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THE mists of obscurity cling heavily round the course that events took in India during the years that immediately followed the death of Alexander the Great. The statements of the original authorities, besides being meagre, are so fragmentary that they are seldom perfectly intelligible. One fact, however, seems to stand out clearly. As soon as the grip of the master-hand was removed, the native element began to recover strength and courage, a process which must have been materially assisted by discord amongst the Europeans who had been left behind,whether as soldiers or as settlers.

As conqueror of the Persian empire, Alexander had inherited the system of government by satraps; and, so far as can now be gathered, the broad outline of his original organization contemplated three great Indian satrapies, one corresponding roughly to the modern province of Sind, another covering the whole of the basin of the Upper Indus from the foot of the Paropanisus, or Hindu Kush, to the banks of the Hydaspes (Jhelum), and a third stretching from the southern shore of the last-named river to the northern shore of the Hyphasis (Beas).

The first two included the old Achaemenid provinces of 'India' or 'the country of the Indus', and Gandhara which corresponds to the present districts of Peshawar and Rawalpindi. The third represents probably the region 'conquered' and not merely 'reclaimed' by Alexander. In accordance with the traditional Indian policy (Manu VII, 202) that a conquered kingdom should continue to be governed by some member of its ancient royal family, very important positions were assigned to the native rajas, Taxiles and Porus, the latter being placed in sole charge of the satrapy that included his original kingdom, the country between the Hydaspes and the Acesines (Chenab). According to Diodorus they were recognised as virtually independent rulers. And they appear to have been quick to make use of their opportunity.

The accounts of the division of the empire by Alexander's generals at Babylon (323 B.C.) and those of the subsequent partition of Triparadisus (321 B.C.) agree in pointing to a considerable modification of the limits of the Indian satrapies as at first mapped out. A Macedonian - Pithon, son of Agenor - seems to be entrusted with the control of the land lying between the Paropanisus and the Indus; Taxiles is left supreme in the country between the Indus and the Hydaspes; and Porus is given a great accession of territory, his sphere of influence now extending all the way down the main stream to the sea. Diodorus more than hints that the recognition thus accorded to the native princes was due to a wholesome respect for their material power : Antipater, he says, felt that it would be dangerous to attempt to circumscribe their jurisdiction except with the support of an expedition equipped on a scale of the first magnitude and commanded by a general of the highest capacity.

To some the story of this readjustment, and more particularly of the aggrandisement of Porus, has appeared so surprising that they decline to accept it as authentic, and are disposed to explain it away by an underlying confusion. But there is no sufficient ground for setting aside the written record. Further, if Diodorus and Quintus Curtius are right in stating that, so far as Asia was concerned, the momentous assembly which decreed the partition of Babylon did no more than ratify arrangements already sanctioned by the dead king, the change must have come during the lifetime of Alexander.

That there was unrest in the land almost as soon as he had quitted it, is indeed evident from what happened in the satrapy of the Upper Indus. Before he reached Carmania on his westward march, he was overtaken by tidings of the assassination of Philippus, the Macedonian governor whom he had installed as satrap there. And, though we learn from Arrian that the immediate cause of the murder was an ebullition of the undying jealousy between Greeks and Macedonians, the incident may well have been symptomatic of more deeply seated trouble.

At all events Alexander decided that it was not convenient to fill the place of Philippus at the moment. Instead, he sent despatches to Taxiles and to a Thracian officer called Eudamus or Eudemus, instructing them to make themselves responsible for the government until another satrap should be nominated. Presumably their functions were to be separate. It is reasonable to suppose that the general conduct of affairs would be delegated to Taxiles, and that Eudamus would be given the command of the scattered bodies of Greek and Macedonian troops, as well as some measure of authority over the various colonists of Hellenic nationality.

India after Alexander

Whether the new appointment that Alexander had foreshadowed was ever made, is doubtful. It may be that circumstances proved too strong for him, and that the arrangement revealed by the partitions of Babylon and Triparadisus represents what he had perforce to assent to. In any case the dual system of control, which he had set up as a temporary make-shift, bore within it from the outset the seeds of intrigue and ultimate rupture. Eudamus, it will be observed, is not mentioned in connection with either of
the partitions. Yet he appears to have retained some sort of position as leader of the Hellenic 'outlanders' in the valleys of the Indus and Hydaspes. Ere long he drifted into conflict with the
native Indian element.

Before 317 BC he had Porus treacherously slain, seized his war-elephants, and marched, with all the forces he could muster, to join the coalition of Eastern satraps who had drawn together to oppose the arrogant pretensions of their colleague of Media. The thunder of the captains and the shouting had also reached the ears of Pithon, son of Agenor, and he too had abandoned his province to fling himself into the fray. Neither ever returned. Eudamus met his doom at the hands of Antigonus. Pithon fell fighting by the side of Demetrius at the battle of Gaza. Nor had either any successor in his Indian command, a fact that is surely full of significance. May not their withdrawal from India be most simply accounted for on the supposition that each had become alive to the hopelessness of his situation?

Such an hypothesis would be entirely consistent with the scene that confronts us when next the curtain rises on the drama of Graeco-Indian relations. Taxiles, like Porus, has disappeared from the stage. But his place is filled by a figure of much more heroic proportions. By the time that Seleucus Nicator, founder of the dynasty that bears his name, had made his position in Babylon so secure as to be able to turn his attention to the extreme east of the dominions he had won, a new ruler had arisen in India.

Chandragupta or, as the Greeks called him, Sandrocottus, the first of the Maurya emperors, had made himself master of the whole of the north. In his youth he had seen Alexander the Great, and when he grew to manhood he put into practice some of the lessons which Alexander's success was calculated to teach. It has been conjectured that he employed Greek mercenaries in his struggle with Nanda or Nandrus, the king of Magadha (S. Bihar) on the ruins of whose power he rose to greatness; he certainly seems to have adopted western methods in the training and discipline of his local levies. Under his leadership India threw off the last remnants of the Macedonian yoke. And, if we can rely on Justin, the revolution was not a bloodless one : he indicates that such of the Macedonian prefects as still held their posts were ruthlessly put to the sword.

The date of the Indian expedition of Seleucus I is doubtful. Von Gutschmid placed it c. 302 BC; and, although his calculation rests on what is probably an erroneous view as to the period when the coins of Sophytes were issued, it is quite possible that he has come within two or three years of the truth. It was not till 311 that the Satrap of Babylon - he had not yet
assumed the title of king - was free to quit his capital with an easy mind, and devote his energies to consolidating his authority in the more distant provinces. The task must have required time, for some hard fighting had to be done, notably in Bactria. But, beyond the bare statement of Justin to that effect, we have no details. We may suppose that about 305 or 304, at the latest, he deemed himself ready to demand a reckoning with Chandragupta. Advancing (we may be certain) by the route along the Kabul river, he crossed the Indus. The minute topographical knowledge which Strabo and Pliny display, and more particularly the vague assertion of the latter that "all the remaining distances were searched out for Seleucus Nicator" have led Droysen and others to conclude that he not merely entered the territory he had come to regain, but actually penetrated as far as Palibothra (Pataliputra) on the Ganges, the chief seat of his enemy's power, whence he made his way along the banks of the river to the sea.

The premises, however, are scarcely substantial enough to bear so far-reaching a conclusion. Pliny may quite well have had in his mind, not reconnaissances made during a campaign, but information gathered subsequently by the Greek envoys who, as we shall see presently, resided at the court of the Indian king.

Invasion of India by Seleucus

Chandragupta could put into the field more than half a million of men, with 9000 war-elephants and numerous chariots to boot. If Seleucus had really forced his way to the shores of the Bay of Bengal in the teeth of an opposition so formidable, his astonishing feat was hardly likely to have been left to a Roman geographer to chronicle. Besides, in that event the upshot of the campaign would surely have been a more decided triumph. As it is, the terms of peace point to a frank recognition by Seleucus that his
own arm was neither long enough nor strong enough to govern India from Babylon. Invader and invaded, we are told, concluded an alliance and sealed it by a farther compact. According to Appian it would naturally signify an actual marriage between individuals, and hence it is frequently argued that Seleucus must have become either the father-in-law or the son-in-law of Chandragupta. There seems, however, to be no room in his family circle, as we otherwise know it, for any relationship of the kind. Probably, therefore, it is safer to fall back on Strabo, and to suppose that what is implied is a convention establishing a jus cannubii between the two royal families. In that land of caste a jus connubii between the two peoples is unthinkable.

