Azes I

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Azes I
Indo-Scythian king
Coin of Azes I.jpg
Coin of Azes I.
Obv: Azes I in military dress, on a horse, with couched spear. Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΑΖΟΥ "of the Great King of Kings Azes". British Museum.
Reignc. 48/47 – 25 BCE
Predecessor Spalirises
Successor Azilises

Azes I (Greek: Ἄζης; c. 48/47 BCE – 25 BCE) [1] was an Indo-Scythian ruler who completed the domination of the Scythians in northern India.



Coin of Azes with Demeter and Hermes. Whitehead Coins of the Punjab Museum Plate XI Azes Demeter and Hermes.jpg
Coin of Azes with Demeter and Hermes.

Maues and his successors had conquered the areas of Gandhara, as well as the area of Mathura from 85 BCE forming the Northern Satraps.

The Azes Era

Azes's most lasting legacy was the foundation of the Azes era. It was widely believed that the era was begun by Azes's successors by simply continuing the counting of his regnal years. However, Prof. Harry Falk has recently presented an inscription at several conferences which dates to Azes's reign, and suggests that the era may have been begun by Azes himself. Most popular historians date the start of the Azes era to 58 BC and believe it is the same as the later era known as the Malwa or Vikrama era. [2]

However, a recently discovered inscription, the Bajaur reliquary inscription, dated in both the Azes and the Greek era suggests that actually this is not the case. The inscription gives the relationship Azes = Greek + 128. It is believed that the Greek era may have begun in 173 BCE, exactly 300 years before the first year of the Era of Kanishka. If that is the case then the Azes era would begin in about 45 BC. [3]

Azes I and Azes II identical?

According to Senior, Azes I may have been identical with Azes II, due to the discovery of an overstrike of the former over the latter. [4]

See also


  1. Falk and Bennett (2009), pp. 197–215.
  2. Richard Salomon (1998). Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the Other Indo-Aryan Languages. Oxford University Press. pp. 182–183, 194–195. ISBN   978-0-19-509984-3.
  3. For discussions refer to Bracey, R. (2005) 'The Azes Era' (, Cribb, J (2005) 'The Greek Kingdom of Bactria, its coinage and collapse' in Afghanistan, Ancien Carrefour entre l'est et l'ouest (ed. Bopearachichi O & Boussac, M-F), Turnhout: 207–225, Falk, H. & C. J. Bennett 'Macedonian Intercalary Months and the Era of Azes' Acta Orientalia 70 (2009) 197–216
  4. Coin India

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Preceded by
(Indo-Scythian king)
Indo-Scythian Ruler
57 – 35 BCE
Succeeded by
Preceded by
(Indo-Greek king in
Arachosia and Gandhara)
Preceded by
(Indo-Greek king in
Western Punjab)