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THE disintegration of the Maurya empire was followed by foreign invasions. Now that the unifying power was removed, the frontiers could no longer be held securely; and the history of N.W. India becomes for many centuries the record of successive conquerors who came along the routes which led from Bactria (N. Afghanistan) over the Hindu Kush into the Kabul valley or from Ariana (Seistan and Kandahar) over the Brahui Mountains into Sind.

The first three of the series, who belong to the period before the Christian era, are known in Indian literature and inscriptions as Yavanas or Yonas (Greeks), Shakas or Sakas (Scythians), and Pahlavas (Parthians). Like other invaders they are regarded by the Sanskrit law-books and epics as degenerate Kshatriyas who had lost caste through their neglect of the religious and social code, and they are supposed to be of Indian origin, the descendants of Turvasu; but their names alone are sufficient to prove that they were foreigners, and that they came into India from Bactria or from Iran.

The Yavanas are the Iauna of the Old Persian inscriptions of Darius, which show that the Persians applied to all Greeks without distinction the name of the Ionians of Asia Minor who were conquered by Cyrus in 545 BC. Greek soldiers and officials formed no unimportant element in the administration of the empire of the Achaemenids; and it is not surprising therefore to find that the Greeks were known in India at a time when a large portion of the North-West was still under Persian rule. The occurrence of the word Yavana in a grammatical rule of Panini is a certain indication that it had been adopted into Sanskrit before the middle of the fourth century BC. Its Prakrit equivalent, Yona, is used in the inscriptions of Ashoka to describe the Hellenic sovereigns of Egypt, Cyrene, Macedonia, Epirus, and Syria; and there can be little doubt that, in all Indian documents earlier than the third century AD, the term denotes a person of Greek descent, in spite of the fact that, like other foreign settlers in India, many of the Yavanas had become Hinduised and had adopted Indian names. At a later date, foreigners generally are classed as Yavanas.

On three occasions have Yavana conquerors occupied the Kabul valley, the North-Western Frontier Province, and large portions of the Punjab. The earliest of these episodes, the Indian expedition of Alexander the Great, has for more than twenty-two centuries been celebrated in the Western world as one of the most amazing feats of arms in the whole of history. Of its progress detailed accounts have been preserved by Greek and Latin authors whose information was derived from the writings of officers who themselves took part in the events which they describe; and in all these accounts Alexander himself is the great central figure. No personage of the ancient world is better known but of this great conqueror the records of India have preserved no certain trace : he had failed to reach the Midland Country, to which the literature of the period is almost exclusively confined.

On the second occasion, Bactrian princes of the house of Euthydemus, whose conquests began c. 200 BC, succeeded in rivalling and in surpassing the exploits of Alexander; and on the third occasion, Eucratides, who had supplanted the family of Euthydemus in Bactria, deprived it of its possessions in the Kabul valley and of a portion of its territory in N.W. India, before 162 BC.

No connected account of these two rival Yavana houses has been preserved; and practically nothing is known about the personal character or achievements of the leaders who directed the affairs of a period which must have been full of stirring events. A few isolated references in literature, Greek, Roman, and Indian, a single Indian inscription, and the coin-legends of about thirty Greek kings and two Greek queens supply the evidence which enables us to retrace very imperfectly a few outlines in the history of the successors of Alexander the Great in India during the second and first centuries BC.

For about a century after the treaty of peace between Seleucus and Chandragupta, c. 305 BC, and half a century after the foundation of the Hellenic kingdom of Bactria, c. 250 BC, the southern limit of the Yavana dominions was marked by the Hindu Kush. This broad band of mountainous country, which separates the great river systems of the Oxus and the Indus, was thus also the political boundary between Bactria and Paropanisadae (the Kabul valley and the country north of the Kabul river now known as Laghman, Kohistan, and Kafiristan). The mountain barrier, although a formidable natural obstacle, has never effectually prevented intercourse between the two fertile regions which it divides. In all ages it has been traversed by migrating tribes, by military expeditions, or by peaceful traders and pilgrims. It was crossed by Alexander, from the Paropanisadae to Bactria, in fifteen days, and recrossed in eleven days.

The routes which led from Bactria over its passes converged at a point near the present Charikar where Alexander had founded the city of Alexandria-under-the-Caucasus; and, so long as this strategical position could be held, invasion was impossible. But already in 206 BC the expedition of Antiochus the Great had shown that the way was now open; and the object lesson was not lost. Within a few years, the Bactrian king Euthydemus and the princes of his house began their triumphal career, the first stage of which was marked by the occupation of the Kabul valley.

