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Coinage from Iran to Gandhara – With special reference to divinities as coin types

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the development of coinage in the countries between Iran and Gandhāra in the three centuries between the eastern expedition of Alexander the Great (331-323 B.C.) and the coming of the Kuṣāṇas in the first century A.D. The Seleucid kings, the successors of Alexander in western Asia, developed the Hellenistic convention that the obverse side of silver coins normally carried the king's portrait, while the reverse was reserved for the gods. Parthia and Bactria had both been satrapies of the Seleucid empire and naturally continued to use the same basic framework for their own coinages. When the Greeks of Bactria conquered northern India the Greek gods retained an important role but an increasing syncretism with local divinities can be seen and the Indo-Greek coinages develop the theriomorphic representation of Indian divinities.

Keywords: Bactria; Coinage; Gandhāra; Greek gods; India; Indo-Scythians; Iranian; Parthia



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