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Seller: ancientgifts (4,186) 99.3%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 122147532678 TRANSLATE Arabic Chinese French German Greek Indonesian Italian Hindi Japanese Korean Swedish Portuguese Russian Spanish Your browser does not support JavaScript. To view this page, enable JavaScript if it is disabled or upgrade your browser. Click here to see 1,000 archaeology/ancient history books and 2,000 ancient artifacts, antique gemstones, antique jewelry! Lost World of the Golden King: In Search of Ancient Afghanistan by Frank Lee Holt. NOTE: We have 75,000 books in our library, almost 10,000 different titles. Odds are we have other copies of this same title in varying conditions, some less expensive, some better condition. We might also have different editions as well (some paperback, some hardcover, oftentimes international editions). If you don’t see what you want, please contact us and ask. We’re happy to send you a summary of the differing conditions and prices we may have for the same title. DESCRIPTION: Hardcover with dustjacket. Publisher: University of California (2012). Pages: 368. Size: 8¼ x 5½ x 1¼ inches; 1¼ pounds. 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 author’s deep knowledge of his subject, this book covers two centuries of Bactria’s history, from its colonization by remnants of Alexander the Great’s army to the kingdom’s 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 Golden King” describes how a single bit of evidence—a Greek coin—launched 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 world’s most enigmatic empires. CONDITION: NEW. NEW hardcover in dustjacket. University of California (2012) 368 pages. Unblemished and pristine in every respect. Pages are clean, crisp, unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, unambiguously unread. Satisfaction unconditionally guaranteed. In stock, ready to ship. No disappointments, no excuses. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! Meticulous and accurate descriptions! Selling rare and out-of-print ancient history books on-line since 1997. We accept returns for any reason within 14 days! #7750a. PLEASE SEE DESCRIPTIONS AND IMAGES BELOW FOR DETAILED REVIEWS AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK. PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW. PUBLISHER REVIEWS: REVIEW: Bactria or Bactriana was the name of a historical region in Central Asia. The English name Bactria is derived from the Ancient Greek Βακτριανή, a Hellenized version of the Bactrian endonym Bakhlo (βαχλο). Analogous names include the Persian/Pashto باختر Bākhtar, Uzbek Балх, Tajik: Бохтар, Chinese: 大夏 Dàxià, and Sanskrit बाह्लीक Bāhlika. Bactria was located between the Hindu Kush mountain range and the Amu Darya river,[1] covering the flat region that straddles modern-day Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The territory of which Bactra [Balkh] was the capital, originally consisted of the area south of the Āmū Daryā with its string of agricultural oases dependent on water taken from the rivers of Balḵ (Bactra) [Balkh], Tashkurgan, Kondūz [Kunduz], Sar-e Pol, and Šīrīn Tagāō [Shirin Tagab]. This region played a major role in Central Asian history. At certain times the political limits of Bactria stretched far beyond the geographic frame of the Bactrian plain. REVIEW: The Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC, also known as the "Oxus civilization") is the modern archaeological designation for a Bronze Age culture of Central Asia, dated to ca. 2200–1700 BC, located in present-day eastern Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan, centred on the upper Amu Darya (Oxus), an area covering ancient Bactria. Its sites were discovered and named by the Soviet archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi (1976). Bactria was the Greek name for Old Persian Bāxtriš (from native *Bāxçiš)[3] (named for its capital Bactra, modern Balkh), in what is now northern Afghanistan, and Margiana was the Greek name for the Persian satrapy of Margu, the capital of which was Merv, in today's Turkmenistan. The early Greek historian Ctesias, c. 400 BC (followed by Diodorus Siculus), alleged that the legendary Assyrian king Ninus had defeated a Bactrian king named Oxyartes in ca. 2140 BC, or some 1000 years before the Trojan War. Since the decipherment of cuneiform in the 19th century, however, which enabled actual Assyrian records to be read, historians have ascribed little value to the Greek account. According to some writers, Bactria was the homeland of Indo-Iranian tribes who moved south-west into Iran and into north-western India around 2500–2000 BC. Later, it became the north province of the Persian Empire in Central Asia.[4] It was in these regions, where the fertile soil of the mountainous country is surrounded by the Turanian desert, that the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathushtra) was said to have been born and gained his first adherents. Avestan, the language of the oldest portions of the Zoroastrian Avesta, was one of the old Iranian languages, and is the oldest attested member of the Eastern Iranian branch of the Iranian language family. REVIEW: 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 author s deep knowledge of his subject, this book covers two centuries of Bactria s history, from its colonization by remnants of Alexander the Great s army to the kingdom s collapse. REVIEW: TABLE OF CONTENTS: List of Illustrations. Preface. Introduction: A Lost Civilization. 1. The Adventure Begins: Checklist Numismatics. 