The Info List - Eucratides

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Eucratides I
Eucratides I
(Greek: Εὐκρατίδης Α΄; reigned c. 171–145 BC), sometimes called Eucratides the Great, was one of the most important Greco-Bactrian
kings, descendants of dignitaries of Alexander the Great. He uprooted the Euthydemid dynasty of Greco-Bactrian
kings and replaced it with his own lineage. He fought against the Indo-Greek
kings, the easternmost Hellenistic rulers in northwestern India, temporarily holding territory as far as the Indus, until he was finally defeated and pushed back to Bactria. Eucratides had a vast and prestigious coinage, suggesting a rule of considerable importance.


1 Biography

1.1 Coup d'état 1.2 Death

2 Sources 3 See also 4 Notes 5 References 6 External links

Biography[edit] Coup d'état[edit]

Silver tetradrachm of King Eucratides I
Eucratides I
(171–145 BC) Obv: Bust of Eucratides, helmet decorated with a bull's horn and ear, within bead and reel border. Rev: Depiction of the Dioscuri, each holding palm in left hand, spear in righthand. Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΕΥΚΡΑΤΙΔΟΥ (BASILEŌS MEGALOU EUKRATIDOU) "Of Great King Eucratides". Mint monogram below. Characteristics: Diameter 34 mm. Weight 16.96 g. Attic standard. One of the largest Hellenic coins ever minted.

Eucratides came to the throne by overthrowing the dynasty of Euthydemus I
Euthydemus I
in Bactria, whose son Demetrius was conquering northwestern India. The king whom Eucratides dethroned in Bactria
was probably Antimachus I. It is unclear whether Eucratides was a Bactrian official who raised a rebellion, or, according to some scholars,[1] a cousin of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
who was trying to regain the Bactrian territory. Justin explains that Eucratides acceded to the throne at about the same time as Mithridates, whose rule is accurately known to have started in 171 BC, thereby giving an approximate date for the accession of Eucratides:

"Around the same time, two great men started to rule: Mithridates among the Parthians, and Eucratides among the Bactrians" Justin XLI,6 [2]

Some of the coins of Eucratides probably represent his parents, where his father is named Heliocles, and his mother, who is thought to be Laodice,[3] is wearing a royal diadem. Laodice may have been a member of the Seleucid imperial house.

Bilingual coin of Eucratides in the Indian standard (Greek on the obverse, Pali
in the Kharoshthi
script on the reverse).

Having become master of Bactria, Eucratides also conquered the western parts of the Indo-Greek
kingdom. According to the single remaining source, Roman historian Justin, Eucratides defeated Demetrius of India, but the identity of this king is uncertain: he could be either Demetrius I, or Demetrius II.

"Eucratides led many wars with great courage, and, while weakened by them, was put under siege by Demetrius, king of the Indians. He made numerous sorties, and managed to vanquish 60,000 enemies with 300 soldiers, and thus liberated after four months, he put India
under his rule" Justin XLI,6 [4]

Numismatic evidence suggests that Eucratides I
Eucratides I
was a contemporary of the Indo-Greek
kings Apollodotus I, Antimachus II
Antimachus II
and Menander I. In any case, Eucratides' advances into India
are proved by his abundant bilingual coinage. In the west the Parthian king Mithradates I
Mithradates I
began to enlarge his kingdom and attacked Eucratides; the city of Herat fell in 167 BC and the Parthians succeeded in conquering two provinces between Bactria
and Parthia, called by Strabo
the country of Aspiones and Turiua. Eucratides I
Eucratides I
is most likely the founder of Eucratideia. The seal of Da Afghanistan Bank
Da Afghanistan Bank
features a Eucratides I-era coin. Death[edit]

Coin of Eucratides with parents Heliokles and Laodike.

The coinage of Eucratides has been used in the design of some Afghanistan banknotes between 1979-2002, and is now in the emblem of the Bank of Afghanistan.