From Kabul ancient routes led, on the one hand, into the provinces of Ariana Aria (Herat) on the west, and Arachosia (Kandahar) on the south-west and, on the other hand, into India through Gandbara (Peshawar and Rawalpindi) on the south-east. It is probable that the Yavana power expanded in all three directions; but it was in the second and third of these to Arachosia and to India that its progress was most marked. In these directions it must no doubt have followed the routes once trodden by the armies of Alexander the Great. The full extent of the Yavana conquests is described by Strabo who quotes Apollodorus of Artemita, the author of a history of Parthia which has been lost :

... The Greeks who occasioned its (Bactria's) revolt became so powerful by means of its fertility and advantages of the country that they became masters of Ariana and India, according to Apollodorus of Artemita. Their chiefs, particularly Menander (if he really crossed the Hypanis to the east and reached Isamus), conquered more nations than Alexander. These conquests were achieved partly by Menander, partly by Demetrius, son of Euthydemus, king of the Bactrians. They got possession not only of Patalene but of the kingdom of Saraostos, and Sigerdis, which constitute the remainder of the coast ... They extended their empire even as far as the Seres and Phryni ... (Trans. M'Crindle, Ancient India)

Direction of Invasions

This passage is not without its difficulties; but the general purport is clear. The conquests of the Bactrian kings are said to have been carried to the south over the Hindu Kush into S. Afghanistan, the North-Western Frontier Province, the Punjab, Sind, and Kathiawar, and to the east over the Pamirs into Chinese Turkestan. Unfortunately the Indian limits of this extension are somewhat doubtful. The Hypanis must certainly be intended for the Hyphasis (Beas), the eastern limit of Alexander's march; and the Isamus must probably be intended for the Jumna. Patalene, the country of Patala, is the Indus delta. If the reading Saraostos, which has been restored from the MSS., be correct, it must undoubtedly represent Surashtra (Kathiawar). The identification of Sigerdis is uncertain.

The Indian conquests, attributed by Apollodorus to Demetrius and Menander, were ascribed by Trogus Pompeius to Apollodotus and Menander. It seems probable that Apollodotus and Menander, as well as Demetrius, belonged to the house of Euthydemus, and that all these three princes were contemporary. Some of the principal stages in the routes which the conquering armies must have followed, together with the distances between the stages, are known from ancient authorities who derived their information from the campaigns of Alexander and Seleucus. The most complete record has been preserved by Pliny. Many of his measurements are no doubt correct, when due allowance is made for the necessary detours in marches; but, as others are evidently less exact, it will be more convenient to summarize here such information as is supplied by the Imperial Gazetteer, and to estimate other distances approximately by straight lines drawn on the map (Railway and Canal Map of India, 1910).

From to miles.
Charikar (Alexandria-under-the-Caucasus) Kabul (Ortospanum) 40
Kabul S.W. Kandahar (Alexandria-among-the-Arachosians) 313
Kabul S. Indus delta, in a straight line 725
Kabul S. S. Kathiawar 1000
Kabul E. Jalalabad (Nagara) 101
Jalalabad E. Peshawar (Purushapura) 79
Charsadda (Pushkalavati) E. Shahdheri (Takshashila) 80
Shahdheri S.E. Jhelum (Nicaea) 70
Jhelum S.E. Sialkot (Shakala) 55
Sialkot S.E. Beas (Hyphasis) 65
Beas S.E. Sutlej (Hesydrus) at Rupar 85
Sutlej S. Jumna (Yamuna) at Karnal (old bed) 100

The second great Yavana invasion had thus passed beyond the bounds of Alexander's Indian realm in two directions beyond the Beas eastwards, and beyond the Indus delta southwards. But it is doubtful if the successors of Demetrius, Apollodotus, and Menander exercised any permanent sway over the very wide expanse of territory indicated in Strabo's Geography. It is more likely that most of the princes whose coins we possess ruled over various kingdoms in the northern region of this area, that is to say, in the Kabul valley, in the North-Western Frontier Province, and in the northern districts of the Punjab. It is certain however that the military expeditions of the Yavanas were by no means confined within these limits. One such incursion which broke through the Delhi passage and penetrated the Midland Country as far as Pataliputra (Patna) is described in the Yuga Purana, one of the chapters of the Gargi Samhita.

As in all Puranic literature, we find here a record of past events in the conventional form of prophecy; and, however late the work may be in its present form, there is no reason to doubt that, like the Puranas generally, it embodies a more ancient tradition. From the passage in question we gather that 'the viciously valiant Greeks', after reducing Saketa (in Oudh), the Panchala country (in the doab between the Jumna and Ganges), and Mathura (Muttra), reached Pushpapura (Pataliputra); but that they did not remain in the Midland Country because of a dreadful war among themselves which broke out in their own country - an evident allusion to the internecine struggle between the houses of Euthydemus and Eucratides.

This account is to some extent supported and supplemented by two examples given by the grammarian Patanjali (a contemporary of the Shunga king, Pushyamitra) in illustration of the use of the imperfect tense to denote an event which has recently happened 'The Yavana was besieging Saketa : the Yavana was besieging Madhyamika' (Nagari, near Chitor in Rajputana). Such incursions brought the Yavanas into collision with the Shungas who were now the predominant power in the Midland Country; and Kalidasa's drama, the Malavikdgnimitra (Act v) preserves the memory of a conflict on the banks of the river Sindhu, in which a Yavana force was defeated in the reign of Pushyamitra by the king's grandson Vasumitra.

It is clear that such warlike inroads were followed by no permanent occupation of the Midland Country, and that the period of military conquest, in which they are ineffective episodes, belongs to the earlier part of the second century BC, when the Yavana power was as yet undivided by internecine strife. But the struggle of Greek with Greek was not long delayed. The conflict between the rival houses in Bactria was decided in favour of Eucratides; and the third Yavana invasion under his leadership deprived the princes of the house of Euthydemus of their dominions in Kabul and Kandahar (the Paropanisadae and Arachosia) and in N.W. India (Gandhara).