2. A Dangerous Game: Framework Numismatics. 3. The Gold Colossus: Novelty Numismatics. 4. Telling Tales: Narrative Numismatics. 5. Wanted--One Greek City: Archaeology. 6. Letters Here and There: Epigraphy. 7. A Perfect Storm: Rescue and Revisionist Numismatics. 8. A New Beginning: Cognitive Numismatics I. 9. Coins and the Collapse of Civilization: Cognitive Numismatics II. Conclusion: The Lost World of the Golden King. Notes. Select Bibliography. Illustration Credits. Index. REVIEW: 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. PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS: REVIEW: This volume provides a valuable appraisal of Bactrian studies and the developments in numismatic methodologies that shaped often-conflicting interpretations. The clear and accessible presentation, in which Frank Holt has brought together numerous disparate sources, including archaeological and epigraphic material, is especially useful for the articulation of distinctions between known material and speculation. The first chapter relates the beginnings of the collection and study of ancient coins in the 17th century in its form as ‘checklist numismatics’. This became a pastime for members of the European elite who would scour ancient literature for mention of Bactrian kings and tick off each ruler once they acquired a numismatic portrait to illustrate the name. The author makes an astute point that the effect of ‘survival by association’ this caused is still felt in modern scholarship on the period, whereby Greco-Bactrian kings mentioned in ancient literature when in contact with the Seleukids, Parthians and India receive far more attention. This chapter includes an extremely useful summary of the literary sources, including those more obscure texts used or epitomized by the more famous and surviving works. The daring exploits and tribulations of those involved in the ‘Great Game’ is the focus of the next chapter, where the author’s ebullient style is aptly evocative, such as the description of the Revd. Joseph Wolff as an ‘itinerant dumpling of a man’. The narrative of the espionage and coin collecting by famous characters such as Arthur Conolly, Alexander Burnes and Charles Masson balances effectively with explanation of the evolving proposed king lists. This process consisted of the application of ‘framework numismatics’ to piece together a basic chronological jigsaw of Greco- Bactrian rulers, which mutated, often extremely quickly, upon the discovery of new kings, whose identification upturned previous assertions and assumptions. Chapter 3 concerns the discovery of the gold Eukratidion, the largest ancient coin ever discovered. The author concedes the melodramatic nature of the story of the 20-stater piece’s mysterious appearance and arrival in the Cabinet des Médailles, worthy of a Dorothy L. Sayers novel. Chapter 4 assesses the contributions of the heavyweights W. W. Tarn, A. K. Narain and E. T. Newell and warns of the excesses of narrative numismatics, in particular the dangerous habit of identifying character traits of kings from their portraits. A brief digression is made in Chapter 5 to provide an account of archaeological work in Afghanistan. This chapter will be particularly useful to undergraduate students since the excavation reports, mostly in French and Russian, are scattered among disparate journals rather than published in any single coherent study. Holt does not confine himself to material from the third and second centuries BC, but includes relevant discussion of Begram, Balkh, Dilberdjin Tepe, Takht-i Sangin and Tillya Tepe as well as Gandharan Taxila and Butkara. The bulk of this chapter naturally focuses on the excavations at Ai Khanoum, not only due to the character of the site but also since the aim here is to accentuate the search for a ‘Greek city’ and the problems of western emphasis on the period of Greco-Bactrian rule at the expense of its Islamic heritage. The author refreshingly emphasizes the commercial and military importance of the site, considering the site’s immediate surrounds, such as the fortified Khuna Qal’a to the north, and situation in the wider Bactrian landscape, particularly in light of the work by J.-C. Gardin on the ceramics and irrigation systems. Of particular interest is a tetradrachm die of Demetrius reputedly found at Ai Khanoum, which would attest to Demetrius’ rule outside India. Also refreshing is the author’s discussion of the last phases of Greek occupation at Ai Khanoum and its sudden abandonment, which supports the thesis of the final chapters of this book. Chapter 6 emphasizes that, just as for archaeology, modern discoveries have disproved early scholarship’s assumption there had never been any Greek inscriptions in Bactria. This chapter provides a survey of epigraphic material discovered across Bactria on numerous media, from small Greek inscriptions on potsherds, jewellery and silver plate to the Asoka rock edicts. Once again, it is particularly useful for undergraduates to have an account of these inscriptions in English, including those of Aristonax, Sophytos, Heliodotus, Heliodorus, the Ai Khanoum texts, and Hyspasines at Delos. The use of Greek script to write Bactrian language is discussed briefly, as are Aramaic inscriptions. The evidence that epigraphy provides of a polyglot region with Greek and non-Greek names of non-kings as well as known and unknown kings, of varied pantheons and established administrative and economic systems perfectly elucidates the far broader range of society the author wishes to demonstrate in his numismatic study. In light of modern political crisis and military conflict, Chapter 