Nicias (Indo-Greek king)

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Indo-Greek king
Coin of Indo-Greek king Nikias Soter.jpg
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".
Reign 90–85 BCE

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 ca. 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, ca. 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]

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.

Based on Bopearachchi (1991)
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 ArchebiosCoin 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 & III Coin of Strato II.jpg
Rajuvula (Indo-Scythian)

See also[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-Greek ruler in Paropamisadae
90–85 BCE
Succeeded by