Bactrian and Indian Coins

After about 162 B.C. there were therefore two royal houses of Yavanas in India, and several branches of these houses were established in different kingdoms and ruled at the same time. The names and titles of a number of princes belonging to these families have been preserved by their coins; and a study of the coins enables us to recover a few facts in their history. In the first place it is evident that some members of both royal houses ruled both to the north and to the south of the Hindu Kush. Their coins belong to two distinct and unmistakable classes. The coins struck in Bactria are purely Greek in style, in language, and in weight. They are the most noble examples of Greek art as applied to portraiture. No rivals to the lifelike portraits of Euthydemus and Demetrius appeared in the world until after the lapse of sixteen centuries, when the Greek spirit was again kindled at the renaissance and manifested itself in the medals of the great Italian artists. Contrasted with these, the coin-portraits executed to the south of the Hindu Kush are lifeless and conventional. Between the two styles of art there is a gulf fixed. Neither can be brought into relation with the other. They are the work of different regions and the outcome of different types of civilization.

In Bactria the Greeks ruled supreme amid peoples of a lower culture. On the south of the mountain barrier, in the Kabul valley and in India, they were brought into contact with a civilization which was in many respects as advanced as their own and even more ancient a civilization in which, as in that of Ancient Egypt, religious and social institutions had long ago been stereotyped, and in which individual effort in literature and art was no longer free but bound by centuries of tradition. With this deeply-rooted civilization the Greeks were forced to make a compromise; and the results are seen in their bilingual coin-legends, and in their adoption of the Indian (or Persian) weight-standard.

Differences less strongly marked, differences of degree rather than of kind, are to be observed in the style of the coinages which the Yavanas issued in the kingdoms south of the Hindu Kush. This diversity is no doubt the result chiefly of varying local conditions. The Yavana dominions were very widely extended; and the influence of Greek models was naturally less strong in the more remote districts.



The princes of the house of Euthydemus who reigned both in Bactria and in kingdoms south of the Hindu Kush are Demetrius, Pantaleon, Agathocles, and probably also Antimachus.

Of these Demetrius alone is known to the Greek historians, whose statements as to his Indian conquests are confirmed, though scarcely supplemented, by the evidence of coins. The district, in which his bilingual square copper coins were struck, has not been determined; and all that can be said of his round coins, with types 'Elephant's head : Caduceus' and Greek legend only, is that they were directly copied by the Shaka king Maues, and that they must therefore have been in circulation in the lower Rabul valley or in N.W. India .

Pantaleon and Agathocles were undoubtedly closely connected, since they struck coins which are identical in type and form. These were borrowed from the earlier native currency which prevailed generally in the Paropanisadae and Gandhara. From a general consideration of the provenance of their coins, which are found in Rabul, Ghazni, and Randahar, Cunningham concluded that Pantaleon and Agathocles must have ruled over the Western Paropanisadae and Arachosia. They would seem therefore to represent the south-western extension of the Yavana power.

The commemorative medals struck by Antimachus show that he claimed to be the successor of Diodotus and Euthydemus; but there is nothing to indicate his relation to Agathocles who makes the same claim. The two princes may have been ruling at the same period in different kingdoms. From the recorded discoveries of the Indian coins of Antimachus, Cunningham inferred that he ruled in the lower Rabul valley (the districts of Jalalabad and Peshawar). The reverse type in which the king is represented on a prancing horse and wearing a flat cap (kausia), as on the obverse of the large silver Bactrian coins, is evidently a portrait; and the same type is continued on the coins of Philoxenus, Nicias, and Hippostratus, who may have succeeded to the kingdom of Antimachus. But if these four princes really ruled over the same kingdom, its locality must be sought rather in the country of the Jhelum than in the lower Kabul valley. The coins of Philoxenus are found only to the east of Jalalabad, and
those of Nicias only in the Jhelum District; while the types 'Apollo: Tripod' which are also struck by Hippostratus seem undoubtedly, in later times, to have been confined to the eastern districts of the Punjab.

The occurrence of the type 'King on prancing horse' on the joint coins of Hermaeus and Calliope may, as Cunningham suggested, indicate the union of two royal houses. The Bactrian and Indian coins of Antimachus with their types 'Poseidon' and 'Victory' must refer to a naval triumph; and it is difficult to explain the allusion except on the supposition that this king had won a victory on one of the great Indian rivers the Indus or the Jhelum.

Numismatists usually distinguish between an earlier Antimachus I Theos and a later Antimachus II Victorious; but it seems more probable that the coins assigned to these are merely the Bactrian and the Indian issues of the same monarch. The two classes are connected by their types; and the difference between them may well be local rather than chronological. They represent the workmanship of districts separated by some hundreds of miles and dissimilar in culture. They find their parallels in the coinages of other Graeco-Indian kings, viz. Demetrius, Eucratides, and Heliocles.

Of the Yavana princes who ruled only to the south of the Hindu Kush, Apollodotus would seem to have been the first. He is twice mentioned by ancient authors, and on both occasions in association with Menander. From such evidence as is forthcoming we may reasonably conclude that the two princes were members of the family of Euthydemus, that they belong to the same period the period of Yavana expansion and that Apollodotus was the elder.