7 discusses the recent developments in rescue numismatics necessitated by the vast influx of new coins on the antiquities market, the product of looting driven by economic desperation, the lack of policing and the lucrative market for such items. This has created the need for intricate work piecing together the hoards fragmented by sale across the world and identifying their origin, and subsequent revisions to our interpretation of the end of Greco-Bactrian rule. The author provides useful critical appraisals of the recent work and developments made by Osmund Bopearachchi, Peter Mittag and Olivier Guillaume in revisionist numismatics, and the resistance against them in the creation of new narratives. Contradictions and illogical steps are highlighted in many recent works, such as the supposition that Bactria had a ‘penury of precious metals’ despite the extraordinary number of gold and silver Greco-Bactrian issues. The author points out that these narratives, just as those of Tarn, cannot be confirmed and uses the example of Demetrius I to set out and distinguish between the facts and assumptions. The final chapters offer an alternative to these new narratives, in ‘cognitive numismatics’. This method uses observations of mistakes on particular strikes to make deductions concerning the production process, such as that a die-engraver could read and write Greek since he wrote the mirror-image retrograde rather than mindlessly copying it out from a model. From assessment of the number of errors in coin production, Holt concludes that ‘a period of increasingly corrupted engraving, either tolerated or unnoticed, was under way in Bactria’s mints before the fall of Ai Khanoum’ (p.180). This strain on the workforce and production system is paralleled by? the use of worn or cracked dies in addition to errors in the creation of the dies. The author identifies two ‘waves’ of increase in errors: the first when Euthydemus I was under attack by Antiochus III and coins were needed quickly to fund the military situation. The second wave is identified just before Ai Khanoum was abandoned, supporting the idea that the city was in trouble before its abandonment, rather subject to a sudden and unexpected disaster. Holt proposes that the nomadic invasions ‘may have been the consequence rather than the cause of Bactria’s collapse’ after internal political strife. The mints still had a proper supply of assayed bullion, but there was not a preoccupation with high standards of Hellenism (a modern preoccupation) and instead the priority was to produce coinage to pay for military requirements rather than to propagate an ideological message. Supporting his conclusions drawn from the errors and deterioration of dies, Holt notes that ‘the small but significant cluster of unreclaimed hoards from Ai Khanoum and Kuliab suggests a regional crisis of some complexity’, whereby those who suddenly abandoned their homes had the intention to return, not a ‘nomadic blitzkrieg’. Additionally, the monumental building program at Ai Khanoum under Eukratides indicates prosperity and confidence in the stability of rule. Consideration of systems approaches provides a far more nuanced interpretation of the political and social situation, allowing for ‘multiple and sometimes disproportionate causation’ that produces ‘aggregate reactions to any variety of such stimuli, large or small’. This ‘complexity growth’ in Bactria is visible also in the increases in the speed of king-making, number of monograms, and the more intricate iconography. Such complexity was unstable due to the stretched resources: the region was undergoing socio-political crisis rather than ‘declining’ due to its distance from the cultural centres of the Mediterranean or a lost enthusiasm for Hellenism. This book presents a strong case for identifying renewed urban development, prosperity and trade in Bactria under the Yuezhi and Kushans, giving more credit to the ‘barbarians’ rather than the default position of the majority of scholarship in seeing the end of Greco-Bactrian rule as the consummate decline of the region. The author emphasizes local agency in tracing the nomads’ ‘new cognitive maps’, illustrating their own meanings and tastes for Greek iconography, such as the re-use of Greco-Bactrian coins and creative of imitative pieces as jewellery, suggesting the association of a certain level of prestige. Given the lack of certain provenance for many of these coins, however, it is unclear how the date of the piercings of these issues is ascertained. Holt emphasizes the economic use of these objects over any ideological message, but immediately seems to contradict this by saying the coins ‘stretched the long Greek shadow across Central and South Asia.’ The book concludes with demonstration of Eukratides I, the ‘Golden King’, as a prime example of the twisting and turning story of the interpretation of Greco-Bactrian rulers. Errors in this book are scarce. The maps are excellent, but it is a shame the other illustrations do not maintain this standard. For example, pl.1, a satellite photo of the region, is unclear. Similarly, line-drawings of the various collectors and scholars may be more economical than reproducing portraits or photographs of the subjects, but add little to the argument and distract the reader. In contrast, the line-drawings of coins are useful, especially where they assist in the explanation of production techniques and errors. The photographs of coins are very informative, though inclusion of scales would have been beneficial. The balanced discussion of this extensively researched book makes compelling arguments