Coin, silver drachm, Menander; Mid 2nd Century BC; 180.96.7

Name/Title

Coin, silver drachm, Menander

About this object

This drachm, roughly worth a day’s wage for a skilled worker in the ancient Greek world, breaks tradition by presenting inscriptions on both sides of the coin. The inscriptions read “Saviour King Menander” on both sides: in Greek script on the obverse and Karosthi, an ancient Indian script, on the reverse.

King Menander I was born from descendants of Alexander the Great’s troops and ran a substantial empire across the Indian subcontinent. His epithet, Soter (meaning “saviour”), was a title that he adopted for himself during his reign. Accounts suggest that he was a favourable king, becoming a patron of Buddhism and handing over his kingdom to his son before his death. The Greek historian Plutarch notes that the city states under Menander’s rule agreed to divide his bodily remains among themselves and erect honorary monuments of him in their respective cities.

The obverse side features the bust of Menander, wearing a helmet, while the reverse shows a figure, Pallas, striding left in the role of 'promachos' ('front fighter'), wearing a helmet and an aegis, and holding a fulmen (lightning bolt).

Date Made

Mid 2nd Century BC

Period

Hellenistic

Place Made

Middle East

Place Notes

Bactria

Medium and Materials

Metal; Silver

Inscription and Marks

Greek inscription of obverse: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΜΕΝΑΝΔΡΟΥ (BASILEŌS SOTEROS MENANDROU). Kharosthi inscription on obverse: 'Maharajasa tratarasa Menadrasa'. Mint mark also on obverse.

Measurements

Weight 2.43g
Diameter ca. 17mm

Subject and Association Keywords

Inscriptions, Greek

Subject and Association Keywords

Art and mythology

Subject and Association Keywords

Kings and rulers in art

Subject and Association Keywords

Clothing and dress

Named Collection

The James Logie Memorial Collection, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Credit Line

Donated by M. K. Steven

Object Type

Exchange Media

Object number

180.96.7

Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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