From:Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities
Name/TitleCoin, silver drachm, Menander
About this objectThis drachm, roughly worth a day’s wage for a skilled worker in the ancient Greek world, breaks tradition by presenting inscriptions on both sides of the coin. The inscriptions read “Saviour King Menander” on both sides: in Greek script on the obverse and Karosthi, an ancient Indian script, on the reverse.
King Menander I was born from descendants of Alexander the Great’s troops and ran a substantial empire across the Indian subcontinent. His epithet, Soter (meaning “saviour”), was a title that he adopted for himself during his reign. Accounts suggest that he was a favourable king, becoming a patron of Buddhism and handing over his kingdom to his son before his death. The Greek historian Plutarch notes that the city states under Menander’s rule agreed to divide his bodily remains among themselves and erect honorary monuments of him in their respective cities.
The obverse side features the bust of Menander, wearing a helmet, while the reverse shows a figure, Pallas, striding left in the role of 'promachos' ('front fighter'), wearing a helmet and an aegis, and holding a fulmen (lightning bolt).
Date MadeMid 2nd Century BC
Place MadeMiddle East
Medium and MaterialsMetal; Silver
Inscription and MarksGreek inscription of obverse: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΜΕΝΑΝΔΡΟΥ (BASILEŌS SOTEROS MENANDROU). Kharosthi inscription on obverse: 'Maharajasa tratarasa Menadrasa'. Mint mark also on obverse.
Diameter ca. 17mm
Subject and Association KeywordsInscriptions, Greek
Subject and Association KeywordsArt and mythology
Subject and Association KeywordsKings and rulers in art
Subject and Association KeywordsClothing and dress
Named CollectionThe James Logie Memorial Collection, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Credit LineDonated by M. K. Steven
Object TypeExchange Media
Copyright LicenceAll rights reserved