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Bactria (Zariaspa) was an ancient country lying between the mountains of the Hindu Kush and the Amu Darya (present day Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan). Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BCE conquered Bactria and it remained under Persian rule for the next 200 years as a Bactrian Satrapy.

Alexander the Great defeated Persian King Darius III and Bactria came under  Alexander III. Upon the death of Alexander (323 BCE), Bactria come under the rule of Seleucus I Nicator and Selecid Kingdom.

Around 250 BCE Diodotus or his son Diodotus II, the satrap of Bactria, rebelled and set up an independent kingdom. Euthydemus I deposed Diodotus II and became King of Bactria c. 230 BCE.

Demetrios I (c.200-190 BCE), son of Euthydemus II and grand son of Euthydemus I advanced his kingdom into the Hindu Kush and northwestern India. Eukratides I (c.177 - 135 BCE) overthrew Demetrios II and Antimachus I (sons of Demetrios I) with the help of of Selucids in 170 BCE  and became ruler of the western portion of Bactria (Gandara, Kabul and Kandahar). Thus the the house of Eukratides come to rule the western Bacrtia.  The house of Eukratides included Heliokles, Antialkidas, and Hermaeus.

The house of Euthydemos established the Indo-Bactrian (Indo-Greek) branch of the kingdom in the Indus Valley (Punjab). Some of them were Appollodotos, Menander, Strato I, Zoilos and Hippostratos.

History of Bactria was not recorded properly. Most of the history of Bactria was surmised from their coins and other collateral evidence. Bactrian coins were minted in greek style. They were treasure troves of information with names and portraits of the kings. Chronology of the Indo-Bactrian rulers is based largely on numismatic evidence. Bactrian coins were imitations of Greek issues, but gradually acquired a style of their own. Legend of Indo-Bactrian coins were inscribed in Greek, Brahmi and Kharosti scripts. They also used images of indian deities and animals like indian elephants.

Menander, later successor to Indo-Bactrian Empire possibly expanded the Indo-Bactrian Empire into Ganges river plain with help of Panchala king. Menander was well known to Indians as the great King Milinda, who debated Buddhist doctrine with the philosopher Nagasena in a question and answer format. Very little is known about the successors of Menander. There was a mention of Antialcidas and his emissary Heliodorus in the form of an inscription on a pillar Sanchi in India.

 The Sakas (also called Scythians) of the Caspian region and Yueh-chih (later called Kushans) of upper Ili river under pressure from Hsiung Nu moved southward into Bactia. Hermaios was defeated in c. 70 BCE and an Indo-Scythian kingdom was set up in place of western Bactria.  Last of the Indo-Greek ruler was Strato II (c. 25-10 BCE) and Kushan kingdom was set up in place of eastern Bactria.

Chronological list of Bactrian Kings
Diodotos I (c.256-230 BCE)

Diodotos II (c.250-230 BCE)

Euthydemos I (c.230-200 BCE)

Demetrios I (c.200-190 BCE)

Euthydemos II (c.190-185 BCE)

Agathokles (c.190-180 BCE)

Pantaleon (c.190-185 BCE)

Apollodotos (c.180-165 BCE)

Western Bactria
Eukratides I (c.170-145 BCE)

Eukratides II (c.145-140 BCE)

Heliokles I (c.145-130 BCE) 

Antialcidas (c.130-120 BCE)

Lysias (c.130-120 BCE)

Heliokles II (c.110-100 BCE)

Philoxenos (c. 100-95 BCE)

Amyntas (c.95-90 BCE)

Diomedes (c.95-90 BCE)

Nikias (c.90-85 BCE)

Theophilos (c.90 BCE)

Peukolas (c. 90 BCE)

Archebios (c.90BCE)

Hermaeus (c. 90-70 BCE) 

Eastern Bactria
Antimachos I (c.185-170 BCE)

Demetrios II (c.175-170 BCE)

Menander (c.155-130 BCE)

Plato (c.145-140 BCE)

Zoilos I (c.130-120 BCE)

Strato I (c.130-110 BCE)

Polyxenos (c.100-95 BCE)

Demetrios III (c.100 BCE)

Epander (c.95-90 BCE)

Meander II Dikaios (c.90-85 BCE)

Artemidoros (c.85 BCE)

Apollodotos II (c. 80-65 BCE)

Hippostatos (c.65-55 BCE)

Dionysios (c.65-55 BCE) 

Zoilos II (c.55-35 BCE) 

Apollophanes (c.35-25 BCE)

Strato II (c. 25-10 BCE)

Note: Please let me know if there are any mistakes in the above groupings.
Alphabetical list of Bactrian Kings



Antimachos I


Apollodotos II




Diodotos I

Diodotos II

Demetrios I

Demetrios II

Demetrios III




Eukratides I

Eukratides II

Euthydemos I

Euthydemos II


Heliokles I

Heliokles II




Meander II Dikaios







Strato I

Strato II


Zoilos I

Zoilos II


Holt, F. L.,  Thundering Zeus: The Making of Hellenistic Bactria, USA,1999.

Holt, F. L.,  Alexander the Great and Bactria: The Formation of a Greek Frontier in Central Asia, USA,1989.


Ancient Country List



RK. Novrmber 2, 2002.