Dionysius Soter

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Dionysius Soter
Coin of Dionysius Soter
Indo-Greek king
Reign65–55 BCE
Bornc. 86 BCE[citation needed]
Died55 BCE
Kashmir[citation needed]

Dionysius Soter (Ancient Greek: Διονύσιος Σωτήρ, romanizedDionysios Sōtēr; epithet means "the Saviour") was an Indo-Greek king in the area of eastern Punjab.[1]


According to Osmund Bopearachchi, he reigned c. 65–55 BCE and inherited the eastern parts of the kingdom of the important late ruler Apollodotus II. The kings share the same epithet and use the common reverse of fighting Pallas Athene, and it seems plausible that they were closely related, but relationships between the last Indo-Greek kings remain uncertain since the only sources of information are their remaining coins. R. C. Senior dates him approximately ten years later.

Earlier scholars like Professor Ahmad Hasan Dani have dated Dionysius much earlier, between the years 115 and 100 BCE, making him the ruler of the Swat and Dir Valleys and the weak successor of Polyxenus.

Dionysios was probably pressured by the invasions of the Indo-Scythians, and also had to deal with Hippostratus, a more important king who had inherited the western part of the kingdom of Apollodotus II.

Dionysius' name echoes the Olympic wine-god Dionysos, who according to Greek mythology was also an ancient king of India.

Coins of Dionysios[edit]

Coins of Dionysius.
The "boxy" mint mark characteristic of later Indo-Greek kings was first used by Dionysius Soter.

Dionysius was the first in the line of late kings who issued only silver drachms, but no tetradrachms, which was likely due to his limited resources. On their obverse is a diademed portrait of the king, with Athena Alcidemus on the reverse.

He also issued bronzes with Apollo on the reverse and a tripod on the obverse. Both these types were inherited from Apollodotus II. The quality of the portraits is inferior to most earlier kings. According to Bopearachchi, Dionysius inherited only the inferior celators of Apollodotus II, which he associates with mints in eastern Punjab.


One single coin of Dionysius Soter is known to have used the "boxy" mint-mark characteristic of the last Indo-Greek kings, down to Apollophanes, Strato II and Strato III, who used it exclusively of any other.[2] He is also the first king known to have used this mint-mark, which therefore came to be during his reign.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Greeks in Bactria and India by William Woodthorpe Tarn p.318
  2. ^ a b Jakobsson, J (2010). "A Possible New Indo-Greek King Zoilos III, and an Analysis of Realism on Indo-Greek Royal Portraits". Numismatic Chronicle. JSTOR article


  • Monnaies Gréco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques, Osmund Bopearachchi, Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
  • The Bactrian and Indus-Greeks, Ahmed Hasan Dani, Lahore Museum.
  • The Indo-Greeks Revisited and Supplemented, A.K. Narain, BR Publishing Corporation.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Indo-Greek Ruler
(in Eastern Punjab)

65 – 55 BCE
Succeeded by