As regards territory, the arrangement appears, upon the face of it, to have been entirely favourable to Chandragupta. Not only did Seleucus acquiesce in his sovereignty over all the country beyond the Indus. He also transferred to him the satrapies of Arachosia (Kandahar) and the Paropanisadae (Kabul), with at least some portion of Gedrosia (Baluchistan) and of Aria (Herat). In other words, the frontiers of the Maurya empire were extended so as to embrace the southern half of Afghanistan and perhaps the whole of British Baluchistan. The expression 'presented' which is used by Strabo to describe the transaction, does not preclude the possibility of the transfer having been made upon conditions.

A return gift of 500 war-elephants is, in fact, mentioned. But under no circumstances could that have been looked on as an equivalent.

We may take it that there were further stipulations as to freedom of trade and the like. There may even have been a nominal and unmeaning acknowledgment of suzerainty. It must be borne in mind that the written record contains nothing to show that Seleucus suffered defeat, nothing even to suggest that the rival armies ever came to blows at all. The probability is that, while he was still endeavoring to gauge the magnitude of the task that confronted him, an urgent call for help reached him from the confederate kings across the 2500 miles that separated him from Asia Minor. The instinct of self-preservation required that he should assist them. If he allowed Antigonus to crush Cassander, Lysimachus, and Ptolemy, his own turn would not be long in coming. It was only politic, therefore, to make the best terms he could with Chandragupta, whose 500 elephants reached the theatre of war in time to play a conspicuous part in the final overthrow of Antigonus at Ipsus in the year 301.

For more than a generation after that battle there is an almost complete blank in our knowledge of the history of Central Asia. Seleucus himself took up his residence at Antioch on the Orontes. But he soon realized that the new city lay too far west to be a convenient administrative centre for the eastern portion of his empire. Accordingly he entrusted the government of all the provinces beyond the Euphrates to his son Antiochus, on whom after the lapse of a few years he conferred the title of king. We are without definite information as to the exact date of this devolution of authority. It is generally assigned to 293 BC, and cuneiform documents undoubtedly bear the names of 'Siluku' and 'Antiuksu' as joint-kings from 289 onwards.

In 281 Seleucus was assassinated. According to Memnon and Pausanias, Antiochus had already had his powers as co-regent greatly amplified, the whole of Asia having been committed to his care. In any case his father's death would render his immediate presence in the west imperative, if his heritage was to be maintained unimpaired. To the west he accordingly went. But it seems highly probable that the plan of stationing a viceroy of the east at Seleucia on the Tigris was still continued. Though no inkling of this has survived in any historian, cuneiform inscriptions record 'Antiuksu' and 'Siluku' as joint-kings from 275 (or possibly 280) to 269, and a similar cooperation between 'Antiuksu' and 'Antiuksu' from 266 to 263. 'Siluku' here is clearly Seleucus, the elder son of Antiochus by Stratonice; we gather from a chance fragment of John of Antioch that he was put to death on suspicion of conspiring against his father. The 'Antiuksu' who takes his place, is no less clearly his younger brother, destined to become sole ruler in 261 as Antiochus II (Theos).

Under all of these kings, including Antiochus II, the friendly relations originally established with the Maurya empire remained unbroken. The indications of this, if few, are sufficient. Athenaeus has preserved a story of certain strange drugs sent as a present by Chandragupta to Seleucus I. And it is to the same writer that we owe an anecdote of how Chandragupta's son, Bindusara or Amitrochates, to give him his Greek name, wrote to Antiochus I, asking him to buy and have conveyed to him some sweet wine, some figs, and a sophist to teach him to argue. Antiochus replied, forwarding the figs and the wine, but explaining that sophists were not a marketable commodity among the Greeks. Nor was the intercourse between the courts confined to such occasional civilities.

We know from Strabo and others that Megasthenes repeatedly visited Chandragupta's capital as an envoy of Seleucus, thereby acquiring a mass of information which made his writings on India an invaluable storehouse for later geographers, and that Daimachus of Plataea also went on a mission or missions from Antiochus I to Bindusara, likewise embodying his experiences in a book.

Other Hellenic states must have been drawn into the circle of amity, for Pliny speaks in the same breath of Megasthenes and of a certain Dionysius who (he explains) was despatched as an ambassador to India by Ptolemy Philadelphus. As Philadelphus reigned from 285 to 246, the Maurya emperor to whom Dionysius was accredited may have been either Bindusara or his more famous son Asoka, whose attempt to convert the Hellenistic kings to Buddhism is justly regarded as one of the most curious episodes in early Indian history.

Relations of Syria with India

It is natural to suppose that such intimate diplomatic relations would rest on a solid foundation of mutual commercial interest. And corroborative testimony is not altogether wanting. Strabo, speaking of the Oxus (Amu Daria), states that it formed a link in an important chain along which Indian goods were carried to Europe by way of the Caspian and the Black Sea. He cites as one of his authorities Patrocles, who was an admiral in the service of Antiochus I, and thus makes it clear that the route was a popular one early in the third century BC.

Evidence of the prosperity of Central Asia at this period is also furnished by the coins. There need be no hesitation about associating with that region a well-known series of silver pieces, of Attic weight, having on the obverse a laureate head of Zeus, and on the reverse Athena fighting in a quadriga drawn by elephants. The inscription SELEUCUS KING shows that they must be later than 306, when the royal title was first assumed. The denomination of most common occurrence is the tetradrachm; but drachms, hemidrachms, and obols are not infrequent. We are safe in assuming with Imhoof-Blumer that the majority of them were minted at Babylon or at Seleucia on the Tigris. A minority, which are of a quite distinctive and somewhat coarser fabric, appear to hail from even farther east; the specimens in the British Museum have nearly all been purchased at Rawalpindi, or obtained from collections formed in India. Generally, though not invariably, these latter have been struck from regularly adjusted dies, while a few have monograms on the obverse, features that at once recall certain of the Athenian imitations spoken of in an earlier chapter as coming from the same district.

One small group of tetradrachms and drachms, from regularly adjusted dies, bears the inscription BASILEUS ANTIOCHUS SELEUCUS, indicating probably, as Six and Imhoof have suggested, that the coins were minted during the viceroyalty of Seleucus, son of Antiochus I. The omission of the father's kingly title has thus a sinister significance. Unlike the rest, they are not of Attic weight, but follow the lighter standard already met with above in another connection; the average weight of five tetradrachms
is only 212'3 grains (13'82 grammes).

If the witness of the coins is an inarticulate one, its cumulative effect is nevertheless impressive. It proves that there was a busy life throbbing on both sides of the Indian frontier during the forty or fifty years about which history is silent, that merchants were constantly coming and going, buying and selling. When the silence is at length broken, it is by the confused echo of an occurrence that was fraught with momentous consequences to India's immediate future.

Revolts of Bactria and Parthia

The birth of the new kingdom of Bactria was an event of first-rate political importance. Bactria was the rich country between the Hindu Kush and the Oxus, corresponding in large measure to Northern Afghanistan. Beyond it, between the Oxus and the Jaxartes (Syr Daria), lay Sogdiana (Bukhara). The two provinces had cost Alexander no small effort to subdue. Partly on this account, and partly because of their natural wealth, he had planted them thickly with Greek colonies.

Probably Seleucus, who experienced at least equal difficulty in getting his sovereignty acknowledged, had to encounter the determined resistance of colonists as well as of natives. In the end, as we know, he triumphed. During the rest of his reign, as well as throughout that of his successor, Bactria and Sogdiana remained quiescent; the policy of stationing a viceroy at Seleucia was evidently justified by success.

Under Antiochus II they shook themselves entirely free. Our chief authority for what happened is Justin. After speaking of the revolt of Parthia, he proceeds : "At the same time Diodotus, governor of the thousand cities of Bactria, rebelled and had himself proclaimed king". In most texts the name of the leader of the movement is wrongly given as 'Theodotus'. The mistake, which goes back to the manuscripts, can be readily accounted for.

