Lost World of the Golden King: In Search of Ancient Afghanistan

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University of California Press, 18 .. 2012 - 343 ˹
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Drawing on ancient historical writings, the vast array of information gleaned in recent years from the study of Hellenistic coins, and startling archaeological evidence newly unearthed in Afghanistan, Frank L. Holt sets out to rediscover the ancient civilization of Bactria. In a gripping narrative informed by the authors deep knowledge of his subject, this book covers two centuries of Bactrias history, from its colonization by remnants of Alexander the Greats army to the kingdoms collapse at the time of a devastating series of nomadic invasions. Beginning with the few tantalizing traces left behind when the empire of a thousand cities vanished, Holt takes up that trail and follows the remarkable and sometimes perilous journey of rediscovery.

Lost World of the Ancient King describes how a single bit of evidencea Greek coinlaunched a search that drew explorers to the region occupied by the tumultuous warring tribes of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Afghanistan. Coin by coin, king by king, the history of Bactria was reconstructed using the emerging methodologies of numismatics. In the twentieth century, extraordinary ancient texts added to the evidence. Finally, one of the thousand cities was discovered and excavated, revealing an opulent palace, treasury, temple, and other buildings. Though these great discoveries soon fell victim to the Afghan political crisis that continues today, this book provides a thrilling chronicle of the search for one of the worlds most enigmatic empires.

 

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Checklist Numismatics
7
figures
10
Jacob Bruce
11
Bruces tetradrachm of Eucratides
13
4
22
Pellerins tetradrachm of Eucratides
23
Pellerins stater of Euthydemus
25
Framework Numismatics
27
Commemorative tetradrachms
45
Novelty Numismatics
50
Narrative Numismatics
67
MaPs
71
Archaeology
89
Cognitive Numismatics I
160
The Lost World of the Golden King
211
Notes
221

Arthur Conolly and Joseph Wolff
30
Alexander Bukhara Burnes
35
Heliocles and Laodice tetradrachm
41
9
44
Select Bibliography
297
Illustration Credits
329
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Frank L. Holt, Professor of History at the University of Houston, is the author of Into the Land of Bones, Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions, and Thundering Zeus, all published by UC Press.

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