The copper coins of Apollodotus bear types 'Apollo: Tripod' in evident allusion to the king's name. These were restruck by Eucratides with his own types in the kingdom of Kapisha (Kafiristan) immediately to the south of the Hindu Kush. The types of the silver coins, 'Elephant: Indian bull' which may have symbolised the tutelary divinities of cities, are commonly found on the earlier native coinages of the N.W., and the Indian bull is more particularly characteristic of Pushkalavati (Charsadda) in the Peshawar District. These types continued to be struck by Heliocles. The coins thus show most clearly the transference of the upper and lower Kabul valleys from one Yavana house to the other, and they determine the date of Apollodotus I : he was, like Demetrius, the contemporary of Eucratides, who was the predecessor of Heliocles.

From their home in the N.W. the coins of Apollodotus were carried far and wide into other regions. Such distribution may manifestly be the result either of conquest or of commerce : it is therefore no certain indication of the limits of a king's dominions. But in this case numismatic evidence of the kind may well be adduced to confirm the statement preserved by Strabo, that Yavana rule extended on the south-west to Ariana and on the south to the Indus delta and Western India. Cunningham observed that, while coins of Apollodotus are found in Arachosia (Ghazni and Kandahar) and in Drangiana (Seistan), those of Menander do not occur in these regions; and from this fact he inferred that these provinces of Ariana were lost to the house of Euthydemus during the reign of Apollodotus and before the reign of Menander. They would appear to have come successively under the sway of Eucratides and of Mithradates. That Menander did not rule in Ariana seems certain. He is associated rather with the eastern Punjab; and in this region he may have been reigning contemporaneously with Apollodotus in the N.W. and in Ariana.

The memory of Apollodotus and Menander was preserved in Western India by their coins, which, according to the author of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, were still in circulation in the last quarter of the first century A.D. at Barugaza (Broach). But Yavana rule had long ago ceased in this region. Early in the first century B.C. the country of the lower Indus had passed into the possession of the Shaka invaders from Seistan.

After the conquests of Eucratides and Heliocles the dominions of the house of Euthydemus were confined to those districts of the Punjab which lie to the east of the Jhelum, that is to say, to the old kingdoms of Alexander's first and second Paurava, and to the region beyond. Here the types of Apollodotus, 'Apollo : Tripod,' were continued by Strato I, by the Shaka king Maues, and, with some modification in the representation both of Apollo and the Tripod, by Apollodotus II Philopator, Dionysius, Zoilus, and Hippostratus.


Menander is the only Yavana who has become celebrated in the ancient literature of India. He is unquestionably to be identified with Milinda, the Yavana king of Shakala (Sialkot), who is one of the two leading characters in the Milindapanha, the 'Questions of Milinda', a Pali treatise on the fundamental principles of Buddhist philosophy. It is in the form of a dialogue between the king, who had become notorious as 'harassing the brethren by putting puzzles to them of heretical tendency,' and the Buddhist elder, Nagasena, who triumphantly solves these puzzles and succeeds in converting his royal antagonist. It is thus as a philosopher, and not as a mighty conqueror, that Menander, like Janamejaya, king of the Kurus, and Janaka, king of Videha, in the Upanishads, has won for himself an abiding fame.

"As a disputant he was hard to equal, harder still to overcome; the acknowledged superior of all the founders of the various schools of thought. As in wisdom so in strength of body, swiftness, and valour there was found none equal to Milinda in all India. He was rich too, mighty in wealth and prosperity, and the number of his armed hosts knew no end". (Trans. Rhys Davids)

The capital is described in the same somewhat conventional style in a passage which begins :

"There is, in the country of the Yonakas, a great centre of trade, a city that is called Sagala, situated in a delightful country, abounding in parks and gardens and groves and lakes and tanks, a paradise of rivers and mountains and woods". (Ibid.)

Little is said which might not apply to any other important city lying on the great high road of N. India. For more precise information we must seek elsewhere.

Shakala was a city of the Madras, who are mentioned in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad probably as early as 600 BC, and who appear in the epics to occupy the district of Sialkot between the rivers Chenab and Ravi. Here Alexander found the second Paurava king, whose dominions he annexed to the satrapy of his relation and rival, the great Paurava, who ruled over the adjacent territory between the Jhelum and the Chenab. We may conclude then that the kings of the Madras claimed to be Purus, and that their dominions together with their capital, Shakala, twice passed under the sway of the Yavanas under Alexander and under his successor, Menander. At a later date, in the early part of the sixth century AD, Shakala became the capital of the Huna conqueror, Mihirakula.

At his meetings with Nagasena, the king is attended by his five hundred Greek (Yonaka) courtiers, some of whom bear Greek names which have been slightly Indianised; and, as the chief of these courtiers were no doubt related to the royal family which traced its origin to Bactria, it is not surprising to find among them a Demetrius (Devamantriya) and an Antiochus (Anantakaya).