to illustrate that we can now discern more about Bactrian society and culture outside of the royal circle, and hope for further progress. This book is a valuable addition for any reader interested in the development of numismatic study and its application to historical interpretation and use alongside archaeological and epigraphic material, as well as those specializing in the Greco- Bactrian period. It is also highly accessible to a ‘lay-reader’. This book is heartily recommended as an excellent introduction to the problems and material for any researcher, student or interested party. REVIEW: At first glance, a work entitled "Lost World of the Golden King: In Search of Ancient Afghanistan" appears to promise a narrative history of the obscure realm of the Bactrian Greeks who once ruled over that troubled part of the globe for about one hundred years between their successful rebellion against the Seleucid rulers in about 260 BC and their fall to Sakas and other nomadic tribes a little more than one hundred years later. Instead, most of Frank Lee Holt's book focuses on the subject of numismatics, particularly the study of coins and what the coins of the Bactrian period (260-150 BC) can tell us about the lives of people in that period and afterward. To that end, after an introduction that deals with the echoes and memories of the Bactrian realm within scattered historical and literary references, the book examines various types of numismatics and explains how they were practiced by (mostly) European and American coin collectors and explorers over the last 350 years. First, Holt addresses checklist numismatics; coins are checked against known king lists to make sure that everyone has been accounted for. Then, he covers framework numismatics, in which coins are used to uncover the bare facts of history necessary to frame a historical narrative. Finally, he turns to novelty numismatics, which focuses on unusual and distinctive coins that are often appreciated for artistic reasons without any concern or interest in their historical and cultural context. At this point, Holt stops his discussion about coins and coin collectors to examine the lengthy and mostly fruitless search for any of the thousand Greek cities in what is now Afghanistan and neighboring countries over which the Bactrian kings ruled. Eventually one city (Al Khanoum) was found and excavated for over one decade before political problems in Afghanistan arose. The site was nearly completely destroyed by native looters who were unappreciative of the reminders of Greek culture in their nation and who reused the ruins that had been dug up for their own homes and village buildings. Next, Holt discusses the scattered epigraphy that demonstrates a highly complicated picture of multilingual people, some of whom were at great pains in those backwoods parts of Hellenistic civilization to show off their erudition in memorials, as well as the more mundane records of tax collections and accounts of Scythian mercenaries. The book returns to its general focus on coins, arguing that the lack of scientific archeology in much of Afghanistan has led to the need for revisionist numismatics, which attempts to uncover as much as possible about the provenance of the coins that have ended up in private collections across the world based on when they were brought to auction or when rumors about them began to spread. Two chapters on cognitive numismatics follow, in which Holt draws strong conclusions from the evidence of errors on coins, showing that the stresses of civil disorder or environmental disaster have led to increasing errors on coins at key moments. By assessing the location of coin hoards and the amount of coins left behind, he seeks to demonstrate the frustrated hopes and dreams of people of Bactria as their civilization fell and their lands and coins were appropriated by various successor peoples who imitated what they appreciated in Hellenistic culture with their own cognitive maps.Holt briefly recounts the narratives as they have been constructed by leading historians of Bactrian history, including William Woodthorpe Tarn, Awadh Kishore Narain, and Homayun Sidky, showing that these subjective narratives conflict because the basic facts that should undergird a narrative history are simply not present when it comes to Bactrian history. Instead of a typical narrative history, Holt advocates for a look at subaltarn groups in light of his own ideological bias. He creates a picture of ecological collapse and immense civil disorder from the fragmentary facts that can be found on coins. Holt looks closely at the raw materials with which historians work when attempting to explain the past, such as archeological sites, coins, other cultural artifacts, and primary documents. Compared to other areas of ancient history, like the study of the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, or Hittites, or even the somewhat more obscure people of Ugarit and Mari (all of whom left large amounts of written evidence), the Greeks of Bactria left meager written evidence. Nonetheless, historians and other researchers must work with the evidence at hand, and have an ethical responsibility to admit where evidence ends and where fancy and subjectivity begin. Holt does well in showing that the previous writers of Bactrian history have fallen short of the highest standards of intellectual honesty and tentativeness in their claims, and makes an honest effortto find some sort of truth from the slim evidence that has survived the Hellenistic age in remote and troubled Bactria. REVIEW: In his book, Lost World of the Golden King, author and scholar Frank L. Holt relates the story of the centuries-long search for an ancient lost Graeco-Bactrian civilization, sometimes penned in historical literature as the "empire of a thousand cities". A remotely located Hellenistic civilization that flourished in the third and second centuries B.C. in what is today Afghanistan, it was ruled by a succession of kings whose scant record has been evidenced mostly on the faces of thousands of coins unearthed and then dispersed on the international antiquities market. The largest known gold coin of the ancient world, the "Eucratidion", bears the portrait profile of one of those kings -- Eucratides the Great -- a ruler whose associated kingdom's remains have eluded explorers and scholars since the 17th century. More than simply a retelling of the existing evidence for these kingdoms and what it means, Holt takes the reader on the trail of the explorers and scholars who, through sometimes perilous and fateful circumstances, rediscovered, piece by piece, coin hoard by coin hoard, the vestiges of Greek Bactria. Holt's narrative is largely a numismatic journey, including such finds as the famous Kuliab Hoard, which helped to place ancient Bactrian Afghanistan on the historical and archaeological map. But Holt's book covers more than the numismatic adventure. He relates the emerging archaeological, written and epigraphic evidence, as well. Not the least of his discourse touches on the historic excavations conducted near the confluence of the Amu Darya and Kokcha rivers in northern Afghanistan, beginning in the early 1960's at the site called Ai Khanoum: "...Just inches beneath the soil, the outlines of an entire city bulged in plain site: ramparts, gateway, streets, courtyards, theater, and other buildings of various sizes..." "In sixteen campaigns spaced over thirteen years, the main features of the ancient city came to give scholars at last an intimate look inside the Graeco-Bactrian kingdom." As the excerpt suggests, Holt has indeed afforded the reader a very absorbing and compelling "intimate look" inside the search for this lost civilization and, while there is much work left to be done and hopefully much more yet to come to light, his work will doubtless constitute a major contribution to the synthesis of scholarship and information about a civilization and kingship that continue to elude historians and other scholars alike to this day. REVIEW: This book deals mostly with historiography of the study of Central Asia in Ancient Times. The several phases and specialists of Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greeks world are the main concern of the book and their life and discoveries accompany the reader from page to page. As it is, its a convincing way to both introduce this area to curious people and to bring an often necessary stand back approach about todays view on Bactrian history. The listing of sources is useful, in which we find some still unpublished ones, and the reviews of important works like those of W.W. Tarn and A.K. Narain. Some of the last works are also treated sparingly but in a very relevant way. The case of the Eucratideion, the 20 stater of gold coin of Eucratides found in Afghanistan, took one quick chapter. Of great interest are also the two chapters on so-called cognitive numismatics, in which F. Holt tries to emphasize the need for studying elements of ancient common people, often neglected by ancient studies whose aim has been more with finding ancient frontlines, dynasties and eras. All in all, the "Lost World of the Golden King" is a well written book for both beginners and passionate enthusiasts while specialists will also find some valuable information. REVIEW: This book is the latest in a series by Frank L. Holt in which he has explored the history—and, more specifically, the numismatic history—of Bactria, ancient Afghanistan. In it, he casts the story of scholarly inquiry into Hellenistic Bactria as an adventure story, culminating in the intrigues of the antiquities market in recent years. Above all, however, this is a history of a field, and of the changes in intellectual approaches which have been brought to bear on Bactrian numismatics. This history is followed through a series of stages (“checklist numismatics,” “framework numismatics,” “novelty numismatics,” “narrative numismatics,” “rescue and revisionist numismatics,” “cognitive numismatics”), with additional chapters on archaeology and epigraphy. It moves from the earliest European collections of and studies on Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek coins in the eighteenth century, through nineteenth-century advances in understanding (and fraught international relations) to the present day, with incisive critique and careful explanation of the scholarly assumptions underlying analysis of ancient source material (historical texts, coins, archaeology and inscriptions) and the paradigm shifts by which Bactrian studies have advanced. As well as the history of coin collecting and coin study, a chapter on archaeology discusses the city of Ai Khanoum and other sites, such as Tillya Tepe and Balkh. A further chapter onepigraphy reviews the evidence from both stone inscriptions, including such recent discoveries as the Sophytos inscription from Kandahar and the Heliodotos inscription from Kuliab, and documentary texts. The sense of methodological development (both progress and regress) in the field of Bactrian studies is clearly signposted throughout, and nicely encapsulated in summary form in the conclusion. Bactrian studies have suffered in the past from romanticization, and the almost desperate attempt to find points of certainty and historical precision in a fragmentary corpus of evidence, one which, furthermore, is constantly being augmented. Holt’s work provides a critical review of the evidence, and some welcome debunking of past theories and intellectual trends. The appropriately skeptical discussion of attempts to read a king’s personality into his portraits on his coinage is an excellent case in point. Holt likewise picks apart scholarly assumptions about relationships between kings, and how these end up being wound into a narrative as fact. This makes the present work very useful for reading older ones. Anyone coming new to things Bactrian, and with historiographical interests, should read this book before the older “standard works” such as W. W. Tarn’s The Greeks in Bactria and India (1938) and A. K. Narain’s The Indo-Greeks. Holt’s work is to be thoroughly recommended, to students of the field, interested readers in other fields, and a more general readership. The book is well produced and attractively laid out. The maps are useful, as are the color plates (especially the photograph of a tetradrachm die, possibly from Ai Khanoum), although some of the line drawing illustrations might have been replaced with images of the portraits and photographs from which they were taken. The bibliography is very up-to-date, and includes recent reports of archaeological fieldwork. REVIEW: Before Americans toss out the use of coins in everyday transactions, numismatic scholars want people to know how important coins really are. An example of that is the discovery of an ancient kingdom traced through the study of old coins, as detailed in a new book called, "Lost World of The Golden King - in search of Ancient Afghanistan," by University of Houston history professor Frank L. Holt. "Coins are a historical document," said RyAnne Scott, communications coordinator for the American Numismatics Association. Yes, numismatics is a difficult word to pronounce and according to the dictionary it is the collection or study of money, both in coins as well as paper notes. "If there is not a lot of surviving artifacts, coins can tell a great deal about the culture that produced it," Scott said. Holt is a Hellenistic scholar who has written three other books all focused on the rediscovery of the ancient world, especially in remote places often neglected and forgotten. In his most recent book, "Lost World of The Golden King," Holt was able to locate the ancient civilization of Bactria in what is now part of Afghanistan. Despite the current violence and upheaval that presently scars that part of the world, Professor Holt got his research done. He sheds light on the fact that for centuries Bactria was a center of culture and commerce. REVIEW: "Holt has done a service in summarizing the scholarship about this outpost of Hellenism. Well written and of great interest. Highly recommended. [K. W. Harl, Tulane University]. REVIEW: Delightful and learned, and written in a crisp and vigorous style, this book will be read with great interest and profit by both scholars and general readers. [Stanley Burstein, author of "The Reign of Cleopatra"]. READER REVIEWS: REVIEW: This is a well written and accessible book on how little we really know about Hellenistic Bactria following the expedition of Antiochus III, the Seleucid King, and his two-year siege of Bactra (208-206 BC). There are several reasons for this. One is that most of the Greco-Roman written sources that could have informed us have not survived or have survived in only fragments or compressed summaries by later authors. Another is the sheer difficulty in accessing what is modern Afghanistan ever since the mid-nineteenth century when interest in Hellenistic history, archaeology and numismatics started to develop. A third reason, to which the author devotes long sections of this book (and of some of his previous books as well) is because thousands of coins have and are being found constantly in the region but are smuggled out of the country and sold to private collectors or sometimes even to museums, therefore preventing any comprehensive identification and any analysis of their origin. The same occurs, more generally, for all archaeological artifacts in the region, with the national museum of Kabul having been pillaged more than once. Needless to say, this explains the somewhat long rant of the author on the subject. Historical evidence that could allow us to know a little bit more about this "lost world" is being destroyed on a daily basis because of the region's lawlessness. There are also other issues at hand which the author discusses at length in the first part of his book, when presenting the historiography of Bactria. One particular point is that previous historians, W.W. Tarn in particular, have tended to come up with a narrative history of Hellenistic Bactria that owes more to their vivid imagination than to historical evidence. In other terms, they told fascinating stories, rather than history. Many aspects of these stories were in fact unsubstantiated statements that archaeological campaigns and numismatic findings have debunked, as the author explains in some detail. One limitation, perhaps, is that the author, by concentrating on numismatics, provides even less of a narrative than in his previous titles (Thunder of Zeus, in particular). Accordingly, reading this book at times imply that the reader has some prior knowledge about the Kings, pretenders and usurpers of Bactria and North-West India. Nevertheless, the contents of the book remain mostly fascinating, including the section on Ain Khanoun whose