Azes II, who reigned approximately from 35 B.C.-5 A.D., was the last of the so-called Indo- Scythian to rule the region in northern India once dominated by the Greek Bactrian Kingdom. Little is know about his reign, and after his death the Kushan tribe, which had been steadily expanding, conquered the region and established their own empire. Although they had lost the wealth of Bactria, some form of Indo- Scythian rule remained in northern India until the 5th century A.D. The coinage of Azes II follows a standard bilingual Greek Kharoshti type first introduced by the Indo-Greek Kingdoms of northwestern India and represents the lengths to which the Scythians went in order to accommodate their Greek-cultured populations. One innovation of Indo-Scythian coinage was the substitution of the image of the king on horseback on the obverse in place of the standard bust-type found on Bactrian and Indo- Greek coinage, no doubt revealing the importance horsemanship played in this nomadic culture.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or your purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after us. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and place, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of long forgotten empires. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. This coin is a memorial an ancient emperor and his empire passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation that still appears as vibrant today as the day it was struck. - (C.4015)