In the illustrations which are brought to bear on the philosophical topics under discussion, certain facts of a more general interest emerge. Milinda, it appears, was born at the village of Kalasi in the dvipa of Alasanda. Kalasi cannot be identified; but the dvipa of Alasanda is no doubt the district of Alexandria-under-the-Caucasus - Alasanda of the Yonas, as it is called in the Mahavamsa. Translators have persistently rendered dvipa by 'island', and have thus added to the difficulties of identifying the site; but this is only one of the meanings of this word, which often denotes the land lying between two rivers the Persian duab : the district of Shakala, for example, in the Rechna Doab between the Chenab and the Ravi, is often called Shakala-dvipa. There is no reason therefore why the term Alasanda-dvipa should not be applied to the country between the Panjshir and Kabul rivers, in which the ruins of Alexander's city have been recognised near Charikar. No other of the numerous Alexandrias has an equal claim to the honour of being Menander's birthplace, which, in reply to Nagasena's question, the king himself describes as being 200 yojanas distant from Shakala. The yojana has very different values according to the period and the locality in which it is used; but there is good evidence of the use in Buddhist books of a short yojana, equal to about two and a half English miles; and an estimate of 500 miles for the route from Charikar to Sialkot seems to be fairly correct. The statement thus incidentally preserved by the MilindapaƱha has the appearance of truth. Some branch of the family of Euthydemus would naturally be settled in the district, which was strategically important as constituting the connecting link between Bactria and India, and we may reasonably conclude that Menander, like Apollodotus, belonged to this branch.


Menander's fame as a great and just ruler was not confined to India. Some two centuries after his time Plutarch recounted to the Greek world the story how, after his death in camp, the cities of his realm contended for the honor of preserving his ashes and agreed on a division among themselves, in order that the memory of his reign should not be lost. The story is evidently derived from some Buddhist source; for, as Prinsep first pointed out, it is a reminiscence of the story of the distribution of Buddha's ashes.

The coins of Menander show a greater variety of types and are distributed over a wider area than those of any other Graeco-Indian ruler. They are found not only in the Kabul valley and the Punjab, but also in the western districts of the United Provinces. There can be no doubt that Menander was the ruler over many kingdoms and that he was a great conqueror. It was most probably under his leadership that the Yavana armies invaded the Midland Country. The statement, that the expedition was recalled on account of the war which had broken out between the Yavanas themselves in their own country, is in accordance with what may be inferred as to his date. Menander and Eucratides were almost certainly contemporary. Some of their square copper coins are so similar in style that they may reasonably be assigned not only to the same general period, but also to the same region a region which must have passed from one rule to the other.

The numismatic record of Menander is unusually full, but it is at the same time extraordinarily difficult to interpret. Few, if any, of his types can be attributed to the different cities in which they were struck. The most plausible suggestions are that the 'Ox-head' may represent Bucephala, and the figure of 'Victory' Nicaea, the two cities which Alexander founded on the Jhelum in the realm of Porus.

The period is one of great historical complexity. The house of Euthydemus, after a career of conquest under Demetrius, Apollodotus, and Menander, was engaged in a struggle, under the same leaders, to maintain its newly won possessions against the encroachments of the house of Eucratides. Coins can only have preserved a few indications of the kaleidoscopic changes which must from time to time have taken place in the political situation. Nevertheless, their evidence clearly illustrates some of the main results of the struggle. They show unmistakably that the dominions of the house of Euthydemus in the Kabul valley and in both western and eastern Gandhara (Pushkalavati and Takshashila) had passed into the hands of Eucratides and his immediate successors Heliocles and Antialcidas. It is in the region which lies to the south and east of the Rawalpindi District that we must seek henceforth the remnants of the house of Euthydemus. Here Apollodotus appears to be represented by Apollodotus II Philopator, and Menander by Agathocleia and her son Strato.

In the long and distinguished list of queens who have ruled in India must be included the name of Agathocleia. Her relation to Menander cannot be proved very definitely; but it is by no means improbable that she was his queen and the governor of his kingdom after his death. The fact that she struck coins on which her portrait appears together with the type of Euthydemus, 'Heracles seated', shows that she was a princess in her own right and a member of the royal house; and her name suggests that she may have belonged to the family of Pantaleon and Agathocles. She was undoubtedly the mother of Strato I Soter. The coins issued by Agathocleia in association with her son, and by Strato ruling at first alone and afterwards in association with his grandson, Strato II Philopator, supply the most valuable evidence for the reconstruction of the history and chronology of this period. They mark most clearly various stages in the long life of Strato. They begin at a time when the conquests of the house of Eucratides had not yet reached their limit; and they end on the eve of the complete overthrow of Yavana power in the eastern Punjab by the Qakas.

Agathocleia and Strata

On the earliest of these coins Agathocleia appears as queen regent holding the place of honor with her portrait and Greek inscription on the obverse, while the Kharoshthi legend of the young prince occupies a subordinate position on the reverse. Afterwards, the combined portraits of mother and son declare their association in the government; and, later still, a series of portraits shows Strato first reigning alone as a youth, or as a bearded man and then in advanced old age, with toothless jaws and sunken cheeks, both, as the Kharoshthi legends indicate, reigning alone and in association with his grandson, Strato II Philopator. To judge from these portraits, we have here glimpses of a life of more than seventy years. Between the earliest and the latest there is indeed a long interval, and to some period in this interval must be assigned the reigns of Apollodotus II Philopator, Dionysius, and Zoilus. They are associated by their common use of a peculiar monogram; and it is probable that they were all descendants of Apollodotus I. Apollophanes, whose name suggests that he may have been a member of the same family, must belong to the period represented by the latest coins of Strato.

Coins of Agathocleia and Strato, and others of Strato reigning alone, are sometimes found restruck with the types of Heliocles. The restruck coins of Strato bear the reverse-type 'Victory', which was inherited by him either from Menander or from Agathocleia ruling in the name of Menander; and this type may not improbably be supposed to represent the city of Nicaea on the Jhelum. We have here unmistakable evidence of a further transference of the dominions of the house of Euthydemus to the rival house of Eucratides, and a certain indication that the conflict which was begun by Eucratides in the time of Demetrius and Apollodotus, was continued by Heliocles in the reign of Strato.