exact Greek name is unknown but which was a major Greek city and very probably the capital of the Bactrian Kingdom during the Second Century BC. It was provided with all the trappings of a Greek polis including a theatre, a gymnasium, a propylea, temples, an arsenal, a palace complete with treasury and mint which may have been installed under the reign of Antiochus I, either between 281 and 261 BC, or perhaps even during the 290s when he was the viceroy in the East. Interesting points also include a discussion of the once prosperous economy surrounding the capital, with the two rivers providing ample water for irrigated agriculture and mines nearby providing a large range of minerals including precious metals. The last sections, and in fact most of the book, are a dissertation on numismatics and, although scholarly, the author manages to avoid being boring and keep the reader interested (or, to be more accurate, he managed to keep me interested and focused!). It is in these sections that the specific types of coins are discussed, including those that are alluded to in the title (the "Golden King") and which include some of the largest silver and gold coins ever found. The composition and quality of the coins, and how these evolved and decayed over time are also discussed and used to show that the volume of coins expanded as the Kingdom became increasingly pressed and threatened, no doubt because it was needed to pay the soldiers and mercenaries. A final finding is that the capital was not destroyed but abandoned but its inhabitants (presumably mostly of Greek descent or Hellenized) with the local populations living in the countryside moving to occupy its remains, and not doubt pillage them. We simply do not know whether the inhabitants intended to come back (some coin hoards could support such a view) or even what happened to them. Maybe they joined other Greek communities in more defensible locations further South or maybe they emigrated to nearby India. They have simply left no further record.. REVIEW: I've just finished my first reading of Professor Frank Lee Holt's latest book 'Lost World of the Golden King: In Search of Ancient Afghanistan' recently published by University California Press. I say first reading because this is one of those books that I will find frequent occasion to refer to again, if not re-read for the pure joy of it (such as I have found to be the case with all Holt's books). It is a superbly written, entertaining and brilliantly informative account of the discoveries and personalities that have shaped our understanding of the Graeco-Bactrian realm and its abrupt demise, including the central role of numismatics in this endeavor. It tracks the development of numismatics from the simple 'Checklist Numismatics' approach (practiced by most collectors e.g the Twelve Caesars approach to collecting), through 'Framework Numismatics' to the latest development 'Cognitive Numismatics'. The latter is a term coined by Holt to describe how the interpretation of coins through the 'chaîne opératoire' can provide massive insights into the people and times of their production and circulation, removing the focus from the king or issuing authority to the common man/woman, the broader sweep of history and forces that shaped it.... cognitive numismatics make the coins speak! I highly recommend it to anyone remotely interested in modern numismatics and the integration of the latter with history and archaeology. Although specific to Bactria in the context of the book, the learning arising from cognitive numismatics, which is still an evolving discipline, is equally applicable to to interpretation and understanding of the broader sweep of the last two and one half millennia of history. Fascinating stuff indeed and a great companion to Holt's seminal works 'Thundering Zeus: The Making of Hellenistic Bactria' and 'Into the Land of Bones: Alexander the Great and Afghanistan'. It is a must read for anyone even remotely interested in the making of the history of Bactria. REVIEW: This is the latest book by the author who has an unparalleled knowledge of Bactria, a country often neglected by and unfamiliar to most historians. I absolutely enjoyed his earlier books: Into the Land of Bones, Alexander the Great and Bactria and Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions, as no one knows Bactria more intimately than Frank Holt. He was my mental guide and support-source when I visited Uzbekistan, so I couldn't skip reading this latest update of his. As always, his work is very precise and consistent. After Alexander's conquests in 329-327 BC, the country somehow kept many of its invested Greek influences, eventually giving birth to the Greco-Bactrian kingdom followed by the Indo-Bactrian rule. However, after repeated and devastating attacks by its nomad neighbors, the empire of "a thousand cities" vanished and from the tenth century onwards only the name of Bactria survived. We had to wait till the eighteenth century when a Greek coin was unearthed and the first explorers started their search. Frank Holt follows them step by step, all through the 18th and 19th century, analyzing their assessments and holding their conclusions against today's still sparse knowledge about the Bactrian Kingdom. Not all the coins carry an inscription with the name of their Basileus and those who do so don't specify if we are looking at Eucratides I or II, Demetrius I or II, or Diodotus I or II, while on the other hand we still have no way to put them conclusively in their correct chronology. The studies of these earlier explorers have their merit, of course, but archeology