The chronology is much more troublesome, since the several events by which Justin seeks to date the Parthian outbreak are spread over a period of not less than ten years. In the face of so much inconsistency we may be content with the broad conclusion that the formal accession of Diodotus took place about 250 BC, at a time when Antiochus was not in a position to
put an effective veto on the proceeding. An examination of the numismatic material may enable us to go a little further.

Among the coins bearing the name of Seleucus are very rare gold staters and silver tetradrachms, having on the obverse a portrait of the king with bull's horns, and on the reverse the head of a horned horse. The same types, with the legend BASILEUS ANTIOCUS, are found on two unique silver pieces a drachm and a tetradrachm which may belong to the joint reign. All of these are struck from unadjusted dies, and all of them have on the reverse two monograms which, to judge from their complexity and from the manner in which they vary, must conceal the names of individual magistrates.

The story of the rise of Bactria

Early in the reign of Antiochus I a certain Diodotus was appointed satrap of Bactria and of some neighbouring province, not improbably Sogdiana. The coins with the horse's head were already being struck in the second province in the name of the suzerain. Diodotus continued the issue and also opened, this time in Bactria, a new mint from which he issued, likewise in the name of Antiochus, the coins with the seated Apollo. The country plainly prospered under his rule, for the money with his monogram
is far from uncommon, in spite of the remoteness of the region in which it is habitually discovered. His own position, too, must have grown stronger steadily, although for many years he made no attempt to break the slender tie that bound him to the Seleucid empire; he may have been the satrap of Bactria who, according to Chaldaean documents, sent twenty elephants to assist Antiochus I in his struggle with Ptolemy Philadelphus about 274-273 B.C.

Ultimately, however, the centrifugal tendency prevailed and Bactria declared itself an independent state, Margiana (Merv) and Sogdiana being included within its frontiers. The change did not take place all at once. There was a period of transition, and this period had not quite come to an end when Diodotus died, leaving a son of the same name to carry his policy to its logical conclusion; the Diodotus whose portrait appears on the coins is a young man, much too young to have been a satrap in the days of Antiochus I.

The father may or may not have assumed the title of king. The son was certainly the first to exercise the royal prerogative of issuing money in his own name, and even he contented himself at the outset with altering the types, while leaving the inscription untouched1. With the introduction of his 'canting badge', he abandoned the use of the monogram. Simultaneously he closed the older mint, where the coins with the horse's head had been struck, a step which points to a concentration of his administrative forces. Such a reconstruction is not merely consistent with the evidence of the coins. It also tallies, in a simple and satisfactory fashion, with what Justin says as to the original leader of the Bactrian revolt having been succeeded by a son of the same name as himself. Some value attaches to this confirmation of the main literary source whence our knowledge of the episode is derived, for the truth of the statement has occasionally been doubted, despite its explicit nature and despite the implicit corroboration which, as we shall see presently, it receives from Polybius.

Regarding the detailed history of the reigns of the two monarchs the records leave us almost entirely in the dark. The little we do learn is from Justin and it has reference to the struggles that attended the rise of the Parthian kingdom. The nucleus of what was in the fullness of time to become one of the most formidable powers that Asia has ever seen, was among the districts that had been included in the sixteenth satrapy of Darius, a land of mountain and forest, comparing ill in point of fertility with Bactria.

Historians are not agreed as to the race to which its population belonged, although their habits and customs would lead one to suspect a strong infusion of an element closely akin to the wild nomads of the steppes. Nor are the current traditions as to the beginnings of the royal house sufficiently consistent to be worthy of much, if any, credence. According to these the first Arsaces, the founder of the dynasty, is sometimes a Parthian, sometimes a Bactrian, sometimes even a descendant of the Achaemenids. One point in which all accounts agree, is that he made his way to the throne by violence. The name of the Seleucid satrap murdered by him and his brother Tiridates, afterwards Arsaces II, is variously given. Arrian calls him Pherecles, and Syncellus speaks of him as Agathocles, while Justin who, by the way, knows nothing ofthe cooperation of Tiridates refers to him as Andragoras. In favor of Justin may perhaps be cited certain gold and silver coins, whose style is not unsuited to the middle of the third century BC. They are very rare, almost all of the known
specimens being apparently from the Oxus find. Their genuineness has sometimes been questioned, but on grounds that seem hardly sufficien; the circumstance that they are struck from dies that have been adjusted with great precision, a peculiarity that is characteristic of the region and the period to which they are attributed, is a strong incidental argument in favor of their authenticity.


Another point about which there is practical unanimity is that the revolt of Parthia took place almost simultaneously with the revolt of Bactria, although probably a year or two later. The explanation lies on the surface : Antiochus II (261-246) like his two immediate successors, Seleucus II (246-226) and Seleucus III (226-223), was too much preoccupied with wars and rumors of wars in the west to maintain a proper hold over his eastern dominions. Probably, too, there were other causes at work. The spectacle of the greatness of the Maurya empire would not be lost upon a satrap of such force of character as the elder Diodotus. And in his case to the promptings of ambition there may have been added a spur of a different kind.

It is not unlikely that Bactria was already beginning to be conscious, on her northern border, of the first onset of the pressure before which she was in the end to succumb; Eastern Asia was just entering upon one of those mysterious convulsions of tribal unrest, which produced the great migrations, and of which the Parthian revolt itself was not impossibly a manifestation. If this were so, Diodotus may well have felt that an independent kingdom, strong in its new-born sense of national unity, was likely to be a more permanent bulwark against barbarian aggression than the loosely attached extremity of an empire whose head was in no position to afford efficient protection to his nominal subjects.

Besides the native Iranian basis on which he would have to build, the descendants of Alexander's colonists would provide him with a substantial Hellenic framework ready to hand; and, as a matter of fact, Bactria was, throughout the whole of its brief career, essentially an Hellenic state. In this connection it is significant to note that, under the earlier Diodotus, Parthia was a potential, if not an actual, enemy.

Justin tells us, in the chapter that has been so often quoted, that 'fear of Diodotus' was one of the chief motives that led Arsaces, after his seizure of Hyrcania, to keep a great army on a war-footing. He goes on to say that, when the old satrap died, his son reversed his Parthian policy, and concluded an alliance which set Arsaces free to concentrate his whole forces against Seleucus II, then advancing eastwards on a futile campaign of reconquest. The threat of a renewal of the Macedonian supremacy was enough to bring Greek and barbarian together.

The eastern expedition of Seleucus II was subsequent to the battle of Ancyra, in which he was heavily defeated by the Gauls (240 BC). It cannot, therefore, have taken place earlier than 238, and it can hardly be put later than 235. This gives us something approaching a definite date at which Diodotus II was on the throne of Bactria.

Beyond the bare facts already chronicled, we have no information as to the doings either of the son or of the father. It is, indeed, usually stated that the latter assumed the title of 'Soter', perhaps because of his success in keeping the Turanian hordes at bay. But the only evidence to that effect is a coin purporting to be struck in the name of DIODOTUS SAVIOR; and we shall find presently that this was not minted in the lifetime of himself or his son. It is probable, therefore, that the title was conferred by a later generation. In any case his own dynasty was destined to speedy extinction.

We do not know how long Diodotus II reigned. But, as the portraits on his coins are all fairly youthful, it is scarcely possible to allow him more than ten or twelve years after the peace with Parthia. And it is certain from Polybius that when Antiochus III appeared in the east at the head of an army, about 212 BC, determined to reassert the Seleucid supremacy over the revolted kingdoms, the Bactrian throne had for some time been occupied by Euthydemus, a Greek from one or other of the cities called Magnesia, who, in reply to the challenge of Antiochus, explained that he did not think it fair that he should be interfered with : "He was not a rebel. Others, no doubt, had rebelled. He had put the children of the rebels to death, and that was how he happened to be king".

We may draw from this, not only a confirmation of Justin's statement as to Diodotus having been succeeded by a son, but also the further inference that Diodotus II came to a violent end.