The lifetime of Strato witnessed not only the decline in the eastern Punjab of the royal house to which he belonged, but also the downfall of Yavana rule in Northern India; for in his reign there came still another great foreign invasion which led to the supremacy of the Shakas and Pahlavas. The debased art of his latest coins and of those in which he is associated with his grandson seems to show that the house of Euthydemus had fallen on evil days; and other coins clearly suggest the manner in which it came to an end. The familiar type of the house of Euthydemus, 'Athene Promachos', continues to appear on coins; but the strikers no longer bear Greek names. Their names are either Indian like Bhadrayashasa, or Shaka like Ranjubula. The former is otherwise unknown : the latter was the satrap of Mathura c. 50 B.C. It appears most probable that the kingdoms held in the eastern Punjab by the last successors of Euthydemus were conquered not by the first Shaka king, Maues, but by his
successor, Azes I (58 B.C.), who was either contemporary with, or later in date than, Apollodotus II and Hippostratus whose coins he restruck.



From such notices of the history of Bactria and Parthia as have been preserved by Greek and Latin writers, a few main facts in the career of Eucratides may be gathered. He deposed Demetrius from the throne of Bactria (c. 175 BC); he invaded the countries to the south of the Hindu Kush, and wrested from Demetrius and the princes of his house their dominions in the Kabul valley, in Ariana (Arachosia and Aria), and in N.W. India at some date before 162 BC; he was deprived by Mithradates I of his recently conquered possessions in Ariana at some time between 162 and c. 155; and, while returning in triumph from an Indian expedition, he was slain by his son, c. 155. None of the princes of the royal house which he founded are named in ancient literature; all that can be known of them must be inferred from the numerous coinages which they issued and from a single Indian inscription.

The coins show that Heliocles, the successor of Eucratides, also ruled both in Bactria and in India, and that after his reign Greek power in Bactria ceased. Henceforth Yavana princes are found only in kingdoms south of the Hindu Kush, and they are divided into two rival dynasties the successors of Eucratides in the Kabul valley and in N.W. India, and the successors of Euthydemus in the eastern region of the Punjab.


Some stages in the conflict between the two houses are reflected in the types of their coins; and especially valuable is the evidence which is sometimes supplied by restrikings. Thus certain copper coins of Apollodotus I Soter, with the usual types 'Apollo : Tripod' have been restruck by Eucratides. This must surely indicate that territory once occupied by Apollodotus had passed into the hands of Eucratides, and that consequently Eucratides must have been either contemporary with Apollodotus or later in date. Other evidence shows that these two kings were contemporary, for each of them was the predecessor of Heliocles. This inevitable conclusion is perfectly in agreement with the style of the coins; for the Indian issues of Eucratides appear to be at least as late in style as those of Apollodotus. The comparatively early date of Apollodotus is moreover proved by his use of the Attic weight-standard. But these restruck coins not only show that the two monarchs represent the two rival houses : they also give the name of the kingdom which had been lost and won. The reverse type is 'Zeus enthroned', and it is accompanied by two symbols, a mountain and the head of an elephant; and the Kharoshthi legend describes the type as 'the divinity of the city of Kapishil'.

Kapishi, the KƔpisa of Ptolemy, was a city of the Paropanisadae; and, according to Pliny, it had been destroyed by Cyrus. It is mentioned by Panini ; and from his time onwards it is best known in Sanskrit literature as giving its name to a spirituous liquor distilled from the flowers of the Madhavi creeper. But our chief knowledge of Kapisha, as the kingdom may be called in distinction from its capital, Kapishi, comes from Chinese sources. For the Chinese Buddhist pilgrims it was the frontier country on their long journey to Northern India. It was a fruitful land of alpine valleys surrounded by mountains on every side. It was here that the Chinese princes who were detained as hostages in Kanishka's court spent the summer, while they passed the spring and autumn in Gandhara and the winter in India. When Hiuen Tsiang visited Kapisha in 630 AD, it was a powerful kingdom, which, according to his description as interpreted by Cunningham, 'must have included the whole of Kafiristan, as well as the two large valleys of Ghorband and Panjshir'; and on it at that period were dependent the neighboring kingdoms of Lampaka (Laghman), Nagara (probably Jalalabad), and Gandhara.

Hiuen Tsiang's account includes a notice which furnishes an interesting explanation of the coin-type :

"To the south-west of the capital was the Pi-lo-sho-lo Mountain. This name was given to the mountain from its presiding genius who had the form of an elephant and was therefore called Pi-lo-sho-lo. (Waiters, On Ytian Chwang)

The name is explained as meaning 'solid as an elephant', and its Indian form has been restored as Pilu-sara, the first part of the compound being supposed to be of Persian derivation (bil = elephant).

In this case, as also in others recorded by the historians of Alexander, the Greeks sought to identify the Indian divinities with their own. They evidently regarded the tutelary deity of the city of Kapishi as Zeus. The coin- type thus inaugurated became characteristic of the house of Eucratides in the Kabul valley. It continued to be used by his successors until all Yavana rule in India came to an end. It is found on the coins of Heliocles, Antialcidas, Amyntas, and Hermaeus.

