Coin featuring Azes II (35 BC - 5 AD)
Minted in Saka northeast provinces, Gandhara mint
Circa 1-30 CE
Late 5th century
Diameter: 2.4 cm
Weight: 9.75 grams
Copyright © T. K. Mallon-McCorgray, 1996
This coin dates to the reign of Azes II, successor of Azilises and third King of kings" of the Azes dynasty. Azes II ruled the Indus Valley kingdom of Gandhara, and had two main mints, one in Gandhara and one in Taxila. This coin features Azes II mounted on a horse and holding a whip, a motif that was continued from the reign of Azilises. Coins featuring the image of Pallas Athena on the reverse, such as this one example, are believed to have been struck in the central Gandharan mint.
The inscriptions on the obverse and reverse sides of this coin demonstrate the intention of Saka rulers to both assert the local language as well as retain an association (however tenuous) with the previously dominant Indo-Greek language and culture. On the front side of this coin is a legend written in debased Greek, identifying the portrayed ruler as Basileus basileon megas, or "King of kings." On the reverse side the same inscription is rendered in the local Karosthi script as Rajatiraja mahata.