Zoilos II

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Zoilos II Soter ("The Saviour")
Indo-Greek king
Coin of king Zoilos II (55–35 BCE).
Obv: Bust of Zoilos II with Greek legend ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΖΩΙΛΟΥ (BASILEOS SOTEROS ZOILOU) "Of King Zoilos the Saviour".
Rev: Athena advancing left, with thunderbolt and shield covered with aegis (type of Menander I). Kharosthi legend: MAHARAJASA TRATARASA JHOILASA "King Zoilos the Saviour".
Reign 55–35 BCE

Zoilos II Soter (Greek: Ζωίλος Β΄ ὁ Σωτήρ; epithet means "the Saviour") was an Indo-Greek king who ruled in eastern Punjab. Bopearachchi dates his reign to c. 55–35 BCE, a date approximately supported by R. C. Senior.


He seems to have been one of the rulers who succeeded the last important Indo-Greek king Apollodotus II the Great in the eastern parts of his former kingdom. All these kings use the same symbol as Apollodotus II, the fighting Pallas Athene introduced by Menander I, and usually also the same epithet Soter (Saviour). It is therefore possible that they belonged to the same dynasty, and Zoilus II could also have been related to the earlier king Zoilus I, but the lack of written sources make all such conjections uncertain. He may have been the Bactrian ally of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) and Cleopatra VII referred to by Virgil in his vision of the Battle of Actium in The Aeneid, Bk.VIII, 688: Hinc ope barbarica variisque Antonius armis, victor ab Aurorae populis et litore rubro, Aegyptum viresque Orientis et ultima secum Bactra vehit. (Antony, with barbarous wealth and strange weapons, conqueror of eastern peoples and the Indian shores, bringing Egypt, and the might of the Orient, with him, and furthest Bactria).[1]

Coins of Zoilus II[edit]

Zoilos II issued silver drachms with diademed portrait and Pallas Athene in rather crude style, and two sorts of bronzes in various denominations: "Apollo, with tripod and small elephant", and "Elephant and tripod".


Coin of Zoilos II.

Many of the (monograms) on the coins of Zoilos II are in Kharoshti, indicating that they were probably made by an Indian moneyer. This is a characteristic of several of the Indo-Greek kings of the eastern Punjab, such as Strato I, Apollodotus II, and sometimes Apollophanes and Dionysios. Furthermore, the monogram is often identical on their coins, indicating that the moneyer, or the place of mint, were the same.

The coins of Zoilos II combine Greek monograms with Kharoshthi ones, indicating that some of the celators may have been native Indians. The Kharoshthi monograms are the letters for: sti, ji, ra, ga, gri, ha, stri, ri, bu, a, di, stra, and śi. The "Apollo and tripod" and "Elephant and tripod" types only have Kharoshthi monograms, while the portrait types usually have combinations of Greek and Kharoshthi monograms.


The coins of Zoilos II have been found in the Sutlej and Sialkot II hoards, and in Punjab hoards east in the Jhelum (Bopearachchi, p138).

Also, coins of Zoilos II were found under the foundation of 1st century BCE rectangular chapel in the monastery of Dharmarajika, near Taxila (John Marshall, "Taxila, Archaeological excavations", p. 248.)

Two coins of Zoilos II were also found in the Bara hoard near Peshawar, together with coins of the Indo-Scythian kings Azes I, Azilises, Azes II.[2]


A coin of Zoilus II was overstruck on a coin of Apollodotus II.

Preceded by:
Indo-Greek Ruler
(Eastern Punjab)
55–35 BCE
Succeeded by:
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 IApollodotosi.jpg
175–170 BCE Demetrius II Demetriosii.jpg
170–145 BCE EucratidesTetradrachm Eukratides.jpg
160–155 BCE Antimachus IIAnimachusii(2).jpg
155–130 BCE Menander IMenander Alexandria-Kapisa.jpg
130–120 BCE Zoilos IZoilosI-525.jpg AgathokleiaAgathokleia.jpg
120–110 BCE Lysias Lysias-150.jpg Strato IAgathokleia&Strato.jpg
110–100 BCE AntialcidasAntialcidas.JPG Heliokles IIHelioclesii.jpg
100 BCE PolyxenosPolyxenos.jpg Demetrius IIIDemetrius Aniketou.jpg
100–95 BCE PhiloxenusPhiloxenos.jpg
95–90 BCE DiomedesDiomedes2.jpg Amyntas Amyntas.jpg EpanderEpander.jpg
90 BCE Theophilos Theophilos-634.jpg PeukolaosPeukolaos coin.jpg Thraso
90–85 BCE NiciasNikias.jpg Menander IIMenanderDikaiou.jpg ArtemidorosArtimedoros.jpg
90–70 BCE HermaeusHermaeusCoin.jpg ArchebiosArchebios229.jpg
Yuezhi tribes Maues (Indo-Scythian)
75–70 BCE Telephos Telephos.jpg Apollodotus IIAppollodotosii.jpg
65–55 BCE HippostratosHippostratos.jpg DionysiosDyonisos coin.jpg
55–35 BCE Azes I (Indo-Scythian) Zoilos IIZoilosIICoin.JPG
55–35 BCE ApollophanesApollophanes.jpg
25 BCE – 10 CE Strato II & III Stratoii.jpg
Rajuvula (Indo-Scythian)


  1. ^ Francis Henry Skrine and Edward Denison Ross, The Heart of Asia: A History of Russian Turkestan and the Central Asian Khanates from the Earliest Times, by London, Methuen, 1899, p.19; E. Drouin, “Bactriane”, La Grande Encyclopédie: Inventaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Lettres et des Arts, Paris, Lamirault, 1885-1902, Tome 4, pp.1115-1122, nb 1118.
  2. ^ Reference

See also[edit]


  • "The Greeks in Bactria and India", W.W. Tarn, Cambridge University Press.
  • "Coins of the Indo-Greeks", Whitehead.