Antimachus I

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Antimachus I
Indo-Greek king
Antimachos I.jpg
Coin of Antimachus I. British Museum.
Reign 171–160 BCE

Anthimachus I Theos (Greek: Ἀντίμαχος Α΄ ὁ Θεός; known as Antimakha in Indian sources) was one of the Greco-Bactrian kings, generally dated from around 185 BC to 170 BC.


Tarn and numismatist Robert Senior place Antimachus as a member of the Euthydemid dynasty and probably as a son of Euthydemus and brother of Demetrius. Other historians, like Narain, mark him as independent of Euthydemid authority, and probably a scion of some relation to the Diodotid dynasty. He was king of an area covering parts of Bactria and probably also Arachosia in southern Afghanistan (see under coins). Antimachus I was either defeated during his resistance to the usurper Eucratides, or his main territory was absorbed by the latter upon his death.

Apparently adding to the argument against direct Euthydemid familial connections, is a unique tax-receipt that states:

The tax receipt, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum.

"In the reign of Antimachos Theos and Eumenes and Antimachos... the fourth year, month of Olous, in Asangorna, the guardian of the law being... The tax collector Menodotus, in the presence of... who was also sent out by Demonax, the former... , and of Simus who was... by the agency of Diodorus, controller of revenues, acknowledges receipt from... the son of Dataes from the priests... the dues relating to the purchase." A tax receipt from Hellenistic Bactria.[1]

That Antimachus would list his own associate kings argues strongly against the suggestion that he was appointed as a Northern associate ruler of Euthydemus and Demetrius, an idea that anyway is more or less unprecedented among Hellenistic kings. Eumenes and Antimachus could be his heirs; it was standard by Ptolemaic and Seleucid kings to include their sons as joint regents, with variable formal or actual power. While Eumenes never issued any coins; a king named Antimachus II Nikephoros later appeared in India. It seems plausible that the Indian Antimachus was identical with the son of Antimachus I, but it is unclear whether his reign in India overlapped with his father' reign in Bactria.

Coins of Antimachus I[edit]

Silver coin of Antimachus I (171–160 BC).
Obv: Bust of Antimachus I.
Rev: Depiction of Poseidon, with Greek legend BASILEOS THEOU ANTIMACHOU "of God-King Antimachus".
Coin of Antimachus, Cabinet des Médailles, Paris.
Coin of Antimachus.

Antimachus I issued a numerous silver coinage on the Attic standard, with his own image in a flat Macedonian kausia hat, and on the reverse Poseidon with his trident. Poseidon was the god of the ocean and great rivers - some scholars have here seen a reference to the provinces around the Indus River, where Antimachus I may have been a governor - but also the protector of horses, which was perhaps a more important function in the hinterland of Bactria.

On his coinage, Antimachus called himself Theos, "The God", a first in the Hellenistic world. Just like his colleague Agathocles, he issued commemorative coinage, in his case silver tetradrachms honouring Euthydemus I, also called "The God", and Diodotus I, called "The Saviour". This indicates that Antimachus I might have been instrumental in creating a royal state cult (see coin description: [1]).

Antimachus I also issued round bronzes depicting an elephant on the obverse, with a reverse showing the Greek goddess of victory Nike holding out a wreath. The elephant could be a Buddhist symbol. These coins are reminiscent of those of Demetrius I, as well as Apollodotus I.

Other bronzes, square and rather crude, also portray a walking elephant, but with a reverse of a thunderbolt. These have been attributed by Bopearachchi (as well as older scholars) to Arachosia. They are Indian in their design, but the legend is only in Greek.

Indo-Greek Kings and their territories
Based on Bopearachchi (1991)
Arachosia Gandhara Western Punjab Eastern Punjab
200–190 BCE Demetrius I DemetriusCoin.jpg
190–180 BCE Agathocles AgathoclesWithAlexander.jpg PantaleonCoin of Greco-Baktrian Kingdom king Pantaleon.jpg
185–170 BCE Antimachus IAntimachusMedaille.jpg
180–160 BCE Apollodotus ICoin of Indo-Greek king Apollodotos I.jpg
175–170 BCE Demetrius II Coin of the Baktrian king Demetrios II.jpg
170–145 BCE EucratidesTetradrachm Eukratides.jpg
160–155 BCE Antimachus IICoin of Antimachus II.jpg
155–130 BCE Menander IMenander Alexandria-Kapisa.jpg
130–120 BCE Zoilos IZoilosI-525.jpg AgathokleiaCoin of Agathokleia.jpg
120–110 BCE Lysias Lysias-150.jpg Strato ICoin of Agathokleia & Strato.jpg
110–100 BCE AntialcidasCoin of Antialcidas.jpg Heliokles IICoin of Heliocles II.jpg
100 BCE PolyxenosCoin of Indo-Greek king Polyxenos.jpg Demetrius IIIDemetrius Aniketou.jpg
100–95 BCE PhiloxenusCoin of Philoxenos.jpg
95–90 BCE DiomedesCoin of Diomedes Soter.jpg Amyntas Coin of Amyntas Nicator.jpg EpanderCoin of Epander.jpg
90 BCE Theophilos Theophilos-634.jpg PeukolaosPeukolaos coin.jpg Thraso
90–85 BCE NiciasCoin of Indo-Greek king Nikias Soter.jpg Menander IICoin of Menander Dikaiou.jpg ArtemidorosCoin of Artimedoros.jpg
90–70 BCE HermaeusHermaeusCoin.jpg ArchebiusCoin of Indo-Greek king Archebios.jpg
Yuezhi tribes Maues (Indo-Scythian)
75–70 BCE Telephos Coin of Telephos.jpg Apollodotus IICoin of Appollodotos II.jpg
65–55 BCE HippostratosCoin of Hippostratos.jpg DionysiosDyonisos coin.jpg
55–35 BCE Azes I (Indo-Scythian) Zoilos IIZoilosIICoin.JPG
55–35 BCE ApollophanesCoin of Apollophanes.jpg
25 BCE – 10 CE Strato II and IIICoin of Strato II.jpg
Rajuvula (Indo-Scythian)



  • "The Greek in Bactria and India", W. W. Tarn, Cambridge University Press
  • "The Decline of the Indo-Greeks", R. C. Senior and D. MacDonald, Hellenistic Numismatic Society
  • "The Indo-Greeks", A. K. Narain, B.R. Publications

External links[edit]

Preceded by:
Euthydemus II
Greco-Bactrian king
185–170 BCE
Succeeded by: