Possibly, this was a refoundation of an older, Persian city, and was settled with Greek and Iranian veterans, together with native serfs: this was, in any case, the normal way to found a European city in the Far East. Perhaps, this city was identical to Ai Khanum in Afghanistan. A more likely candidate is Kampyr Tepe in Uzbekistan. Among the Greek settlers in Ai Khanum were Thessalian cavalrymen, which appears to be confirmed by the following inscription: These wise words of ancient men are set up, utterances of famous men, in holy Delphi. The Cineas mentioned has a Thessalian name.
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Remains of some papyrus manuscripts , the imprint of which were left in the thin earth of brick walls, containing unknown philosophical dialogues on the theory of ideas, thought to be the only surviving remain of an Aristotelian dialogue, possibly the Sophist , where Xenocrates , another philosopher, present his theory of ideas.
The hierarchy of these administrators appears to be nearly identical to that in the Mediterranean Greek areas. From the names mentioned in these inscriptions, it appears that the directors of the Treasury were Greek, but that lower administrators had Bactrian names. One of these economic inscriptions relates in Greek the deposit of olive oil jars in the treasury: "In the year 24, on Artefacts[ edit ] Plate depicting Cybele pulled by lions, a votive sacrifice and the Sun God.
Ai-Khanoum, 2nd century BC. Numerous Greco-Bactrian coins were found, down to Eucratides , but none of them later. Ai-Khanoum also yielded unique Greco-Bactrian coins of Agathocles , consisting of six Indian-standard silver drachms depicting Hindu deities. These are the first known representations of Vedic deities on coins, and they display early Avatars of Vishnu : Balarama - Samkarshana and Vasudeva - Krishna , and are thought to correspond to the first Greco-Bactrian attempts at creating an Indian-standard coinage as they invaded northern India.
Among other finds: A round medallion plate describing the goddess Cybele on a chariot, in front of a fire altar, and under a depiction of Helios A fully preserved bronze statue of Herakles Various golden serpentine arm jewellery and earrings Some Indian artefacts, found in the treasure room of the city, probably brought back by Eucratides from his campaigns A toilet tray representing a seated Aphrodite A mold representing a bearded and diademed middle-aged man Various artefacts of daily life are also clearly Hellenistic: sundials , ink wells, tableware.
An almost life-sized dark green glass phallus with a small owl on the back side and other treasures are said to have been discovered at Ai-Khanoum, possibly along with a stone with an inscription, which was not recovered.
Bracelet with horned female busts. Stone recipients from Ai-Khanoum. Imprint from a mold found in Ai-Khanoum. Trade with the Mediterranean[ edit ] The presence of olive oil jars at Ai-Khanoum indicates that this oil was imported from the Mediterranean, as its only possible source would have been the Aegean Basin or Syria. This suggests important trade contacts with the Mediterranean, through long and expensive land routes.
Coin of Greco-Bactrian king Agathocles with Indian deities. Several Indian artefacts were found among the archaeological remains of Ai-Khanoum, especially a narrative plate made of shell inlaid with various materials and colors, thought to represent the Indian myth of Kuntala. They are Indian-standard square coins bearing the representations of Indian deities, which have been variously interpreted as Vishnu , Shiva , Vasudeva , Buddha or Balarama. Altogether, six such Indian-standard silver drachmas in the name of Agathocles were discovered at Ai-Khanoum in Rampurva bull capital , India , circa BCE.
Main article: Hellenistic influence on Indian art According to John Boardman, Ai-Khanoum may have been one of the conduits for some art influence into ancient India, though these influences and their sources are "not always properly identified or yet identifiable". Gupta who favor a combination. However, Persepolis fell about 80 years before the first Buddhist stone architecture appeared, which leaves the question whether knowledge was preserved over the generations between Persepolis to the west of Ai-Khanoum and the Mauryans to its east.
Obverse: Diademed head of Antiochus. Reverse: Nude Apollo seated on omphalos, leaning on bow and holding two arrows. The symbol found on a brick in Ai-Khanoum. Many Seleucid and Bactrian coins were found at Ai-Khanoum, as were ten blank planchets , indicating that there was a mint in the city. The same symbol was used on various Seleucid eastern coins, suggesting that they were probably minted in Ai-Khanoum. Numerous Seleucid coins were thus reattributed to the Ai-Khanoum mint rather recently, with the conclusion that Ai-Khanoum was probably a larger minting center than even Bactra.
It is likely that the city itself fell during a major siege, due to the presence of arrowheads in the city walls alongside a colossal stone projectile in the main cathedral, suggesting that the invaders had the means of constructing siege weaponry.
There is evidence of huge fires in all the major buildings of the city, however there remains evidence that the city was temporarily re-inhabited following the fire prior to being totally abandoned. In a Lieutenant Wood heard local people refer to the site as "Barbarrah". Kabul Museum. The findings are of considerable importance, as no remains of the Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek civilizations had been uncovered in the East beyond the abundant coinage until this discovery, which led some to speak of a "Bactrian mirage.
A few years after the foundation of the city, around BC, the Indian Emperor Ashoka was carving a rock inscription in Greek and Aramaic addressed to the Greeks in the region, the Kandahar Edict of Ashoka , in the nearby city of Kandahar.
The discovery of Ai-Khanoum also gives a new perspective on the influence of Greek culture in the East, and reaffirms the influence of the Greeks on the development of Greco-Buddhist art.