Nicias (Indo-Greek king)

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Nicias
Indo-Greek king
Nikias portrait.jpg
Portrait of Nicias as a young king.
Reign 90–85 BCE
Coin of king Nicias (c. 90–85 BCE)
Obv: Bust of Nicias with Greek legend BASILEOS SOTEROS NIKIOU "Of Saviour King Nicias".
Rev: King in armour, holding a palm of victory in his left hand, and making a gesture of benediction with his right hand, similar to the Buddhist vitarka mudra. Kharoshti legend MAHARAJA TRATARASA NIKIASA "Saviour King Nicias".

Nicias (Greek: Νικίας) was an Indo-Greek king who ruled in the Paropamisade. Most of his relatively few coins have been found in northern Pakistan, indicating that he ruled a smaller principate around the lower Kabul valley. He was possibly a relative of Menander I.

Time of reign[edit]

Bopearachchi suggests that Nikias ruled c. 90–85 BCE. This late date is supported by the absence of Attic coins (see below).

R. C. Senior on the other hand places him as a successor of Menander, c. 135–125 BCE, according to his interpretation of hoard findings.

Regardless of which period is correct, the fact that Nicias ages visibly on his coins seems to indicate some longevity to his rule.

The coinage of Nicias[edit]

Coin of Nicias, with king making a benediction gesture (obverse).

Nicias struck Indian silver drachms of diademed or helmeted king with three reverses:

  • A walking king, as seen above right, found on several drachms.
  • An en face version of Menander's Athena with thunderbolt is found on a unique tetradrachm.
  • The third reverse is the type king on a prancing horse, as used by Antimachus II found on a single drachm.

His bronzes feature Zeus/dolphin or portrait / king on prancing horse. Some varieties are crude with lunate sigmas and square omicrons. Even though Nikias ruled in the western parts of the Indo-Greek realm, no Attic coins have been found.

His monograms generally match those of the kings Theophilus and Philoxenus, though one is shared with Thrason, the short-lived son of Menander I.

Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kings, territories and chronology
Based on Bopearachchi (1991)[1]
Greco-Bactrian kings Indo-Greek kings
Territories/
dates
West Bactria East Bactria Paropamisade
Arachosia Gandhara Western Punjab Eastern Punjab Mathura[2]
326-325 BCE Campaigns of Alexander the Great in India Nanda Empire
312 BCE Creation of the Seleucid Empire Creation of the Maurya Empire
305 BCE Seleucid Empire after Mauryan war Maurya Empire
280 BCE Foundation of Ai-Khanoum
255–239 BCE Independence of the
Greco-Bactrian kingdom
Diodotus I
239–223 BCE Diodotus II
230–200 BCE Euthydemus I
200–190 BCE Demetrius I Sunga Empire
190-185 BCE Euthydemus II
190–180 BCE Agathocles Pantaleon
185–170 BCE Antimachus I
180–160 BCE Apollodotus I
175–170 BCE Demetrius II
160–155 BCE Antimachus II
170–145 BCE Eucratides I
155–130 BCE Yuezhi occupation,
loss of Ai-Khanoum
Eucratides II
Plato
Heliocles I
Menander I
130–120 BCE Yuezhi occupation Zoilos I Agathokleia
120–110 BCE Lysias Strato I
110–100 BCE Antialcidas Heliokles II
100 BCE Polyxenos Demetrius III
100–95 BCE Philoxenus
95–90 BCE Diomedes Amyntas Epander
90 BCE Theophilos Peukolaos Thraso
90–85 BCE Nicias Menander II Artemidoros
90–70 BCE Hermaeus Archebius
Yuezhi occupation Maues (Indo-Scythian)
75–70 BCE Vonones Telephos Apollodotus II
65–55 BCE Spalirises Hippostratos Dionysios
55–35 BCE Azes I (Indo-Scythians) Zoilos II
55–35 BCE Vijayamitra/ Azilises Apollophanes
25 BCE – 10 CE Gondophares Zeionises Kharahostes Strato II
Strato III
Gondophares (Indo-Parthian) Rajuvula (Indo-Scythian)
Kujula Kadphises (Kushan Empire) Bhadayasa (Indo-Scythian)

See also[edit]

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
Theophilos
Indo-Greek ruler in Paropamisadae
90–85 BCE
Succeeded by
Hermaeus
  1. ^ O. Bopearachchi, "Monnaies gréco-bactriennes et indo-grecques, Catalogue raisonné", Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1991, p.453
  2. ^ History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE, Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, BRILL, 2007, p.9 [1]