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Eucratides I

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Missing image
EukratidesCoin.JPG
Silver tetradrachm of King Eucratides I (171-145 BC)
Obv: Bust of Eucratides. Helmet decorated with a bull's horn and ear.
Rev: Depiction of the Dioscuri, each holding palm in left hand, spear in righthand. Greek legend: BASILEOS MEGALOI EUKRATIDOI "Great King Eucratides". Mint monogram below.
Characteristics: Diameter 32 mm. Weight 15.9 gm. Attic standard. One of the largest Hellenic coin ever minted.

Eucratides I (ca. 170 BC - 145 BC) was one of the Greco-Bactrian kings.

Eucratides came to the throne by toppling the dynasty of Euthydemus, whose son Demetrius had conquered western India.

It is unclear whether he was a Bactrian official who raised a rebellion, or, according to some scholars, a cousin of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes who was trying to regain the Bactrian territory. Whatever the case, Eucratides finally took control of the territory for himself.

He became a powerful king in Bactria and invaded parts of India. He was challenged by other contemporaries Greek kings such as Antimachus I, Apollodotus and Menander I.

In the west the Parthian king Mithradates I began to enlarge his kingdom and attacked Eucratides; he succeeded in conquering two provinces between Bactria and Parthia, called by Strabo the country of Aspiones and Turiua.

Missing image
EucratidesKapisa.jpg
Bilingual coin of the Greco-Bactrian king Eucratides (170-145 BCE), mentioning Alexandria of the Caucasus/ Kapisa.
Obv: Bust of king Eucratides. Greek legend: BASILEOS MEGALOY EUKRATIDOY "Great King Eucratides".
Rev: Divinity of Kapisa with palm in left hand, probably Zeus, extending a wreath over the head of a small elephant. Hills to the right. Kharoshthi legend: KAVISIYE NAGARA DEVATA "Divinity of the city of Kapisa".

But the principal opponent of Eucratides was Demetrius of India. Demetrius and Eucratides waged a Civil War which divided the Kingdom between Bactriana and Punjab. Eucratides became the new ruler of Bactriana while Demetrius's rule was confined to the Punjab, which thus became the Indo-Greek Kingdom.

The immediate successors to Eucratides were Eucratides II, Plato and Heliocles I (145-130 BC), who was the last Greek king to reign in Bactria. Once the Yeh-chih tribes overpowered him, the Greco-Bactrians lost control of the provinces north of the Hindu Kush.

However, the rule of the Indo-Greeks over territories south of the Hindu Kush lasted for a further 150 years, ultimately collapsing under the pressure of the Yeh-chih and Scythian (Saka) invasions in around 10 BC.

Preceded by:
Demetrius
and his sub-kings:

(in Bactria)
Antimachus I
Demetrius II

(In the Paropamisadae, Arachosia, Gandhara)
Apollodotus I
Antimachus II
Greco-Bactrian Ruler
(Bactria, Paropamisadae, Arachosia, Gandhara)
(170-145 BC)
Succeeded by:
(In Bactria)
Eucratides II

(In Paropamisadae, Arachosia, Gandhara)
Menander I

External links

References

  • "The Shape of Ancient Thought. Comparative studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies" by Thomas McEvilley (Allworth Press and the School of Visual Arts, 2002) ISBN 1581152035
  • "Buddhism in Central Asia" by B.N. Puri (Motilal Banarsidass Pub, January 1, 2000) ISBN 8120803728
  • "The Greeks in Bactria and India", W.W. Tarn, Cambridge University Press.
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