Apollodotus II

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Apollodotus II
Indo-Greek king
Coin of Appollodotos II.jpg
Indo-Greek king Apollodotus II (80–65 BC).
Obv.: Bust of king Apollodotus II. Greek legend ΑΠΟΛΛΟΔΟΤΟΥ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΦΙΛΟΠΑΤΟΡΟΣ "Of Apollodotus the Great, Saviour & Fatherloving King".
Rev.: Athena Alkidemos standing left, thunderbolt in raised right hand, holding out aegis with left arm. Legend in Kharoshthi script Tratarasa Maharajasa Apalatasa "Saviour King Appolodotus".
Reign 80–65 BCE

Apollodotus II (Greek: Ἀπολλόδοτος Β΄), was an Indo-Greek king who ruled in the western and eastern parts of Punjab. Bopearachchi dates him to c. 80–65 BCE, and R. C. Senior to c. 85–65 BCE. Apollodotos II was an important ruler who seems to have re-established the Indo-Greek kingdom to some extent of its former glory. Taxila in western Punjab was reconquered from nomad Scythian rule, and according to Bopearachchi, eastern territory was taken back from Indian kingdoms.

Rule[edit]

Apollodotus II seems to have been a member of the dynasty of Menander I, since he used their typical deity Athena Alkidemos on most of his silver, and also Menander's title Soter (Greek: Σωτήρ, "the Saviour"), on all his coins. On some coins, he also calls himself Philopator (Greek: Φιλοπάτωρ, "the father-loving"), which proves that his father had been king before him. R C Senior guesses that Amyntas or Epander could have been his father.

Apollodotus' reign possibly began in the Punjab, when the Scythian king Maues ruled in Gandhara and its capital Taxila. What probably happened is that Apollodotus II took over Taxila after the death of Maues, though it is uncertain whether he defeated Maues or his descendants, or was allied or related to the dynasty of Maues. The late Indo-Greeks may have been rather mixed with both Indians and Scythians. R C Senior suggests that Apollodotus had struck an alliance with another Scythian king, Azes I.

The Scythian hold of Gandhara loosened after the death of Maues, and petty kings of mixed or uncertain origin, like Artemidorus the son of Maues, Telephus and perhaps Menander II emerged in the area. These kings posed no threat to Apollodotus II, who on some of his coins assumed the title Basileus Megas (Greek: Βασιλεὺς Μέγας, "Great King"), in echo of Maues' boastful title "Great King of Kings".

After the death of Apollodotus II, the Indo-Greek kingdom fragmented once more.

Coins of Apollodotus II[edit]

Indo-Greek king Apollodotus II (80-65 BC).
Obv.: Greek legend reads ΑΠΟΛΛΟΔΟΤΟΥ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΦΙΛΟΠΑΤΟΡΟΣ, "of Apollodotus King Great Saviour and Fatherloving".
Rev.: Legend in Kharoshthi script Tratarasa Maharajasa Apalatasa "Saviour King Appolodotus", with goddess Athena (type of Menander I).

Apollodotus II issued a large number of coins. He struck silver with a diademed portrait on the obverse and a reverse of Athena Alkidemos, and also a unique coin with the reverse of a king, possibly Alexander the Great, sitting on a horned horse similar to Alexander's Bucephalus and holding his hand in a benediction gesture.

He struck bronzes with Apollo/tripod, a type introduced by his namesake Apollodotus I.

The coins of Apollodotus II are of different qualities. Some still have the realistic portraits characteristic of the earlier Indo-Greek coins, and Bopearachchi attributes these series to the western part of his kingdom. Others are badly struck and/or have clumsy and distorted portraits, and these Bopearachchi interprets as belonging to newly opened mints in eastern Punjab, presumably struck by Indian celators with little knowledge of Greek engraving skills.

On some of his coins there are both extra monograms in shape of Kharosthi letters. These monograms are interpreted, which was suggested already by W.W. Tarn, to have belonged to officials with Indian names. The coins therefore indicate that Apollodotus II relied more on his Indian subjects than earlier kings, and also opened new mints in eastern Punjab where Greek presence was scarce.

Overstrikes[edit]

Apollodotus II overstruck a bronze of Maues. Zoilos II overstruck some of the coins of Apollodotus II, as did Azes I.

Indo-Greek Kings and their territories
Based on Bopearachchi (1991)
Territories/
dates
Paropamisade
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)

References[edit]

  • "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 1-58115-203-5
  • "The Greeks in Bactria and India", W.W. Tarn, Cambridge University Press.


External links[edit]

Preceded by:
Indo-Scythian king:
Maues
Indo-Greek Ruler
(Punjab)
80–65 BCE
Succeeded by:
In Western Punjab:
Hippostratos

In Eastern Punjab:
Dionysios