Our authorities give us no hint as to who Euthydemus was, or as to how he reached a position of such influence as to be able to make a successful bid for the crown. The claim of the Lydian city to be the Magnesia of his birth is perhaps slightly stronger than that of the Ionian one; for, when he came to strike money, he chose a remarkable type whose selection can be most simply explained by supposing that it had been familiar to him in his youth, as it would be if he were brought up in the Hermus valley. The first real glimpse we get of him is when he comes into conflict with Antiochus the Great.

Invasion of India by Antiochus III

The Parthian campaign of the latter had been arduous, to judge from the picture which Polybius has preserved of some of its incidents. But Arsaces III seems at length to have been driven to yield upon terms, and by
the year 208 Antiochus was at liberty to turn his arms against Bactria. To enter it, he had to ford the river Arius (Hari Rud), the passage of which Euthydemus was prepared to dispute. When the critical moment came, the Bactrians allowed themselves to be outmanoeuvred. Antiochus made a night-march with a picked body of cavalry, the majority of whom he succeeded in getting over the stream before the dawn was bright enough for the enemy's vedettes to discover them. The footing thus gained was stubbornly held, in the teeth of a singularly fierce attack.

From the narrative of Polybius we learn that Antiochus displayed great personal courage, and that Euthydemus was so perturbed by the lesson his troops had received that he retreated at once to his capital of Zariaspa or Bactra, the modern Balkh. A siege presumably followed, and it is generally taken for granted that this was the famous siege of Bactra, casually mentioned by Polybius in quite another context. However that may be, the struggle was a prolonged one.

By 206 two years had elapsed without either side having gained a decisive advantage. Meanwhile barbarian swarms were hovering ominously along the northern frontier of the kingdom. If the internecine strife continued, they might at any moment descend upon the country and ruthlessly destroy every vestige of Hellenic civilisation. The reality of this peril was pressed home upon Antiochus by Teleas, a fellow-countryman of Euthydemus, whom the latter had empowered to use his good offices in working for a settlement.

Antiochus, upon his part, was only too glad to welcome the prospect of an honorable escape from a situation that threatened to grow more and more embarrassing. Informal negotiations, conducted through Teleas, ultimately resulted in the despatch of Demetrius, the son of Euthydemus, as a fully accredited envoy to the camp of Antiochus. Polybius is still our authority for details.

He speaks in glowing terms of the favorable impression which the handsome youth produced upon the Seleucid king, who offered him one of his own daughters in marriage and indicated his willingness to waive all objection to the use of the royal title by Euthydemus. A written agreement covering the disputed points was drawn up and signed, and a formal alliance concluded. Euthydemus had been the first to move towards peace, and therefore it may be regarded as certain that he too made concessions. Unfortunately we have to guess what they were.

Not improbably they extended to an acknowledgment of the suzerainty of Antiochus, although all we are told is that the expeditionary army, which was now about to direct its march towards India, had its commissariat richly replenished by the Bactrians, receiving at the same time an important reinforcement in the shape of the whole of the war elephants that had been at the command of Euthydemus.

The second Greek invasion of India amounted to little more than a reconnaissance in force. Asoka, the grandson of Chandragupta, had died about 236 BC, and after his death the power of the Maurya dynasty speedily declined. When Antiochus crossed the Hindu Kush and marched down the Kabul valley, he found himself in the territory of a prince whom Polybius calls 'Sophagasenos, King of the Indians'. Indian history knows no ruler of corresponding name, and it has therefore been conjectured that Sophagasenus was some local raja who had taken advantage of the decay of the Maurya empire to establish a kingdom of his own in the country west of the Indus. Whoever he was, he plainly realized that he was quite unfit to offer an effective resistance to the seasoned troops of his adversary.

At the same time Antiochus was in no mood to emulate the Indian adventure of his invincible forerunner. He had already been three years in the east. The West was calling loudly, and he had enhanced his reputation so substantially by his prowess that he could afford to be satisfied with a bloodless victory. Accordingly he accepted the submission of Sophagasenus who, like Euthydemus, revictualled his army for him and handed over a number of war-elephants. A heavy indemnity was also imposed. This last, however, Antiochus did not wait to receive. He left Androsthenes of Cyzicus behind to take delivery of the promised treasure, and himself hurried back with all speed towards Mesopotamia, choosing the route that ran through Arachosia and Drangiana (Seistan) to Carmania. Who was the lord of Arachosia when it was traversed by the Seleucid troops, it is impossible to say. It had once been Asoka. Now it may have been Sophagasenus. The numismatic evidence suggests that ere long it was Euthydemus. General Cunningham remarks that the silver of the last-named king is very common in Balkh and Bokhara, to the north of the Caucasus, and less common in Kabul, Kandahar and Sistan, while his bronze coins, "which are perhaps less numerous than the silver, are found in about equal numbers in Sistan and Kandahar, and throughout the Kabul valley". Other observers describe his bronze as 'very common in Sistan and Kandahar'. As bronze was much less likely to travel outside the area of its actual currency than gold or silver, the significance of these facts is unmistakable. Where the number of specimens is so large, the possible effect of confusion with the rare coinage of Euthydemus II may safely be disregarded. In addition to what the 'find-spots' teach, there is something to be learned from a review of the coins themselves, or at all events of the gold and silver.


It has already been indicated that Euthydemus on his accession discarded the characteristic type of Diodotus, and substituted for it one which may have been familiar to him in the city where he was born and bred. Zeus the thunderer was replaced by Heracles seated to left on a rock, leaning with his right hand on his club. The device was apparently borrowed from a set of silver tetradrachms struck at the cities of Cyme, Myrina, and Phocaea, in Western Asia Minor, during the reigns of Antiochus I and II. It is universal on the gold and silver of Euthydemus, but two varieties of it are readily distinguishable. On the gold and on much of the silver the rock upon which Heracles sits is bare, while the lower end of his club is supported by a short and somewhat unnatural-looking column of stone. On the remainder of the silver the rock is covered with a lion-skin, and the lower end of the club is apparently resting on the god's thigh.

The mere increase in the number of royal mints may not unreasonably be held to prove that the dominions of Euthydemus were more extensive than those of his predecessor. It would seem that, soon after the Maurya empire began to crumble away, he possessed himself - it may be at the expense of Sophagasenus - of the Paropanisadae and Arachosia, possibly also although as to this the coins are less definite of some of the other districts which Seleucus I had ceded to Chandragupta. His silver tetradrachms are very common, and so too are more or less clumsy barbarous imitations, many of which appear to date from a relatively late period. Without doubt his money must have circulated widely, and must have enjoyed a high reputation for quality. Bactria under his sway clearly reached a pitch of prosperity such as she had never before attained. And his reign must have been a long one. The death of Euthydemus is generally supposed to have taken place about 190 BC.

We have seen that under Euthydemus the frontiers of the Bactrian kingdom were pushed southwards until they included at least the whole of the lower portion of Afghanistan. But this was not the only direction in which expansion had become possible. The Indian expedition of Antiochus the Great, if it had had no other result of importance, had revealed the feebleness of the resistance that a properly equipped army was now likely to encounter in an invasion of the Punjab. We may be sure that, after the Seleucid forces had withdrawn, the eyes of Euthydemus were turned longingly towards the Land of the Five Rivers. He may actually have annexed it. If he did, it was probably only towards the close of his reign, for he would hardly have ventured to put so ambitious a design into execution until he felt secure from interference at the hands of Antiochus III, and that he can scarcely have done before about 197, when the latter became hopelessly involved in the meshes of the anti-Roman policy which was to prove his ruin. In any event the real instrument of conquest was his son and successor, Demetrius, of whose romantic career one would like to believe, with Cunningham, that a far-off echo has survived in Chaucer's picturesque description of 'the grete Emetreus, the king of Inde.'


Demetrius had been a youth of perhaps seventeen or eighteen, when he acted as intermediary between his father and Antiochus. He would thus be between thirty and thirty five when his reign as king began, an age that agrees well with the most characteristic portrait on his coins. Years before, he had probably been married to a Seleucid princess, in accordance with the promise made during the peace negotiations. If so, nothing whatever is known about her; the view that she was called Laodice is based upon evidence that admits of an altogether different interpretation. It should be noted that in the coinportrait he is represented as wearing a head-dress made of the skin of an elephant, an animal closely associated in those days with India. It is not impossible, therefore, that some of his Indian laurels may have been won, while he was still merely crown-prince. The reverse type which he chose for his silver might easily be interpreted as pointing in the same direction. Heracles remains the patron-divinity, but he is no longer taking his ease on a rock; he is standing upright, placing a wreath upon his head. The inference here suggested is identical with that drawn from somewhat different premises by Cunningham, who argued that the subjugation of part of India by Demetrius during his father's lifetime would account for certain facts regarding the provenance of the bronze money of Euthydemus. Single specimens of this are occasionally met with in the Western Punjab, and several were found in the bed of the Indus at Attock in 1840, while raising a sunken boat. It is, however, a serious flaw in Cunningham's reasoning that he did not distinguish between the coins of Euthydemus I and those of the grandson who bore the same name.

In whatever circumstances the Indian campaigns of Demetrius may have been inaugurated, there can be no question as to their brilliant outcome. Unfortunately the true extent of his territorial acquisitions can no longer be exactly determined. Strabo, in the passage which is our chief authority on the point, is quoting from Apollodorus of Artemita, and the original reference of Apollodorus is merely a casual one. He is drawing attention in passing to the remarkable way in which the kingdom of Bactria expanded beyond its original limits, and he mentions incidentally that the kings chiefly responsible were Demetrius and Menander. The advance towards Chinese Tartary which he records may well have been the work of Demetrius or of his father Euthydemus. But, as Menander left a far deeper mark on the traditions of India than did Demetrius, it would be unreasonable to give the latter credit for subduing the whole of the Indian districts that Apollodorus enumerates. Yet there is nothing to show where the line should be drawn. It is probably safe to say that Demetrius made himself master of the Indus valley. When we try to take him further, we enter a doubtful region.

It is, indeed, sometimes stated that he fixed his capital at Sangala or Sagala, which he called Euthydemia in honour of his father. But, if the statement be probed, its value is considerably diminished.

More satisfactory, if much vaguer, evidence of the firmness of the footing that he gained to the south of the Hindu Kush is furnished by one or two very rare bronze pieces, which have the square shape characteristic of the early native coinage of India. That they were intended for circulation there, is clear from their bearing a bilingual inscription Greek on the obverse, Kharoshthi on the reverse. It is significant that on these the king employs the title of 'the Invincible'. As usual, he is wearing a head-dress made of the skin of an elephant.

The very success of Demetrius appears to have proved his undoing. As a direct consequence of his victories, the centre of gravity of his dominions was shifted beyond the borders of Bactria proper. The home-land, however, was not content to degenerate into a mere dependency. A revolt ended in the establishment of a separate kingdom under Eucratides, a leader of great vigor and ability, about whose rise written history has little or nothing to say.

Justin tells us that his recognition as king took place almost simultaneously with the accession of Mithradates I to the throne of Parthia. As Mithradates succeeded his brother Phraates I about 171 BC, we may accept von Gutschmid's date of 175 as approximately correct for Eucratides.

The beginning of his reign was stormy. He had to face attacks from several sides, and on at least one occasion he was hard put to it to escape with his life. Demetrius, who was now king of India that is, of the country of the Indus, not of Bactria, and who was naturally one of his most determined foes, had reduced him to such straits that he was driven to take refuge in a fort with only 300 followers. Here, if we may believe Justin, he was blockaded by a force of 60,000 men under the personal command of his rival. The odds were tremendous. But his resourcefulness carried him safely through; for more than four months he harassed the enemy by perpetual sallies, demoralising them so thoroughly in the end that the siege had to be raised. This is the last we hear of Demetrius. It is uncertain whether he died a natural death as king of India, or whether he fell defending his territory against Eucratides, into whose possession a considerable portion of it ultimately passed. The close of his reign is sometimes given as circa 160, but the date is a purely arbitrary one. As we shall see presently, there is good ground for believing that the conquest of the Punjab by Eucratides was earlier than 162.

Euthydemus II

At this point it becomes necessary to notice a group of four or five kings, whose existence is vouched for solely by the money which they struck, but who must have been to some extent contemporary with the two who have just been discussed. Appreciation of the evidence will be facilitated by a further glance at the silver coinage of Demetrius who, by the way, does not seem to have struck any gold. It will be observed that he is the first of the Bactrian kings to be represented with his shoulders draped; and from his time onwards that feature is virtually universal. But he is also the last to be shown with one end of the royal diadem flying out behind, and the other hanging straight down his back, a method of arrangement that had persisted steadily in Bactria since the reign of Antiochus I. Again, on the great majority of the surviving specimens of his coinage, his bust on the obverse is enclosed within the circle of plain dots which had hitherto been customary. On the other hand, in a few cases, the circle of plain dots is replaced by the so-called bead-and-reel border, which is familiar from its use on the issues of Antiochus the Great and later Seleucid kings, and which is invariably found on the tetradrachms of Eucratides and his son and successor Heliocles. These differences, coupled with other and less obvious nuances of style, will supply valuable guidance in determining the period to which one ought to assign the pieces that have now to be described.

Of the four or five groups of coins to be discussed, we may take first the tetradrachms and smaller denominations of silver which have on the obverse a youthful bust with draped shoulders, and on the reverse a figure of Heracles standing to front, much as on the coins of Demetrius, except that, besides having one wreath on his head, he holds a second in his extended right hand . The legend on these pieces is BASILEUS EUTHYDEMUS, and most of the older numismatists, including Cunningham, were disposed to attribute them, like those with the seated Heracles, to the father of Demetrius. Since von Sallet wrote, however, it has been generally agreed that this view is not tenable. Stylistic considerations compel the acceptance of an alternative theory, first advocated by Burgon, to the effect that they were struck by a second and later prince, in all probability the eldest son of Demetrius, on whom his grandfather's name would in ordinary course be bestowed.

Attention may be called more especially to the draped shoulders and to the treatment of the diadem. Nor is it possible to account for the differences on local rather than on chronological grounds, inasmuch as the mint-marks on the two sets of coins are often identical. Confirmation is furnished by a few nickel pieces, likewise reading BASILEUS EUTHYDEMUS, although showing no portrait. Nickel was not used by Demetrius, and therefore it was presumably not used by his predecessor, Euthydemus I. On the other hand, we shall presently find it employed by two of the remaining kings of the group now under discussion. So peculiar an alloy it does not appear again in any part of the world until quite recent times is clearly characteristic of one particular epoch. The case for a second Euthydemus is thus irresistible. And that for a second Demetrius, whom we may suppose to have been a younger brother, is very nearly as strong. The coins of Demetrius II are very rare, but two or three tetradrachms and drachms are known. The obverse displays a youthful bust with draped shoulders and a novel arrangement of diadem ends, while the reverse has a figure of Athena, standing to front with spear and shield. The legend is BASILEUSS DEMETRIUS. Here again the appearance of a new type is significant, and the differences in the portrait cannot be set aside as due to local idiosyncracy, for the mint-mark which the coins with Athena bear occurs also on coins having the usual types of Demetrius the elder. Lastly, and this is highly important, of the two tetradrachms in the British Museum here attributed to Demetrius II, one has a bead-and-reel border, and cannot therefore be much, if any, earlier than the beginnings of the coinage of Eucratides, when a youthful portrait of Demetrius I would, of course, be highly inappropriate.

Agathocles : Antimachus

No argument is necessary to prove the existence of the other three kings belonging to the group. Their coins speak for themselves. To judge by the memorials of this kind which he has left, Agathocles must have been the most prominent. On his silver he appears with drapery round his shoulders and with both ends of his diadem hanging loosely down, the portrait being enclosed by a border of plain dots. Like all the Bactrian kings we have so far met with, he introduced a characteristic type of his own. On the reverse of his tetradrachms is Zeus, standing to front, holding a figure of Hecate on his extended right hand and leaning with his left on a spear. That there must have been a very intimate connection chronological, personal, and local between him and a second king, Pantaleon, is evident from a tetradrachm struck by the latter. In general style the busts are closely related, while the reverse types are also the same, except that, on the silver of Pantaleon, Zeus is seated on a throne. In the case of the inferior metals the correspondence is even more complete. Nickel coins with Dionysiac types were struck by both, and their bronze pieces, round and square alike, are generally distinguishable only by the difference in the proper name. Lastly, on their square bronze money, intended for circulation in India and therefore bilingual, both use the Brahmi script for the obverse legend, instead of the otherwise universal Kharoshthi.

