Coin of King Azes an Indo-Scythian ruler – founder of the Vikrama era and ruler of Punjab and the Indus valley..

Indian Vikrama era of 58/57 BCE is now generally thought to mark the accession of King Azes I.

By: - Created: April 17, 2020

Ancient Parthia corresponds to Khurasan, and the adjoining area southeast of the Caspian Sea, and the people of this area were known as Parthians or Pahlavas.

The term Shaka-Pahlava or Scytho-Parthian is used for different groups of invaders who came from Parthia into northwest India in the 1st century BCE.

The history of Scytho-Parthian or Indo-Scythians rule in India is known largely through inscriptions and coins.

An inscription found at Taxila mentions a Shaka king named Moga and his Kshatrapa. Moga is identified with Maues, whose name appears on several copper and silver coins, which are similar to those issued by the Indo-Greeks.

One series of silver coins show, the Greek god Zeus with a sceptre in his left hand, with Nike, goddess of victory, on his right palm.

Other groups of Scytho-Parthian or Indo-Skythians kings known from their coins include Spalirises, Vonones, Azes I, Azilises, and Azes II.

Some coins suggest the practice of conjoint rule. Azes I and Spalirises seem to have been co-rulers for a time, as were Azes I and Azilises.

The Vikrama era (58 BC) is said in the Jain book Kālakācāryakathā to have been founded after a victory of King Vikramaditya over the Saka. However this Vikrama era of 58/57 BCE is now generally thought to mark the accession of Azes I.

Azes I seems to have extended his control into the northwest of the Indian subcontinent. He successfully annexed the territory in northern India of the last of the Indo-Greek king Hippostratos.

Silver coins of Azes I and Azilises, especially of the former, are abundant. As on Maues’ coinage, Greek gods and goddesses, Zeus, Herakles, Pallas and Poseidon, appear on both silver and copper of these two kings, but now interestingly, for the first time an Indian goddess, Lakshmi, is introduced.

Azilises was followed by King Azes II. The main difference between the coins of Azes I and Azes II is that on the mounted king types, Azes I has his right arm back, holding his spear or lance, while Azes II has his right arm raised high, holding a whip.

According to Robert Senior however, Azes I may have been identical with Azes II.

The coin above is of King Azes. Circa 58-12 BC. AR Tetradrachm (25mm, 9.61 g, 12h). Azes left on horseback / Athena standing right, raising hand and holding spear and shield; monogram to left; second monogram to right.


The coin is written in Greek language in Greek script, and Prakrit in Kharosthi script, hence it is a bilingual coin.

Translated from ancient Greek: King of kings great Azes. The same on the reverse in Kharosthi script.

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