Description:The ancient Indo-Greek Kingdom of Bactria was founded in the mid 3rd century BC in the region of modern day Afghanistan, 75 years after the conquests here of Alexander the Great. In the first century BC, King Azes II expanded this territory and ruled as far south as Northern India. The Greco-Bactrians were known for their high level of sophistication and their cities had all the hallmarks of Hellenistic society, including Greek theaters, gymnasiums and some Greek houses with colonnaded courtyards. During the two centuries of their rule, the Indo-Greek Kings combined the Greek and Indian languages, as seen on this coin, and blended ancient Greek, Hindu and Buddhist religious practices.
The obverse of this 1st century BC coin features King Azes II on horse, holding a scepter, with a Greek royal headband and the Greek legend "The Great King of Kings Azes." Azes II is connected to the Bimaran casket, one of the earliest representations of the Buddha, where several of his coins were discovered. The reverse of this coin shows the goddess Athena, as the king's protector, with a shield and lance. Athena was revered to the ancient Greek people and was the goddess of wisdom, peace, warfare, strategy and reason. She was known to be a shrewd companion of heroes and was also the goddess of heroic endeavor. Athena appears in Greek mythology as a helper of many heroes, including Odysseus, Jason and Hercules.