The conquests which Eucratides carried beyond the Kabul valley into the region of eastern Gandhara (Takshashila) seem to be represented by the coins bearing the type ' Dioscuri', which was continued by Diomedes. One of its varieties which shows the pointed caps (pilei) of these deities was certainly imitated by Liaka Kusulaka, the Shaka satrap of the districts of Chahara and Chukhsa in the neighborhood of Takshashila. The 'Pilei' appear also on coins of Antialcidas, Lysias and Antialcidas, and Archebius. Whether the type 'Victory' denotes that Eucratides was at some time in possession of Nicaea on the Jhelum must remain doubtful.

Although the evidence for the very existence of Heliocles is purely numismatic, it is almost certain that he was the son of Eucratides, and quite certain that he succeeded Eucratides both in Bactria and in India. That he was the last Yavana king to rule in Bactria is shown by the fact that after his reign coins of Greek workmanship cease entirely in that region, and are replaced by the rude imitations of his coins which supplied the currency of the barbarous Shaka conquerors. That he extended the conquests of Eucratides in India is shown by his restrikings of coins originally issued by rulers belonging to the house of Euthydemus.


In the Kabul valley he continued to issue coins bearing the type 'Zeus enthroned', with which Eucratides had restruck the coins of Apollodotus, and others bearing the types 'Elephant : Bull' which are identical with those of Apollodotus himself. The type 'Elephant' occurs frequently both on the purely Indian, and on the Graeco-Indian, coinages of the Kabul valley and N.W. India. The various mints which it denotes cannot be identified more precisely; but it may be suggested that the type, like the 'Zeus enthroned', derived its origin from the elephant-deity of Kapisha. The 'Bull', on the other hand, can be shown to have been the distinctive badge of Pushkalavati (Peucelaotis) in the lower Kabul valley, the capital of western Gandhara.

The bull, like the elephant, is a common emblem in Indian mythology, and is associated with the deities worshipped by various sects; but in this case it would seem undoubtedly to be the bull of Shiva; for the coin-type passed from the Yavanas and their successors, the Shakas, to the Kushana kings who added to it the figure of the god himself. The bull continued to appear on the coins of this region for many centuries. It is seen on the 'Bull and Horseman' coins of the Shahis of Gandhara as late as the eleventh century AD, and from them it is borrowed by the early Muhammadan conquerors.

The successors of Heliocles who from such numismatic evidence are known to have ruled over the kingdom of Pushkalavati are Diomedes, Epander, Philoxenus, Artemidortis, and Peucolaus.

The figure of Artemis, which occurs on the coins of Artemidorus, bears an evident allusion to the king's name; and, since it is found also on the coins of Peucolaus, it shows that the Greeks identified the city goddess with Artemis. The association of Peucolaus with Pushkalavati is proclaimed by his name, which is simply the adjective of Peucolaitis, an alternative form of the Greek Peucelaotis.

The kingdom of Pushkalavati was wrested from the Yavanas by the first Shaka king, Maues, who imitates the types of Artemidorus, 'Artemis: Indian bull'; and the date of this event was probably about 75 BC.

The only Yavana king whose name has yet been found on a purely Indian monument is Antialcidas. The inscription on a stone column at Besnagar, near Bhilsa in the Gwalior State, records that the column was erected in honour of Krishna (Vasudeva) by the Yavana ambassador Heliodorus, son of Dio, an inhabitant of Takshashila, who had come from the Great King Antialcidas to King Kashiputra Bhagabhadra then in the fourteenth year of his reign. The inscription is full of interest. It testifies to the existence of diplomatic relations between the Yavana king of Takshashila and the king of Vidisha (Bhilsa); and it proves that already at this period some of the Yavanas had adopted Indian faiths, for Heliodorus is styled 'a follower of Vishnu' (bhagavata).

The coins of Antialcidas with the type 'Pilei' also indicate that he was king of Takshacila. As all the types connected with the worship of the Dioscuri are ultimately derived from the Bactrian coins of Eucratides, there
can be no doubt that Antialcidas reigned after Eucratides. Hitherto numismatists have assumed that Antialcidas was the predecessor of Eucratides; but the assumption, so far as it has any support, rests on an observation of von Sallet which may well have been mistaken; and what was originally a diffident suggestion on the part of von Sallet has been treated by each succeeding writer on the subject as a statement of fact.


That Antialcidas succeeded Eucratides also in the kingdom of Kapisha appears from his coins with the type of the city divinity of Kapishi with which Eucratides restruck the coins of Apollodotus. Some connexion between Antialcidas and Heliocles is indicated by their common use of the types 'Bust of king : Elephant', with which Heliocles restruck the coins of Agathocleia and Strato. Heliocles was no doubt the elder, for no Bactrian coinage of Antialcidas is known; but, even if these two kings were father and son, their reigns in India may have been to some extent contemporary. The dominions of the house of Eucratides included a number of kingdoms, of which some, as, for instance, Kapisha, Pushkalavati, and Takshashila, can be identified by the types of their coins; and its seems probable that the government of some of these kingdoms was entrusted to the heir apparent and other members of the royal family. It is possible, therefore, that some of the princes whose coins we possess may have been ruling at the same time in different provinces.

