Who is Diodotus - Greek Myth

Diodotus, Seleucid satrap of Bactria, rebelled against Antiochus II (about 255 BC) and became the founder of the Graeco-Bactrian kingdom (Trogus, Prol. 41; Justin xli. 4, 5, where he is called Theodotus; Strabo xi. 515). His power seems to have extended over the neighbouring provinces. Diodotus was a contemporary, a neighbour, and probably an ally of Andragoras, the satrap of Parthia, who at about the same time also proclaimed independence from the Seleucid Empire.

Now let us find out who is Diodotus, Is he a Greek King or Mauryan Emperor Ashoka.

Diodotus according to Greeks
Diodotus wrestled independence for his territory from the Seleucid ruler Antiochus II, who was embroiled in a war against Ptolemaic Egypt:
Diodotus, the governor of the thousand cities of Bactria (Latin: "Theodotus, mille urbium Bactrianarum praefectus"), defected and proclaimed himself king; all the other people of the Orient followed his example and seceded from the Macedonians. (Justin, XLI,4 )
Arsaces, the chieftain of the nomadic (Dahan) tribe of the Parni(east Parthia), fled before him into Parthia and there eliminated Andragoras, the former satrap and self-proclaimed king of Parthia, and became the founder of the Parthian Empire (Strabo l.c.).

"Soon after, relieved by the death of Diodotus I, Arsaces made peace and concluded an alliance with his son, also by the name of Diodotus; some time later he fought against Seleucos who came to punish the rebels, but he prevailed: the Parthians celebrated this day as the one that marked the beginning of their freedom" (Justin, XLI,4).

Diodotus I Issued Gold and bronze coins, some of which are struck in the name of Antiochos. Diodotus Soter appears also on coins struck in his memory by the later Graeco-Bactrian kings Agathocles and Antimachus.

Ashoka is Diodotus
  • We can see both are same by the following points
  • Same Era -Both lived in the same era. Both died at the same date.
  • While we have no inscriptions for Diodotus , we have no coins from Ashoka.
  • Being Neibhours both don't acknowledge each other.
  • Both called themselves the Emperor's of the orient.
  • Ashoka started as the governer of some provinces of his father Bindusara(Amitrochates or Allitrochades), Who was friendly with Antiochus I and entertained by ambassadors from Syria and Egypt.
  • During Bindusara period, there was revolt in Taxila(same place of Arsaces), was put down by Bindusara and subsequently another revolt was putdown by Asoka after he ascended the Mauryan throne.
  • In The Nittur Edict Ashoka Calls Himself The Ruler Of Parthavi(Parthia)Lion is as much Royal symbol of Macedonians as Mauryans
  • Stupa's are similar to West Asian Stupas
  • The Kandahar Edict clearly shows Ashoka as the master of Arachosia, whereas the numerous coins of Diodotus-I found from this area indicate that Diodotus was the sovereign of this region.
  • Ashoka has many names, Priyadarsin(Piodasses),Devanapriya, Devadutta, the last term should be seen as Diodotus to greco-Romans, like Sandracuttas (chandragupta Maruya)
  • Ashoka mentions his nearby kingdoms in Girinar inscription as coda, pida, satyaputo(Mysore Jains), ketaleputo, Tambapanni(ceylon), Antiyoka(seleucid-syria), , ptolemy(Egypt), Gongakenos(Gonatus-Macedone), Magas(cyrene-libya),Alexander II(Epirus-Alabania,Greece). So his Empire extended into West Asia. In short he acknowledges kingdoms all west Asia ,but not Diodotus
So Ashoka is Diodotus and Diodotus is Ashoka , the emphasis on the name priyadarsin after the conquests has made him different ruler to the contemproary historians. Maybe the western historians dont want to acknowledge that an Indian Empire stretched to Greece.


  1. very intresting these points make me believe that ashoka and diodotus I are one and the same.
    Is it not possible that if ashoka is diodotus that ashoka may not be indian at all. what if he is a greek. Diodotus coins show a clearly greek portrait. ashoka coins show no portrait.

    1. He is not a greek because he is mentioned in the Puranas of all Indian traditions and none of them mention he is of foreign land. So the question of him being a Greek doesn't occur.. And depictions can be made from perception. For example, the Gandhari school of art was different from Mathura school of art which is different from other schools of art in India. Depictions are not evidences. Dates, dynasties, archaeology are evidences. However, I do not believe Ashoka of Maurya ever met the greeks. It is Samudragupt Ashokaditya who met the Greeks. According to the Indian traditions, Ashoka of Mauryas was Ashokvardhana and not of it is mentioned in any of the edicts or the Greeco-records.

  2. While we have no inscriptions for Diodotus , we have no coins from Ashoka. Inscriptions clearly state Ashoka is indian king. Next the lineage of Ashoka is very clear , while that of Diodotus is not.

  3. Dear friend,

    King Priyadarsi (with a spiritual title of Asoka) issued about 200 edicts. He was variously identified with Asoka Mauryan, Phraates and Diodotus.

    However, all this is not true. In fact, this problem arises because he is pegged to 3rd C. He does not belong to 3rd C at all. He belongs to late 2nd c- early 1st c.

    He hails from Avani(means Earth, prithvi which is mentioned in his edicts also mean Earth) near the Kolar Gold mines,Karnataka.

    For details, please visit my group


    and post your query for good discussion.



  4. 1.A ruler named priyadarsi ruled all of India and even nearby countries in 1st to 2nd century AD and we have no records from other rulers of the age.
    2.This king from Kolar left edicts in all parts of India and abroad ,but nothing in kolar

    This blog is created precisely to fight types of lies you are propagating, Dont post again this type of lies.