Justin ends his account of Eucratides' life by claiming that the warlike king was murdered on his way back from India
by his own son (either Eucratides II
Eucratides II
or Heliocles
I, although there are speculations that it could be his enemy's son Demetrius II), who hated his father so much that he dragged his dead body after his chariot:

"As Eucratides returned from India, he was killed on the way back by his son, whom he had associated to his rule, and who, without hiding his patricide, as if he didn't kill a father but an enemy, ran with his chariot over the blood of his father, and ordered the corpse to be left without a sepulture" Justin XLI,6 [5]

The murder of Eucratides probably brought about a civil war amongst the members of the dynasty. The successors to Eucratides were Eucratides II
Eucratides II
and Heliocles I
Heliocles I
(145–130 BC), who was the last Greek king to reign in Bactria. Once the Yuezhi
tribes overpowered Heliocles, the Greco-Bactrians lost control of the provinces north of the Hindu Kush. Two other members of the dynasty were Plato of Bactria
and probably Demetrius II, who in that case was not identical with the king Justin claimed was the enemy of Eucratides I.[6] The rule of the Greco-Bactrians soon crumbled following these numerous wars:

"The Bactrians, involved in various wars, lost not only their rule but also their freedom, as, exhausted by their wars against the Sogdians, the Arachotes, the Dranges, the Arians and the Indians, they were finally crushed, as if drawn of all their blood, by an enemy weaker than them, the Parthians." Justin, XLI,6 [5]

However, the rule of the Indo-Greeks
over territories south of the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
lasted for a further 150 years, ultimately collapsing under the pressure of the Yüeh-chih and Scythian (Saka) invasions in around 10 BC, with the last Indo-Greek
ruler Strato II. Sources[edit]

Coin of Eucratides, holding a spear.

Eukratides I, imitation by the Scythians
of Merv.

Eucratides I, Scythian imitation, end of 2nd century BCE.

Full account of Justin on Eucratides:

"Almost at the same time that Mithridates ascended the throne among the Parthians, Eucratides began to reign among the Bactrians; both of them being great men. But the fortune of the Parthians, being the more successful, raised them, under this prince, to the highest degree of power; while the Bactrians, harassed with various wars, lost not only their dominions, but their liberty; for having suffered from contentions with the Sogdians, the Drangians, and the Indians, they were at last overcome, as if exhausted, by the weaker Parthians. Eucratides, however, carried on several wars with great spirit, and though much reduced by his losses in them, yet, when he was besieged by Demetrius king of the Indians, with a garrison of only three hundred soldiers, he repulsed, by continual sallies, a force of sixty thousand enemies. Having accordingly escaped, after a five months’ siege, he reduced India
under his power. But as he was returning from the country, he was killed on his march by his son, with whom he had shared his throne, and who was so far from concealing the murder, that, as if he had killed an enemy, and not his father, he drove his chariot through his blood, and ordered his body to be cast out unburied." — Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, XLI 6.1-5, IIe CE.[7]

and Indo-Greek
kings, territories and chronology Based on Bopearachchi

kings Indo-Greek

Territories/ dates West Bactria East Bactria Paropamisade Arachosia Gandhara Western Punjab Eastern Punjab Mathura[9]

326-325 BCE Campaigns of Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
in India Nanda Empire

312 BCE Creation of the Seleucid Empire Creation of the Maurya Empire

305 BCE Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
after Mauryan war Maurya Empire

280 BCE Foundation of Ai-Khanoum

255–239 BCE Independence of the Greco-Bactrian
kingdom Diodotus I Emperor Ashoka

239–223 BCE Diodotus II

230–200 BCE Euthydemus I

200–190 BCE Demetrius I Sunga Empire

190-185 BCE Euthydemus II

190–180 BCE Agathocles Pantaleon

185–170 BCE Antimachus I

180–160 BCE

Apollodotus I

175–170 BCE Demetrius II

160–155 BCE

Antimachus II

170–145 BCE Eucratides I

155–130 BCE Yuezhi
occupation, loss of Ai-Khanoum Eucratides II Plato Heliocles
I Menander I

130–120 BCE Yuezhi
occupation Zoilos I Agathokleia

Yavanarajya inscription

120–110 BCE

Lysias Strato I

110–100 BCE

Antialcidas Heliokles II

100 BCE

Polyxenos Demetrius III

100–95 BCE


95–90 BCE

Diomedes Amyntas Epander

90 BCE

Theophilos Peukolaos Thraso

90–85 BCE

Nicias Menander II Artemidoros

90–70 BCE

Hermaeus Archebius

occupation Maues

75–70 BCE

Vonones Telephos Apollodotus II

65–55 BCE

Spalirises Hippostratos Dionysios

55–35 BCE

Azes I
Azes I
(Indo-Scythians) Zoilos II

55–35 BCE

Vijayamitra/ Azilises Apollophanes

25 BCE – 10 CE

Gondophares Zeionises Kharahostes Strato II Strato III

(Indo-Parthian) Rajuvula

Kujula Kadphises
Kujula Kadphises
(Kushan Empire) Bhadayasa (Indo-Scythian) Sodasa (Indo-Scythian)

