The So-Called Hellinization of Gandhara: an Analysis on Indo-Greek Period Numismatics and Acculturation



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis attempts to examine the acculturation process in an ancient Indian territory known as Gandhāra, during the rule of the so-called Indo-Greeks. The latter of whom were Greek rulers that were said to have adopted Indian practices, such as Buddhism, during the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE. This research attempts to discover if such historical events, and modern assumptions, are indeed correct. The prior research attempts to discover this mystery about Indo-Greek society has ended with extremely biased results, resulting in two varying opinions within Indo-Greek studies. In the attempt to overrule such biases, this research has attempted to answer these questions via the use of anthropological methodologies and theories; namely the seriation method, acculturation theory, and schema theory. Through the process of assessing coinage, the primary artifact of research, this study also possesses the byproduct of having created a new methodology known as ‘Anthropological Numismatics’. Through the assessment of both the Indo-Greek economic and cultural adoptions, this new methodology has been successful in the answering of both topics. The Indo-Greek’s economic adaptation of prior Indian standards of coinage, for instance, has found that the induction of the Silk Road within the 2nd century BCE is the most probable reasoning for the Greeks’ adoption of the Indian weight standard. While the Indo-Greek’s cultural adaptation is admittedly less straight forward; however, it does appear that after two Indo-Greek generations, an estimated 50 years, that the Greeks did indeed adopt Buddhism. Despite such findings, it is with this newly founded methodology that one can find the greatest contribution of this thesis’s research. As the many variables of assessment used within this research (e.g. coin shape, weight, etc.) can be used to study a vast variety of cultures, ranging from ancient to modern times.



Gandhāra, Indo-Greeks, Numismatics, Anthropological Numismatics