The portrait of the third king, Antimachus (Theos), is one of the most pronouncedly individual in the whole Bactrian series, largely because of the oddly modern-looking kausia which he wears. The standing figure on the reverse of his silver coins is Poseidon, wreathed, and carrying in his left hand a palm-branch with a fillet attached, while his very rare bronze pieces have a figure of Victory. The appearance of Poseidon is remarkable and has been interpreted as referring to a successful naval engagement1. It is difficult to account for it on any other hypothesis. But it is dangerous to fix on the Indus as the scene of the fighting, and to make this a ground for deductions as to the region in which Antimachus held sway. No square bilingual money with his name has come to light - unless, indeed, the coins usually attributed to Antimachus II are really the Indian coins of Antimachus Theos - although it would be natural to expect an issue of the sort from a king who had ruled in the Indus valley. In this respect he contrasts markedly with Agathocles and Pantaleon, whose specifically Indian coins are very abundant. On the other hand he makes contact, so to say, with Agathocles through the medium of a highly interesting group of silver tetradrachms, which deserve somewhat careful notice. The proper interpretation of these tetradrachms is due to von Sallet. Since his time the group has received sundry additions, and even yet it may be far from complete. The existence of two parallel series is universally admitted, one struck by Agathocles, the other by Antimachus, and each apparently consisting of a set of pieces reproducing in medallic fashion the issues of the earlier kings of Bactria. The coins were doubtless meant to pass current as money, but it seems certain that they were also designed to serve as political manifestos. The set with the name of Agathocles contains four distinct varieties. The first of these has the types of the familiar silver tetradrachms of Alexander the Great, but the portrait on the obverse is accompanied by the descriptive legend "Alexander, Philip's son", while the inscription on the reverse reads BASILONDAS AGATHOCLES DIKEU. This latter formula, which can only signify "struck in the reign of Agathocles the Just", is used as the reverse inscription of all the remaining varieties, and thus supplies the common element that binds the whole together. The second variety has on the obverse a diademed head with the words ANTIOKUS NIKATOROS, "Antiochus the Conqueror", and on the reverse Zeus, thundering, with an eagle at his feet. The third shows the same reverse but has on the obverse, beside the head, "Diodotus the Saviour". The fourth has on the obverse a head which is described as "Euthydemus the Divine", and on the reverse a figure of Heracles resting on a rock. It will be observed that the term BASILEUS never occurs, and that, on the other hand, each of the kings has a special title affixed to his name.

It will be observed, too, that except in the case of Alexander, where the lionskin could not be done without, there is no attempt at an exact reproduction of the royal portrait. In particular, though the shoulders are undraped, the diadem has both ends hanging down, after the manner that was customary on the coins of Agathocles himself, instead of having one end flying out behind, as had previously been usual.

There has been some discussion as to who is intended by "Antiochus the Conqueror". But the consideration on which von Sallet laid stress is surely decisive : in all the other cases the reverse type is characteristic of the individual whose head is represented on the obverse. Analogy thus puts it beyond question that the medals of "Antiochus the Conqueror" are copies of the tetradrachms of Antiochus II with the thundering Zeus.

The Family of Demetrius

Of the set of similar medals associated with the name of Antimachus, only two varieties have as yet come to light. They relate to Diodotus and to Euthydemus, and bear a strong general resemblance to the corresponding pieces issued by Agathocles.

There are, indeed, only two points of difference : the mint-mark is new, and the reverse inscription reads "struck in the reign of Antimachus Theos". Except for certain coins of Eucratides, to be discussed presently, these are usually regarded as completing the commemorative group, so far as surviving specimens go. There is, however, one well-known tetradrachm which has hitherto passed as an ordinary coin, but which ought probably to be reckoned as belonging to the same class. The obverse displays a rather conventional head, unaccompanied by any legend, while the reverse has the type of Zeus, thundering, along with the inscription DIOAOTYS SOTIROS. This is the only evidence for the general belief that Diodotus received the title of "Saviour" during his lifetime, and at the first glance it would appear to be sufficient. A closer scrutiny will suggest grave doubts. The coincidence of the reverse inscription with the obverse inscription used on the commemorative tetradrachms of Agathocles and Antimachus is remarkable, the omission of BASILEUS being quite as noteworthy as the addition of SOTIROS. The style and fabric, too, are out of harmony with those of the regular coinage of Diodotus. In particular, the dies are adjusted as is the invariable custom in Bactria before the reign of Euthydemus I. Lastly, the mint-mark is not found on the money either of Diodotus or of his immediate successor, whereas it is common on that of all the other kings whom we have had occasion to mention, Demetrius II and Antimachus alone excepted. Taking all these indications together, we can hardly escape the conclusion that the tetradrachm in question does not really belong to Diodotus, but is rather a commemorative piece issued, it may be, by Demetrius I. The mint-mark which it bears makes its earliest appearance on his ordinary coins, while the arrangement of the ends of the diadem is a strong argument against its being later. If the attribution just suggested be correct, it confirms the view, already highly probable on other grounds, that there was an intimate connexion between Demetrius I, on the one side, and, on the other, Agathocles, Pantaleon, and Antimachus, whom, as we have seen, it is impossible to separate. As Euthydemus II and
Demetrius II were almost certainly his sons, it follows that his history must have been closely linked with that of all the five ephemeral kings, of whom no record save their coins remains. His sons, however, can hardly have been contemporary with the other three, for the mint-marks that appear on the coins of Agathocles are to a large extent identical with those that were employed by Euthydemus II. It is conceivable that, when Demetrius I was pursuing his Indian conquests, he may have left Euthydemus II and Demetrius II to represent him in the western part of his dominions, that they fell in the earlier years of the struggle with Eucratides, and that at some subsequent stage he recognised Agathocles, Pantaleon, and Antimachus as kings, in order to secure their support. Alternatively, the three last-named may have attempted to set themselves up against Eucratides after Demetrius died. But all this is mere guess-work. What is certain is that in none of the three cases can the seat of power have been very far distant from Kabul. Agathocles and Pantaleon certainly, and Antimachus possibly, struck money of a distinctively Indian character; and the Kharoshthi legend on certain copper coins of Agathocles has been supposed to give him the title "Lord of the Indians", though this interpretation is unfortunately doubtful. Cunningham reports of the money of Agathocles that "single copper specimens have been found as far to the south as Kandahar and Sistan, while they are common about Kabul and Begram". Of Pantaleon's coins he states that they "are found chiefly about Ghazni and Kabul, but a few have been obtained about Peshawar and in the Western Panjab". Masson procured seven copper specimens at Begram. As for Antimachus, he says "the position of Margiana accords best with the actual find-spots of his coins", and again "they have been found in about equal numbers in the Kabul valley and to the north of the Caucasus, while two specimens have been obtained in the Panjab".

Whatever may be the truth as to the territorial limits within which they held sway, the simultaneous appearance of so many kings is a portent whose meaning is not to be mistaken. It is the first clear indication of that tendency towards the creation of petty principalities, which subsequently became so marked a feature of the final phase of Greek rule in India. In the present instance the 'kings' would seem to have been pawns in a game which was really being played by stronger and more powerful personalities. They were obviously intent on upholding the banner of Demetrius and his dynasty, whose claim to the Bactrian crown the commemorative coins represent as derived directly from Alexander the Great, heedless of the violent breaks that had marked the accession first of Diodotus and then of Euthydemus. Nor is there any doubt as to the rival against whom their manifestos were aimed. It must have been Eucratides. It would be interesting if we could discover the foundation on which the usurper based his claims. Perhaps the quest is not entirely hopeless.

