Strato I

Strato I was an Indo-Greek king who was the son of the Indo-Greek queen Agathokleia, who presumably acted as his regent during his early years after Strato's father, another Indo-Greek king, was killed.

Date and genealogy

Until recently, consensus was that he ruled between c. 130-110 BCE in Northern India and that his father was the great king Menander I. Menander ruled the entire Indo-Greek empire, but in this scenario, the western parts including Paropamisade and Arachosia, gained independence after the death of Menander I, pushing Strato and Agathokleia eastwards to Gandhar and Punjab. This view was introduced by Tarn and defended as late as 1998 by Bopearachchi.

The modern view, embraced by R.C. Senior and probably more solid since it is founded on numismatical analyses, suggests that Strato I was a later king, perhaps ruling from 110-85 BCE, though perhaps still a descendant of Menander I. In this case, Agathokleia was the widow of another king, possibly Nicias or Theophilus. A third hypothesis was presented in 2007 by J. Jakobsson [Jakobsson, J. "Relations between the Indo-Greek kings after Menander I, part 2", Journal of the Oriental Numismatic Society 193, 2007] : according to this, the coins of Strato in fact belong to two kings who both may have ruled around 105-80 BCE, though in different territories:
* Strato Soter (kai) Dikaios (The Saviour and Righteous) was Agathokleia's son.
* Strato Epiphanes Soter (The Illustrious, Saviour) was a middle-aged king who may have been Agathokleia's brother and ruled in western Punjab.This theory was based on difference in titles, in monograms and coin types between the two.

Events during his reign

Agathocleia's importance was gradually downplayed on the coins, so presumably her guardianship ended when Strato came of age. Strato I was also the only Indo-Greek king to appear bearded, probably to indicate that he was no longer an infant. Strato I, or the two Stratos, fought for hegemony in Punjab with the king Heliokles II, who overstruck several of their coins. There were very likely wars with other kings as well. The middle-aged Strato, according to the third theory, was succeeded by his son Polyxenios, who ruled only for a short time. A hoard of Strato's coins was found in Mathura outside New Delhi, which may have been the easternmost outpost of the Indo-Greek territory.

Coins

The coins of Strato show portraits aging from a youth to middle-aged. They have been divided into the following periods, where period 8 may belong to the second king.

* Period 1 (Only Agathokleia):Bronzes: Athena / seated Herakles.Obverse: Greek BASILISSIS TEOTROPOU AGATOKLEIAS "Queen Agathokleia, Godlike" Reverse: Pali "Maharajasa tratarasa dharmikasa Agathukriae" "Queen Agathokleia, saviour and follower of the dharma"

* Period 2: Silver: Agathokleia's portrait / walking king forming benediction gestureObverse: Greek BASILISSIS AGATOKLEIAS ("Queen Agathokleia")Reverse: Pali "Maharajasa tratarasa dharmikasa Stratasa" ("The Great king Strato, saviour and followers of the Dharma")

* Period 3: Silver: Bust of adolescent Strato / Athena holding NikeObverse: Greek BASILEOS SOTIROS KAI DIKAIOU STRATONOS "Saviour king Strato, the Just"Reverse: Pali "Maharajasa tratarasa Dhramikasa Stratasa "Great saviour king Strato, follower of the Dharma"

* Period 4: Silver: Adolescent Strato jointly with Agatokleia / Athena Alkidemos leftObverse: Greek BASILEOS SOTIROS STRATONOS KAI AGATHOKLEIA "Saviour king Strato, and Agathokleia"Reverse: Pali "Maharajasa tratarasa Stratasa/ Agathukriae" "Great saviour king Strato, and Agathokleia"

* Period 5-7: Silver: Strato alone, diademed, helmeted or spear-throwing, sometimes bearded / Athena Alkidemos (left, right or forward).Bronzes: Heracles / Nike

Obverse: (5-6) Greek BASILEOS SOTIROS STRATONOS "Saviour king Strato"(7)Greek BASILEOS SOTIROS DIKAIOU STRATONOS "Saviour and just king Strato"Reverse: (5)Pali "Maharajasa tratarasa Stratasa" "Great saviour king Strato"
(6) Pali "Maharajasa tratarasa dhramikasa Stratasa" "Great saviour king Strato, follower of the dharma"
(7) Pali "Maharajasa tratarasa dhramikasa Stratasa" "Great saviour king Strato, follower of the dharma"

* Period 8: Silver: Middle-aged Strato diademed or helmeted / Athena Alkidemos left.Bronzes: Apollo / tripodObverse: Greek BASILEOS EPIPHANOUS SOTIROS STRATONOS "King Strato the saviour and illustrious"Reverse: Pali "Maharajasa pracachasa tratarasa Stratasa" "Great saviour king Strato, the illustrious"

ee also

* Indo-Greek Kingdom
* Greco-Buddhism
* Indo-Scythians

Notes

References

* "The Greeks in Bactria and India" W.W. Tarn, Cambridge University Press

ee also

* [http://www.coinarchives.com/a/results.php?results=100&search=Strato+I+NOT+Agathokleia+NOT+Menander+NOT+Phoenicia+NOT+Agathocleia&Thumb=1 Coins of Strato I]
* [http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/greece/baktria/kings/strato_I/t.html More coins of Strato I]


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