Agathokleia

For the 3rd century BC mistress of Ptolemy IV Philopator, see Agathoclea.
Agathokleia
Indo-Greek queen
Agathokleia drachm.jpg
Drachm of Agathokleia, with Strato I standing in armour.
Reign 110–100 BCE
Successor Strato I
Coin of Agathokleia.
Obv: Queen Agathokleia in profile.
Rev:: Greek straight bow and arrow container.
Gold coin of Strato I, with the "Divine Agathokleia".

Agathokleia Theotropos (Greek: Ἀγαθόκλεια Θεότροπος; the epithet possibly means the Goddess-like) was an Indo-Greek queen who ruled in parts of northern India in the 2nd-century BC as regent for her son Strato I.

Date and genealogy

The traditional view, introduced by Tarn and defended as late as 1998 by Bopearachchi, is that Agathokleia was the widow of Menander I. In the civil wars after Menander's death, the Indo-Greek empire was divided, with Agathokleia and her young son Strato maintaining themselves in the eastern territories of Gandhara and Punjab.

Coin of Straton and Agotokleia.

The modern view, embraced by R. C. Senior and probably more solid since it is founded on numismatical analyses, suggests that Agathokleia was a later queen, perhaps ruling from 110 BC–100 BC or slightly later. In this case, Agathokleia was likely the widow of another king, possibly Nicias or Theophilus. In either case, Agathokleia was among the first women to rule a Hellenistic Kingdom, in the period following the reign of Alexander the Great.

Some of her subjects may have been reluctant to accept an infant king with a queen regent: unlike the Seleucid and Ptolemaic Kingdoms, almost all Indo-Greek rulers were depicted as grown men. This was probably because the kings were required to command armies, as can be seen on their coins where they are often depicted with helmets and spears. Agathokleia seems to have associated herself with Athena, the goddess of war. Athena was also the dynastic deity of the family of Menander, and Agathokleia's prominent position suggests that she was herself the daughter of a king, though she was probably too late to have been a daughter of the Bactrian king Agathocles.

Coinage

Coin of Strato I and Agathokleia.
Obv: Conjugate busts of Strato and Agathokleia. Greek legend: BASILEOS SOTEROS STRATONOS KAI AGATOKLEIAS "Of Saviour King Strato, and Agathokleia".
Rev: Athena throwing thunderbolt. Kharoshthi legend: MAHARAJASA TRATASARA DHARMIKASA STRATASA "King Strato, Saviour and Just (="of the Dharma")".

The coins of Agathokleia and Strato were all bilingual, and Agathokleia's name appears more often in the Greek legend than in the Indian.

(See Strato I for details of legends.)

Most of Agathokleia's coins were struck jointly with her son Strato, though on their first issues, he is not featured on the portrait.

Silver: Bust of Agathokleia/walking king

Bust of Strato and Agathokleia conjoined/Athena Alkidemos

Bronzes: Bust of either helmeted Athena or Agathokleia as a personification of this goddess/sitting Herakles

The later king Heliokles II overstruck some of Agathokleia's coins.

Indo-Greek Kings, territories and chronology
Based on Bopearachchi (1991)[1]
Greco-Bactrian kings Indo-Greek kings
Territories/
dates
West Bactria East Bactria Paropamisade
Arachosia Gandhara Western Punjab Eastern Punjab
326-325 BCE Campaigns of Alexander the Great in India
312 BCE Creation of the Seleucid Empire
305 BCE Seleucid Empire after Mauryan war
280 BCE Foundation of Ai-Khanoum
255–239 BCE Independence of the
Greco-Bactrian kingdom
Diodotus I
239–223 BCE Diodotus II
230–200 BCE Euthydemus I
200–190 BCE Demetrius I
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
120–110 BCE Lysias Strato I
110–100 BCE Antialcidas Heliokles II
100 BCE Polyxenos Demetrius III
100–95 BCE Philoxenus
95–90 BCE Diomedes Amyntas Epander
90 BCE Theophilos Peukolaos Thraso
90–85 BCE Nicias Menander II Artemidoros
90–70 BCE Hermaeus Archebius
Yuezhi occupation Maues (Indo-Scythian)
75–70 BCE Telephos Apollodotus II
65–55 BCE Hippostratos Dionysios
55–35 BCE Azes I (Indo-Scythian) Zoilos II
55–35 BCE Apollophanes
25 BCE – 10 CE Strato II and III
Rajuvula (Indo-Scythian)

See also

Sources

  • W. W. Tarn. The Greeks in Bactria and India. Third Edition. Cambridge: University Press, 1966.

External links

Preceded by
Menander I
Indo-Greek ruler in Gandhara and Punjab Succeeded by
Strato I
  1. ^ O. Bopearachchi, "Monnaies gréco-bactriennes et indo-grecques, Catalogue raisonné", Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1991, p.453