165/55-130 BC Bactria, Indo- Greeks, AR Drachm rv Athena stg (#01-B165-AN100)

Bactria is the ancient name for the region east of present day Iran encompassing most of modern day Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Bactria marked the farthest reaches of Greek influence into central Asia. Originally part of the Macedonian Empire under Alexander the Great, it remained under control of the Seleucid Kingdom for more than a century until the Hellenistic kings asserted their independence and formed the Indo-Greek Kingdom. The Indo-Greeks ruled the region from the second century BC until the beginning of the first century AD.

The coin’s obverse features the profile image of the Bactrian king Menander wearing a diadem, an ornamental headband that is worn like a crown to symbolize one’s royal status. Menander expanded his kingdom farther into the Indian subcontinent than any other Bactrian ruler. He is the only Greek to have been celebrated in ancient Indian literature for his adoption of the Buddhist faith.

The reverse depicts Athena, the Greek goddess of war and wisdom, balancing a shield on one arm and brandishing a thunderbolt in her raised hand. She was the patron goddess of Athens but was worshipped throughout the Greek world as Athena Polias, the protector of cities.

Graded AU (About Uncirculated) by NGC, one of the most respected coin grading services in the United States, this silver drachm exhibits a well centered strike with amazing detail and maintains a pleasing mint-like luster. This is a superb coin that would make an excellent addition to any collection.

(The image is for reference purposes only. Since each ancient coin is unique, the one pictured may not be the exact coin you receive.)