaningful documents of Alexander’s the Great’s legacy in the Near East. They are especially interesting for their bilingual inscriptions: “[coin] of the great king of kings, Azes” which occurs in Greek on the obverse and in the local Kharoshthi script on the reverse.

No stronger testament to the legacy of Alexander exists than these coins, being issued about three centuries after Alexander’s passing, yet they still show the cultural footprints of the conquering Greeks.

On the obverse, Zeus standing left, holding torque and scepter ΒΑΣΙΛΕΟΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΜΕΓΑΛ·Υ ΑYΟΥ. On the reverse, Nike standing right, holding wreath and palm frond; monogram to inner right.

Azes I (57-35 BCE) was an Indo-Scythian ruler who completed the domination of the Scythians in northern India. Although Maues and his successors had conquered the areas of Gandhara, as well as the area of Mathura from 85 BCE, they were unsuccessful against the Indo-Greek kings remaining behind the Jhelum River in eastern Punjab.