On certain coins struck in the district of Takshashila, Antialcidas is associated with Lysias; but there is nothing to explain the relation which one bore to the other, or even to show clearly to which of the two royal houses of Yavanas Lysias belonged. Indeed, since one class of the coins which Lysias strikes as sole ruler bears types, 'Bust of king wearing elephant's scalp : Heracles standing', which are identical with those of Demetrius, it is usually assumed that the two kings belong to the same family. But in this case, as so frequently, numismatic evidence is ambiguous. It is perhaps equally probable that the types introduced into India by Demetrius had become characteristic of a particular district, and therefore continued to be used in that district after it had passed from the house of Euthydeums to the house of Eucratides.

The type ' Pilei' is continued by Archebius after whose reign it is no longer found on any coins issued by a Yavana king. It next appears on the small silver coins which the Shaka satrap, Liaka Kusulaka, struck in imitation of those of Eucratides with the same type. The evidence of coins thus shows that after the reign of Archebius the region of Takshashila passed from the Yavanas to the Shakas; and the evidence of the Takshashila copper plate indicates that Takshashila was conquered by the first Shaka king, Maues, who was reigning there in the year 78 of an unspecified era, a date which, until the era can be determined, may be regarded provisionally as the equivalent of about 72 BC.

The two great kingdoms of Gandhara, Pushkalavati to the west of the Indus and Takshashila to the east, thus passed under the sway of the Shakas during the reign of Maues. The Shaka conquerors, moving up the valley of the Indus from their Indian base in Indo-Scythia (Sind), had come in like a wedge, which for a time separated the remnants of the two Yavana houses. The descendants of Euthydemus, the families of Apollodotus and Menander, still continued to rule in the eastern districts of the Punjab, and the descendants of Eucratides in the upper Kabul valley (the province of the Paropanisadae).

The house of Eucratides was now reduced to the possession of the region which represented its earliest conquest to the south of the Hindu Kush. In the city of Kapishi on the most northern extremity of this region Eucratides had first used the type 'Zeus enthroned' to restrike the coins of the defeated Apollodotus; and this type, deprived of the special emblems of the tutelary divinity of Kapici, 'Elephant and mountain', remained characteristic of the coinages of the upper Kabul valley until the chapter of Yavana rule in India was closed. It was continued after the time of Eucratides by Heliocles, Antialcidas, Amyntas, and Hermaeus.

On some of his silver coins Hermaeus is associated with his queen, Calliope, who, like Agathocleia, must have been a princess in her own right. In the obv. type which represents the jugate busts of the king and queen, both of them wear the diadem; and their names are associated in the Greek and Kharoshthi legends. These joint coins are distinguished from the other issues of Hermaeus by the rev. type 'King on prancing horse'; and, as this type is characteristic of Antimachus and his successors, it is probable, as Cunningham suggested, that Calliope was a princess of this family.


With the conquest by the Shakas of the kingdoms held by the last successors of Euthydemus in the eastern Punjab, Yavana rule had already ceased in the north-western region of the sub-continent which is now known as India, that is to say, the N.W. Frontier Province and the Punjab; and Hermaeus was the last king of his race to reign in India in its more extended historical and geographical sense, which includes the southern half of the present Afghanistan. His kingdom in the upper Kabul valley was the last survival of the Yavana dominions; and it was hemmed in on every side by actual or possible foes on the east and on the south-west by the Shakas and Pahlavas of Peshawar and Kandahar, and on the north by the Yueh-chi, who, since their settlement in the rich land of Bactria, had become a great power under the leadership of their chief tribe, the Kushanas. From one or other of these three possible sources over the mountain region which is now traversed by the Khyber Pass, over the belt of highland country varying from 12,000 to 18,000 feet which lies between Ghazni and Kabul on the route from Kandahar, or over the Paropanisus must have come the conquerors who put an end to the kingdom of Hermaeus.

It was formerly held by the present writer that these hostile invaders were the Kushanas who came over the Paropanisus from Bactria; and the testimony of coins, on which the names of the last Yavana king, Hermaeus, and the first Kushana conqueror, Kujula Kadphises, are found in association, seemed to justify this conclusion. But a fuller consideration of all the available evidence shows that the opinion of Dr F. W. Thomas is almost certainly correct, viz. that there was an intermediate period during which the Pahlavas were in possession of Kabul.

The coins which bear the name of Hermaeus must, if we may judge from their style and fabric, extend over a long period; and those which were mechanically copied by Kujula Kadphises to supply his first issues in the Kabul valley are themselves barbarous. They are of copper and very far removed from the silver coins which were their prototypes.

So far, the deterioration of art and the debasement of the coinage are such as might well be expected to have taken place during the reign of a king who was menaced by enemies on every side. But further stages of degradation can only be explained as the result of a complete change in the character of the civilization of this region.

It would appear then that, while Hermaeus may have been reigning for some time before and after c. 40 BC, as would seem to be indicated by his later Greek coin-legends, a coinage bearing his name and his types was issued by his conquerors until a much later date, in the same way and for the same reasons that the East India Company continued for many years to
strike rupees bearing the name of the Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam. That these conquerors were not Kushanas may, from chronological considerations, be regarded as certain. That they were the Pahlavas of Kandahar is made probable by the evidence of the coins which were struck by Spalirises with the characteristic type of the Yavana kings of Kabul, 'Zeus enthroned'. It was probably not until at least seventy years after the death of its last Yavana king that the Kabul valley passed from the Pahlavas to the Kushanas, the next suzerain power in Afghanistan and N.W. India.