Heliocles and Laodice

Certain of his tetradrachms and drachms are by common consent regarded as commemorative. The obverse generally, but not accurately, described as the reverse bears a male and female head, jugate, to the right, the inscription being HELIOKLES ET LAODICE, while the reverse has one of the ordinary helmeted busts of Eucratides. The close analogy between this obverse and the obverses of the commemorative tetradrachms of Agathocles and Antimachus at once suggests that the appeal to the memory of Heliocles and Laodice is the counterpart of that to the memory of "Alexander, Philip's son", "Antiochus the Conqueror", "Diodotus the Saviour", and "Euthydemus the Divine". And when the obverse is given its proper position, the parallel is seen to be much closer than has hitherto been supposed. It naturally does not extend to the reverse, for Heliocles and Laodice had struck no money, and had therefore left no characteristic coin-type for their kinsman to copy. In the circumstances he utilised his own portrait. At the same time he was careful to differentiate his commemorative pieces from his other issues by putting his own name in the nominative instead of in the genitive, very much in the spirit in which Agathocles and Antimachus employed BASILONDAS in place of the normal BASILEUS.

Although there is no difference of opinion as to the commemorative character of these coins, an acute cleavage manifests itself the moment the problem of identification is approached. Perhaps the view most widely held is that Heliocles is the son and successor of Eucratides, and that the coins were struck to commemorate his marriage with Laodice, a daughter of Demetrius by the Seleucid princess to whom he was betrothed in 206 during the negotiations with Antiochus III. This theory first propounded by von Sallet, although it had previously been hinted at by Droysen has about it a certain plausibility that has commended it to historians : it would have been a politic step on the part of Eucratides to try and conciliate opposition, after his victory, by arranging a match between his son and a daughter of the fallen house. But, in the light of the considerations urged in the foregoing paragraph, there need be no hesitation in setting it aside as inadmissible. There is very much more to be said for the alternative suggestion, advocated by Cunningham and by Gardner, that Heliocles was the father of Eucratides, and that Laodice was his mother.

We need not, however, follow some of those who have accepted this solution, and continue to assume that Laodice was the daughter of Demetrius, an assumption which leads to the impossible conclusion that Eucratides was his great rival's grandson. Laodice was, indeed, a common name in the royal house of Syria, but there is no evidence to prove that it was the name of the bride of Demetrius, or of any of her children. The field of conjecture is absolutely open. One point should not be overlooked before we enter it. While Heliocles is represented with his head bare, Laodice wears a diadem, showing that she was of the lineage of kings, a princess in her own right. It must, therefore, have been from her, and not from his father, that any title Eucratides could advance to the Bactrian crown had come.

It may also be recalled that Antiochus Epiphanes, who now sat upon the throne of Syria (175-164) in succession to his brother Seleucus IV (187-175), is known to have cherished the dream of re-establishing the Seleucid influence in Central Asia, as if to redress in the east the balance that had been lost in the west to Rome. Possibly it was in his interest and with his encouragement that Eucratides first raised the standard of revolt. That, of course, is pure speculation, just as are all the other hypotheses that have so far been put forward. But it would explain his appeal to the memory of a Seleucid princess, as well as the otherwise puzzling introduction into the Bactrian coinage of that characteristically Seleucid ornament, the bead-and-reel border.


In speaking of Demetrius, something has already been said of the troubles that beset Eucratides during the earlier portion of his reign. According to Justin he had much ado to hold his own, not merely against Demetrius, but also against 'the Sogdiani'. The meaning of the latter reference is obscure. Possibly Sogdiana strove hard to maintain its loyalty to Demetrius rather than submit to the upstart who had presumed to supplant him. More probably the northern tribes took advantage of the absence of Demetrius in India and wrested from Hellenic rule the whole of the country to the north of the Oxus. We find them in full possession of Bactria itself, before many years have elapsed. The Parthians, too, were a grievous thorn in the flesh of Eucratides. They fell upon his flank when his energies were exhausted by the various other wars in which he had been forced to engage, with the result that part of the Bactrian kingdom was permanently absorbed in their empire. We shall have occasion presently to
try and measure the extent of this success.

Meanwhile it will be convenient to follow Eucratides in his pursuit of Demetrius into India. His victory there was complete in the ancient Indian provinces of the Persian empire. As it is put by Justin "he reduced India" that is to say, the country of the Indus "to subjection". Strabo says he made himself master of "a thousand cities". The princes of the house of Euthydemus had now to be content with the eastern districts of the Punjab. But Eucratides did not enjoy his triumph long. While he was on the march homewards towards Bactria, where he had founded a great city to which he gave the name of Eucratidia, he was attacked and murdered by his son, whom he had trusted so implicitly that he had made him a colleague in the kingship. The details added by Justin as to the callous conduct of the murderer in driving his chariot through his father's blood have a suspicious resemblance to the story Livy tells as to the death of Servius Tullius. It would have been more to the purpose if he had mentioned the parricide's name. The date of the incident is quite uncertain, but it is usually given as c. 155 BC.

The coinage of Eucratides bears ample witness to the prosperity that attended him during his life. His money is even more abundant than that of Euthydemus. Although examples of his gold are exceedingly uncommon, they include one specimen which weighs as much as 2593'5 grains (168'05 grammes) and was thus worth twenty ordinary staters; no other king or city of ancient times was ever responsible for so ostentatious a display of opulence. His most characteristic types relate to the worship of the Dioscuri. On the reverse of the larger pieces Castor and Pollux appear side by side, usually mounted ; the smaller often show the pointed caps of the Brethren, surmounted by stars and flanked by palms. The Greek legend is interesting. It may be noted that this is the first certain instance of a king describing himself in the Greek legend on his coinage as "the Great". On inscriptions the practice was older. In this case, it is possibly a translation of the Indian title 'maharaja' which is used by Demetrius in his Kharoshthi coin-legends. The intimacy of his association with India is proved, not only by the large number of square-shaped bilingual coins of bronze that have survived, but also by the fact that, though he adhered as a rule to the Attic standard of weight, he also issued silver of a class expressly designed to suit the convenience of Indian traders. The standard used for the latter is closely allied to the Persic, which had become established in N.W. India as a result of the Persian dominion. None of the coins of Eucratides bear dates. Notwithstanding this, there are indirect means of utilising them so as to secure a partial confirmation of what Justin says as to the usurper's rise to power being more or less contemporaneous with the accession of Mithradates I of Parthia.

Mithradates, it will be remembered, succeeded to the crown about 171 B.C., and the emergence of Eucratides has been tentatively assigned to 175. He must certainly have been firmly seated on the throne a very few years later. A unique silver tetradrachm, now in the British Museum, has on the obverse a helmeted bust evidently copied from the best-known coin-portrait of Eucratides, and on the reverse the Sun-god, driving in a four-horse chariot, from the year 147 of the Seleucid Era.

Parthian Invasion of Bactria

If, as was suggested above, the assumption of the epithet 'Great' is to be associated with the conquest of India, 162 BC. A less definite but still highly probable reminiscence of Eucratides the 'Great King' of Bactria has been detected by numismatists on some scarce bronze pieces of the early Parthian series. Unless the Parthians were simply continuing the types of coins which they found current in districts which they had annexed by force, it is curious that they should have borrowed anything of the sort from Eucratides. He and they were bitter foes. The account of their antagonism given by Justin is borne out by two brief references in Strabo. The first tells us that, after defeating first Eucratides and then the Scythians, the Parthians incorporated a portion of Bactria in their empire. That perhaps does not carry us very far. But Strabo's second reference is more explicit, though its value is largely destroyed by what seems to be a deep-seated textual corruption. The purport of it is that the Parthians took away from Eucratides two Bactrian satrapies; Justin says that Mithradates I enlarged the boundaries of the Parthian empire until it stretched 'from the Hindu Kush to the river Euphrates'. Expansion towards Margiana and Drangiana would be a natural concomitant.