has evolved since then, new techniques have been applied and the entire study of numismatic evidence has progressed. Meanwhile, one of the "thousand cities" has been located and excavated extensively by Paul Bernard (1964-1978) till modern wars put everything on hold and destroyed his painstaking work. By now Ai Khanum at the far northern border of today's Afghanistan has made headlines and most of his precious finds have found shelter inside the walls of several museums (see the exclusive and still traveling exhibition, Afghan Gold Treasure). Frank Holt uses the excavation results and artifacts from Ai-Khanum to reconstruct as much as possible of Bactria, whose most famous king was Eucratides. His huge golden "Eucratidion", was the very first coin that rose from Bactria's ashes. Sporadic texts and inscriptions, together with the various hoards add further information but also raise more questions. All in all, the reader will get a fresh look at Bactria, its kings and heritage. Beside a full chapter about the mining and minting techniques including the knowledge involved, Frank Holt's book offers a wealth of information about every possible aspect of life after the campaign of Alexander the Great in the furthest northeastern corner of his empire. REVIEW: Solid (if sometimes dense) explanation why no narrative history of Bactria exists (at least any reliable one) and why Bactrian studies is still pretty far away from constructing a narrative history. Holt's scholarship can't be faulted though I admit that Bactrian numismatics is all pretty new to me. But the magic was that I'd bought this book as a precursor to reading Tarn's 'The Greeks in Bactria and India,' and I didn't quite get what I'd wanted but Holt convinced me why what I wanted wasn't quite a right approach to Bactrian history anyway. Highly recommended for anyone interested in Greco-Bactrian history. Dense but worth it. REVIEW: This book is a good book in trying to trace the history of a region and ruler not well researched. It also tries to encapsulate the various ways in which historians have been re-writing history of this region. A part of the book though gets into hypothetical possibilities extrapolated multiple times just based on a single or very few instance/s of evidence. Interestingly, this book actually counters another book for the same reason. Overall, a great book to read and understand even how history is written. REVIEW: Dr. Holt writes very well. His book is well paced, well written and clearly has a sense of what prose is supposed to sound like. He is also a good story teller. He is not hard to read and is very informative. He also provides some good narratives. I may also be biased because I have taken four classes with him, and I read it for his numismatics class, but I genuinely mean what I say. He knows how to inform and tell a good story. REVIEW: With all that's going on in Afghanistan today, it's important to look back into history to see what lessons can be learned. The scholarly detective work is fascinating, and the destruction of ancient artifacts and archaeological finds is sickening. REVIEW: Not a 'history of the Bactrian kingdoms through numismatics', as I thought it would be; but it was a 'history of the development of Bactrian numismatics' ... which was, perhaps, even more interesting. Superb ... you'll feel clever just reading it. I always ship books Media Mail in a padded mailer. This book is shipped FOR FREE via USPS INSURED media mail (“book rate”). All domestic shipments and most international shipments will include free USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site) and free insurance coverage. A small percentage of international shipments may require an additional fee for tracking and/or delivery confirmation. If you are concerned about a little wear and tear to the book in transit, I would suggest a boxed shipment - it is an extra $1.00. Whether via padded mailer or box, we will give discounts for multiple purchases. International orders are welcome, but shipping costs are substantially higher. Most international orders cost an additional $12.99 to $33.99 for an insuredshipment in a heavily padded mailer, and typically includes some form of rudimentary tracking and/or delivery confirmation (though for some countries, this is only available at additional cost). There is also a discount program which can cut postage costs by 50% to 75% if you’re buying about half-a-dozen books or more (5 kilos+). Rates and available services vary a bit from country to country. You can email or message me for a shipping cost quote, but I assure you they are as reasonable as USPS rates allow, and if it turns out the rate is too high for your pocketbook, we will cancel the sale at your request. ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per book (for each additional book after the first) so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. All of our shipments are sent via insured mail so as to comply with PayPal requirements. We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. That’s why all of our domestic shipments (and most international) shipments include a USPS delivery confirmation tag; or are trackable or traceable, and all shipments (international and domestic) are insured. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs). Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world - but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the "business" of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly - even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE."

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