See also[edit]



^ Tarn ^ "Eodem ferme tempore, sicut in Parthis Mithridates, ita in Bactris Eucratides, magni uterque uiri regna ineunt." tml Justin XLI,6[permanent dead link] ^ Astin, A. E. (1990). The Cambridge Ancient History. Cambridge University Press. p. 401. ISBN 978-0-521-23448-1.  ^ Justin on Demetrius: "Multa tamen Eucratides bella magna uirtute gessit, quibus adtritus cum obsidionem Demetrii, regis Indorum, pateretur, cum CCC militibus LX milia hostium adsiduis eruptionibus uicit. Quinto itaque mense liberatus Indiam in potestatem redegit." Justin XLI,6 ^ a b Justin XLI,6 ^ "Demetrios II of Bactria
and Hoards from Ai Khanoum" by L.M. Wilson (Oriental Numismatic Society newsletter nr 180) ^ Translation: John Selby Watson 1853 ^ O. Bopearachchi, "Monnaies gréco-bactriennes et indo-grecques, Catalogue raisonné", Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1991, p.453 ^ History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE, Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, BRILL, 2007, p.9 [1]


The Shape of Ancient Thought. Comparative studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies by Thomas McEvilley (Allworth Press and the School of Visual Arts, 2002) ISBN 1-58115-203-5 Buddhism in Central Asia by B. N. Puri (Motilal Banarsidass Pub, January 1, 2000) ISBN 81-208-0372-8 The Greeks in Bactria
and India, W. W. Tarn, Cambridge University Press.

External links[edit]

has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Eucratides.

Coins of Eucratides More coins of Eucratides Catalogue of the Coins of Eucratides I

Preceded by: Demetrius and his sub-kings:

(in Bactria) Antimachus I Demetrius II

(In the Paropamisade, Arachosia, Gandhara) Apollodotus I Antimachus II Greco-Bactrian
Ruler (Bactria, Paropamisade, Arachosia, Gandhara) 171–145 BC Succeeded by: (In Bactria) Eucratides II Plato Heliocles

(In Paropamisade, Arachosia, Gandhara) Menander I

v t e

Hellenistic rulers


Philip II Alexander III the Great Philip III Arrhidaeus Alexander IV


Antigonus I Monophthalmus Demetrius I Poliorcetes Antigonus II Gonatas Demetrius II Aetolicus Antigonus III Doson Philip V Perseus Philip VI (pretender)


Ptolemy I Soter Ptolemy Keraunos Ptolemy II Philadelphus Ptolemy III Euergetes Ptolemy IV Philopator Ptolemy V Epiphanes Cleopatra I Syra
Cleopatra I Syra
(regent) Ptolemy VI Philometor Ptolemy VII Neos Philopator Cleopatra
II Philometor Soter Ptolemy VIII Physcon Cleopatra
III Ptolemy IX Lathyros Ptolemy X Alexander Berenice III Ptolemy XI Alexander Ptolemy XII Auletes Cleopatra
VI Tryphaena Berenice IV Epiphanea Ptolemy XIII Ptolemy XIV Cleopatra
VII Philopator Ptolemy XV Caesarion

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Magas Demetrius the Fair Ptolemy VIII Physcon Ptolemy Apion


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Lysimachus Ptolemy Epigonos


Cassander Philip IV Alexander V Antipater II Antipater Etesias Sosthenes


Philetaerus Eumenes I Attalus I Eumenes II Attalus II Attalus III Eumenes III


Diodotus I Diodotus II Euthydemus I Demetrius I Euthydemus II Antimachus I Pantaleon Agathocles Demetrius II Eucratides I Plato Eucratides II Heliocles


Demetrius I Antimachus I Pantaleon Agathocles Apollodotus I Demetrius II Antimachus II Menander I Zoilos I Agathokleia Lysias Strato I Antialcidas Heliokles II Polyxenos Demetrius III Philoxenus Diomedes Amyntas Epander Theophilos Peukolaos Thraso Nicias Menander II Artemidoros Hermaeus Archebius Telephos Apollodotus II Hippostratos Dionysios Zoilos II Apollophanes Strato II Strato III

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 10644