The portentous growth of this semi-barbarian power could not but have the most serious effect on the development of Hellenic civilization in Central Asia. Parthia now lay like a great wedge between the Bactrian Greeks and their kinsmen beyond the Euphrates. Intercommunication had become difficult, reunion impossible. More than one of the successors of Antiochus Epiphanes notably Demetrius II (146-140) and Antiochus VII (138-129) flung themselves against the rock, only to be broken. And it is not without significance that, if we may trust Josephus, the enterprise of Demetrius was undertaken in response to repeated requests from 'Greeks and Macedonians'. This should, perhaps, be read in the light of the hint given by Justin, when he includes the Bactrians among the allies who lent Demetrius their assistance in his attempt to break down the domination of the Arsacidae. It was all in vain. The Seleucid kings were hopelessly cut off from what had been in early days one of the fairest provinces of their empire. On the other side of the impenetrable barrier, Eucratides and his fellow-countrymen, hemmed in by Mithradates on the west and exposed on the north to everincreasing pressure from the wandering tribes whom they vaguely designated 'Scythians', were being steadily driven south-eastwards into the plains of India. Even there, they were not to be safe either from Scythians or from Parthians. That, however, is for a future chapter to show. Meanwhile it remains to summarise the little that is known as to the final relinquishment of Bactria by the Greeks.

Scythian Invasion of Bactria

Except for the somewhat rhetorical sentence in which Justin contrasts the fate of the Bactrians with the phenomenal prosperity of Parthia 'harassed by various wars, they finally lost, not merely their kingdom, but their independence' western historians have preserved hardly any echo of the events that led up to the catastrophe. Had the vigorous and capable Eucratides lived longer, it might have been postponed. It could hardly have been averted; what we learn from Chinese sources proves that it was inevitable. Justin makes Mithradates the main instrument of the disaster, and no doubt his activity was in some measure responsible. But the real cause was the bursting of the stormcloud, whose appearance on the northern horizon had been pointed out by the envoy of Euthydemus to Antiochus the Great just two generations before. Strabo knew the real facts, although he gives us no details, merely saying that "the best known of the nomad tribes are those who drove the Greeks out of Bactria, the Asii, the Pasiani, the Tochari, and the Sacarauli, who came from the country on the other side of the Jaxartes, over against the Sacae and Sogdiani, which country was also in occupation of the Sacae".

The Prologue to the lost History of Pompeius Trogus is even less illuminating : it contents itself with barely mentioning that the main work had told how "the Saraucae and Asiani seized Bactria and Sogdiana". The inconsistencies of nomenclature here might be easily enough reconciled. But, after all, such an adjustment would leave us very much where we were. The Chinese records bring more enlightenment. From them we learn that the Yueh-chi, pushed westwards by the Huns about 165 BC, displaced the Shakas, who inhabited the country of the Jaxartes to the northeast of Sogdiana and Bactria, and that they then crossed the Jaxartes and conquered the whole of Sogdiana, probably driving the Shakas before them into Bactria and fixing their capital a little to the north of the Oxus. This was the beginning of the end.

The struggle may have dragged on for twenty or thirty years, but its issue was never doubtful. Bactria had to be abandoned by its Greek rulers to the Shaka hordes. And the turn of the Shakas was to come. The report of Chang-kien, a Chinese envoy who visited the Yueh-chi in 126 B.C., is still extant. These nomads were then settled in Sogdiana, and the report speaks in somewhat contemptuous terms of their southern neighbours, the Ta-hia, by whom are apparently meant the native population of Bactria : they were a nation of shopkeepers, living in towns each governed by its magistrate, and caring nothing for the delight or the glory of battle. At some date which is doubtful, but which cannot at the latest be more than a year or two subsequent to 126, the Yueh-chi, urged forward by fresh pressure from the East, crossed the barrier of the Oxus, expelled the Shakas, and occupied all the country as far south as the Hindu Kush. From the Ta-hia no serious resistance was to be expected. But, as the retreating Shakas made their way westwards, they probably encountered the fierce opposition of Parthia; just about this time two of the Parthian kings, Phraates II and Artabanus I are said to have fallen in battle with the Scythians. Obviously the situation which Eucratides would have had to face in Bactria, had he ever returned from his last Indian campaign, would have been peculiarly trying. It is not surprising that his successor should have failed to make headway against the oncoming tide. The numismatic evidence shows that this successor was
Heliocles. In all probability he was also the parricide. Cunningham, it is true, was of a different opinion, holding that the unnatural murder was the work of Apollodotus, another king who has left a considerable number of coins, mostly of a strictly Indian character.

But the idea that there was any blood relationship between Apollodotus and Eucratides is purely hypothetical. It is more probable, indeed, that Apollodotus belonged to the rival family of Euthydemus. He may have been contemporary with Eucratides, but there is nothing whatever to suggest a closer connection. On the other hand, it will be remembered that Justin lays the crime to the charge of the heir apparent. And according to Greek custom the eldest son of Eucratides would normally be called Heliocles after his grandfather. If he had any brother, there is a stronger claimant for the honour than Apollodotus. In describing the coinage of Eucratides, no mention was made of a small group of silver pieces, which are usually believed to represent his earliest issue. They are mainly tetradrachms, the drachms being of semi-barbarous execution. The obverse bears a diademed head within a bead-and-reel border; on the reverse is a draped figure of Apollo standing to left, holding an arrow and a bow. It may be that the view generally taken of these coins is correct. But there are two serious difficulties in the way of accepting it. In the first place, it would be unusual, if not unprecedented, for a Bactrian king to use more than one distinctive type for his Attic silver, and the characteristic type of Eucratides was, as we know, the group of the Dioscuri. In the second place, the style of the obverse has the closest possible resemblance to that of the obverse of some of the tetradrachms of Heliocles. A comparison, for instance, reveals a similarity that is almost startling. It forces one to ask whether Heliocles may not have had a younger brother, who had the same name as his father and who was proclaimed king after the latter's murder. When ancient states were on the verge of ruin, kings were apt to multiply. Nor is it a valid objection to urge that no second Eucratides is known to the literary texts. The name of Heliocles himself has been rescued from oblivion by his coins.


He is the last king of India whose money is found to the north of the Hindu Kush. Clearly, therefore, it was in his reign that Bactria was abandoned to the Shakas. This was probably not later than 135 B.C. What the condition of the country then became, is wholly doubtful. The language used of the Ta-hia by Chang-kien, the Chinese envoy, is interpreted by some as indicating that they were largely left to themselves by the intruders, and that they did not acknowledge the authority of a central government at all. But here again we are in the realm of conjecture. Our only definite evidence for Heliocles is numismatic, and the inferences of which it admits are scanty. The characteristic type on his Attic silver is Zeus, generally standing to front, grasping a thunderbolt and leaning on a long sceptre. Very rare tetradrachms and drachms combine a helmeted bust on the obverse with a seated figure of the god on the reverse. The standing Zeus reappears on bilingual coins of Indo-Persic weight and of markedly different style. These are sufficiently common to show the diminishing importance of the Bactrian part of Heliocles's kingdom, and the corresponding advance of the purely Indian element. With the exception of Apollodotus and Antialcidas, he is the last of the Graeco-Indian rulers to employ the Attic standard at all. He also re-strikes the coins of Agathocleia reigning conjointly with her son Strato I Soter, an indication no doubt that the internecine struggle between the house of Eucratides and the house of Euthydemus which had begun in Bactria was continued in India.

Finally, a faint memory of his name must have lingered on among the barbarian immigrants long after the day when he fled before their approach. Once settled in the midst of a nation of shopkeepers, the nomads speedily learned that a coinage was indispensable. To provide it they had recourse to rude imitations of the money of their Greek predecessors, and their most popular models were the bronze of Heliocles and the silver of Euthydemus. Their currency thus supplies a pathetic epilogue to the story of the rise and fall of the Greek kingdom of Bactria.

The annals of Hellas abound in episodes as rich in romance as any tale the Middle Ages ever wove. Nothing they contain is more calculated to appeal to the imagination than the fortunes of these heirs of the great Alexander. That their civilization was a brilliant one, we may safely conclude from the quality of the art displayed upon their coins. The pity of it is that the store of facts for the reconstruction of their history is so slender. The surmises are many, and the certainties are few. Excavation may mend matters some day. Until then the utmost limit of possible achievement is to sketch a rough outline that shall not be inconsistent with such scattered fragments of evidence as survive.