Zoilos I

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Zoilos I Dikaios ("The Just")
Zoilos I portrait.jpg
Portrait of Zoilos I.
Indo-Greek king
Reign130–120 BCE
Coin of Zoilos I. Zoilos I the Just bilingual coin.jpg
Coin of Zoilos I.

Zoilus I Dikaios (Greek: Ζωΐλος Α΄ ὁ Δίκαιος; epithet means "the Just") was an Indo-Greek king who ruled in Afghanistan and Pakistan and occupied the areas of the Paropamisade and Arachosia previously held by Menander I. He may have belonged to the dynasty of Euthydemus I.

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

An epithet is a byname, or a descriptive term, accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, divinities, objects, and binomial nomenclature. It can also be a descriptive title: for example, Pallas Athena, Alfred the Great, Suleiman the Magnificent or Władysław I the Elbow-high.

Indo-Greek Kingdom Hellenistic kingdom, covered parts of norwest Indian subcontinent during the two last centuries BC

The Indo-Greek Kingdom or Graeco-Indian Kingdom was a Hellenistic kingdom spanning modern-day Afghanistan, into the classical circumscriptions of the Punjab of the Indian subcontinent, during the last two centuries BC and was ruled by more than thirty kings, often conflicting with one another.


Time of reign

Zoilos used to be dated after the death of Menander, c. 130–120 BCE (Bopearachchi). Two coins of Zoilus I were however overstruck by Menander I [1] so Zoilos came to power while Menander was still alive and was perhaps his enemy. R. C. Senior has suggested some time between 150–135 BCE.

Coin types of Zoilos I

Coin of Zoilos I symbolizing on the reverse the victorious alliance of the Heraklean club and the Scythian bow. Zoilos I coin alliance of the Heraklean club and the Scythian bow.jpg
Coin of Zoilos I symbolizing on the reverse the victorious alliance of the Heraklean club and the Scythian bow.

Zoilos I uses a silver coin type similar to that of Euthydemus II, son of Demetrius: Crowned Herakles standing, holding a wreath or diadem in his right hand, and a club and the lion skin in his left hand. On some of the coins, which are of lower artistic quality, Herakles is crowned by a small Nike. Zoilos I also struck rare gold-plated silver coins with portrait and Heracles.

Euthydemus II

Euthydemus II was Graeco-Bactrian king; the son of Demetrius I of Bactria, he became king in the 180s BCE, either after his father's death or as a sub-king to him. The style and rare nickel alloys of his coins associates him closely in time with the king Agathocles but their precise relation remains uncertain. Euthydemus is pictured as a boy on his coins and most likely died very young.

Demetrius I of Bactria Greco-Bactrian king

Demetrius I, also called Dharmamita, was a Hellenistic king of Gandhara. He was the son of the Greco-Bactrian ruler Euthydemus I and succeeded him around 200 BC, after which he conquered extensive areas in what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Indian-standard coins of Zoilos I also bear the Pali title "Dhramikasa" ("Follower of the Dharma"), probably related to Buddhism, appearing for the first time on Indo-Greek coinage. A few monolingual Attic tetradrachms of Zoilos I have been found. Zoilos inherited (or took) several monograms from Menander I.

Dharma Key concept in Indian philosophy and Eastern religions, with multiple meanings

Dharma is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and others. There is no single-word translation for dharma in Western languages.

Buddhism World religion, founded by the Buddha

Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. It originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana.

His bronze coins are square and original in that they combine the club of Herakles with a Scythian-type bowcase (for a short recurve bow) inside a victory wreath, suggesting contacts or even an alliance with horse-mounted people originating from the steppes, possibly either the Scythians (future Indo-Scythians), or the Yuezhi who had invaded Greco-Bactria. This bow can be contrasted to the traditional Hellenistic long bow depicted on the coins of the eastern Indo-Greek queen Agathokleia.

A recurve bow is a bow with limbs that curve away from the archer when unstrung. A recurve bow stores more energy and delivers energy more efficiently than the equivalent straight-limbed bow, giving a greater amount of energy and speed to the arrow. A recurve will permit a shorter bow than the simple straight limb bow for a given arrow energy and this form was often preferred by archers in environments where long weapons could be cumbersome, such as in brush and forest terrain, or while on horseback.

Indo-Scythians former country

Indo-Scythians were a group of nomadic Iranian peoples of Saka and Scythian origin who migrated southward into western and northern South Asia from the middle of the 2nd century BC to the 4th century AD.

Yuezhi ethnic group

The Yuezhi were an ancient Indo-European people first described in Chinese histories as nomadic pastoralists living in an arid grassland area in the western part of the modern Chinese province of Gansu, during the 1st millennium BC. After a major defeat by the Xiongnu in 176 BC, the Yuezhi split into two groups migrating in different directions: the Greater Yuezhi and Lesser Yuezhi.

Nike (mythology) goddess of victory in Greek mythology

In ancient Greek religion, Nike was a goddess who personified victory. Her Roman equivalent was Victoria.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Art museum in New York City, New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially "the Met", is the largest art museum in the United States. With 6,953,927 visitors to its three locations in 2018, it was the third most visited art museum in the world. Its permanent collection contains over two million works, divided among seventeen curatorial departments. The main building, on the eastern edge of Central Park along Museum Mile in Manhattan's Upper East Side is by area one of the world's largest art galleries. A much smaller second location, The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, contains an extensive collection of art, architecture, and artifacts from Medieval Europe. On March 18, 2016, the museum opened the Met Breuer museum at Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side; it extends the museum's modern and contemporary art program.

See also


  1. Senior R.C., MacDonald, D.: The Decline of the Indo-Greeks, Monographs of the Hellenic Numismatic Society, Athens (1998)

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Preceded by
Indo-Greek king
(in Paropamisadae, Arachosia)

130 – 120 BC
Succeeded by
Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kings, territories and chronology
Based on Bopearachchi (1991) [1]
Greco-Bactrian kings Indo-Greek kings
West Bactria East Bactria Paropamisade
Arachosia Gandhara Western Punjab Eastern Punjab Mathura [2]
326-325 BCE Campaigns of Alexander the Great in India Nanda Empire
312 BCECreation of the Seleucid Empire Creation of the Maurya Empire
305 BCE Seleucid Empire after Mauryan war Maurya Empire
280 BCEFoundation of Ai-Khanoum
255–239 BCEIndependence of the
Greco-Bactrian kingdom
Diodotus I
Emperor Ashoka (268-232)
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
Heliocles I
Menander I
130–120 BCE Yuezhi occupation Zoilos I Agathokleia Yavanarajya
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 Vonones Telephos Apollodotus II
65–55 BCE Spalirises Hippostratos Dionysios
55–35 BCE Azes I (Indo-Scythians) Zoilos II
55–35 BCE Vijayamitra/ Azilises Apollophanes
25 BCE – 10 CE Gondophares Zeionises Kharahostes Strato II
Strato III
Gondophares (Indo-Parthian) Rajuvula (Indo-Scythian)
Kujula Kadphises (Kushan Empire) Bhadayasa
  1. O. Bopearachchi, "Monnaies gréco-bactriennes et indo-grecques, Catalogue raisonné", Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1991, p.453
  2. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2 April 2019). "History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE". BRILL via Google Books.