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Ancient Nomos Art is a museum of galleries exhibiting ancient coins and ancient mint maps. The coin gallery displays the diverse art and history of hand-crafted ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian and Medieval coinage. The ancient mints mapping gallery features Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Asia Minor and Medieval mint city regions and territories. Visitor's are welcome to explore, study and enjoy Ancient Nomos Art.

 

Baktrian Kingdom – 200 BC

Demetrios I

From Ancient Galleries

Obverse: Diademed and draped Demetrios I facing right, wearing elephant scalp.
Reverse: Herakles standing facing crowning himself with wreath, club in left hand.

LEGEND SYMBOLS
Obv. Diademed and draped bust of Demetrios I facing right, wearing an elephant scalp headdress; beaded round border. Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ to right, ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟΥ to left, nude Herakles standing facing, crowning himself with a wreath in his right hand and holding club in his left, lion skin draped over left arm; monogram to inner left field.

Few Hellenistic style Greek coins equal the imaginative grandeur of the elephant-scalp tetradrachms created by the Greco-Baktrian King Demetrios I (ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟΣ). Issued shortly after the Baktrian Empires independence from Seleucid control in 255 BC, his coinage conveys powerful leadership over the vast Baktrian territories that extended east of Persia from the Caspian Sea, through the fertile Oxus River valleys to the Indus River. Demetrios I was the son of Baktria’s Euthydemus and succeeded him around 200 BC. His very ambitious rule perpetuated many of Alexander III Greek cultural influences and territorial growth, expanding the Greek world eastward by conquering portions of eastern Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the declining Mauryan Empire of India. This rare tetradrachm coinage reflects the importance of elephant imagery in both Greek and Indian mythology, becoming both an east-west, Greco-India unifying symbol for Demetrios. The elephant-scalp image is also tribute to many animal-adorned portraits of Alexander III. In essence, the head dressed Demetrios now embodies the Alexandrian image of power,  metaphorical sign of strength, and an allusion to wartime success. In addition, by wearing the elephant headdress, Demetrios is also referencing the important role elephant’s played in both military and civilian life. The coin reverse depicts the youthful, naked Heracles posing angular and confident on his rigid right leg. He is seen crowning a laurel wreath onto himself with his right hand as his left arm holds outward a lion skin and upright club resting on the forearm. The Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟΥ, translated as, “Of King Demetrios” is found in the fields flanking Heracles. The monogram to the left of Heracles is the symbol for Merv, indicating the ancient city mint location. (See also Eukratides)

DOCUMENTATION
Value: Tetradrachm. Metal: AR Silver. Weight: 16.89 grams. Mint: Merv. Date: circa 200-185 BC.
Attribution: Bopearachchi 1F; SNG ANS 190; MIG Type 103c; MACW 1632 (monogram variety).

Legend, Documentation and Attribution

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