    It is well attested that these are Mauryan edicts and they belong to Asoka the great.

  5. This sounds completely bizarre! The distribution of Ashoka's inscriptions clearly shows that his empire encompassed the Indian subcontinent and that Arachosia (Kandahar) and Paropamisadae (Kabul valley) where at the periphery of his possessions. Only two of his inscriptions are located there (even allowing for the fact that some of the pillars may have been moved during intervening millenia). There are probably more than a dozen in Karnataka! Diodotus did not rule over any part of the Indian subcontinent nor has any coin of his been found anywhere in India, nor has it been claimed by Strbo, Arrian, Justin et al that he ever ruled over India (though his successors did). Just because Ashoka does not mention Diodotus doesn't make him Diodotus. By the same token, Ashoka did not mention Androgorus or Arsaces, who were his neighbours too, so why shouldn't they become Ashoka either? Ashoka's title of Devanampiya is mentioned by Patanjali in his Mahabhashya as a common regal title in India, so a convoluted and dubious etymology conncting Diodotus to Devanampiya does not seem right. Ashoka's use of Greek in his Kandahar incription is no surprise, there were Greek communities in Arachosia and Ashoka's inscriptions were always translated to local languages (including local Prakrits) by scribes - the eveidence is there in the inscriptions themselves. As for his mention of Hellenistic rulers in Egypt, Macedonia, Anatolia etc. - he had a Seleucid empire in his court (Dionysius) and the Mauryans and the Seleucids regarded themselves as peers and maintained friendly relations (up to the time of Antiochus II's expedition to Bactria in 205 BC) - he certainly wouldn't have seen a rebellious Bactrian satrap like Diodotus as his equal! Ranajit Pal, whose website has been referred to in this blog, has spewed a lot of rubbish on the internet, including Palibothra being in Eastern Iran, it is easy to spout any nonsense on the internet without any burden of proof!!!

  6. Dear Anindya
    1.We don't know the extend of Ashoka empire, so how do you say Kabul valley is on the periphery.

    2.you have been talking as though Ashoka consulted you before doing anything.

    Please bear the facts.

    a)Greeks does not know Ashoka

    b)Puranas say two Ashoka's Maurya Ashokavardhan ruled in 1500BC and Samundragupta Ashokaditya ruled in 3rd century BC.

    c)Buddhist have Gonanada Ashoka and Maurya Ashoka and there is kal Ashoka as well.

    3)Priyadarshin and Devanampiya are titles used by Chandragupta as well. And there is a separate king Devanampiya.

    Indology scholars have clubbed together all the Ashoka's into one. Now coming to your point, you have to tell which Ashoka you are talking about.

    Greeks talk about Andracottus and Amitragata. Where is Ashoka

    Puranas don't talk about Diodotus

    Buddhist are on a totally different line. Now prove to me that Ashoka of yours exist.

    Start with my article on Megasthanes:-


  7. Responding to your points first:

    1. As I mentioned in my post, the geographical distribution of Ashoka's inscriptions provides a very good view of the extent of his empire - and that shows that the Kabul valley is at the periphery of his empire. Also, Kabul valley, which formed part of the Paropamisadae satrapy of the Seleucid empire was ceded to Chandragupta Maurya by Seleucus I Nikator(along with Arachosia, Gedrosia and Aria) and therefore formed the northwestern extremity of the Mauryan empire.

    2. If you do read the source documents, it might clear up for you many of the bizarre hypotheses being bandied round in the internet.

    a) True, no Greek record exists that mentions Ashoka by name. That of course does not prove anything. Greks do not mention any Indian king after Suphagasenus in 205 BC, does that mean no Indian kings existed after 205 B.C.?

    b)Please mention which Purana you are talking about. I have not seen any Puranic mention of Samudragupta Ashokaditya, nor does Samudragupta use that epithet in any of his inscriptions (including the posthumous prasasti by Harisena). The Puranas do mention Ashoka as a Mauryan emperor and the Puranas do state that Mahapadma Nanda ascended the throne of Magadha 1,000 years after the Kurukshetra war - from memory that is the Vishnupurana, but I may be wrong. The Puranas have no concept of "1500 B.C." and they do not provide any accurate chronology in any case.

    c)Which Buddhist source are you talking about? The Ashokavadana (part of the Avadana literature) and the Pali chronicles on Sri Lanka clearly mention one emperor Ashoka who is portrayed as a legendary patron and benefactor of Buddhism. Kalashoka is clearly mentioned in the Pali canon as belonging to the Shishunaga dynasty and anterior to the Maurya. The Ashoka of the Gonarda dynasty is mentioned by Kalhan. Kalhan lived in the 11th century CE and from his description it seems to be a close match with the Mauryan emperor. But Kalhan cannot be taken at face value when he is writing about events nearly 1,500 years before his time.

    c) Where have you seen any epigraphic evidence that Chandragupta Maurya called himself Priyadassi and Devanampiya. Ashoka calls himself both of these titles and further says that other kings called themselves Devanampiya before, which is true as per Patanjali's evidence. Ashoka's grandson Dasaratha also calls himself Devenampiya in the Barabar caves inscription. But we know that the Devanampiya Piyadassi of the Ashokan inscriptions is Ashoka because of two minor rock edicts, at Maski (Karnataka) and Gujjari (near Jhansi) where the name is clearly mentioned.

    My main point is very simple - Diodotus cannot be Ashoka because he never ruled in India as per the Greek authors, further proved by the complete absence of his coins in India. Whereas Ashoka, proved by Buddhist sources and his inscriptions, ruled all over India. The fact that Diodotus' gold coins have been found in Arachosia, which was part of Ashoka's empire, does not prove the identification, because Arachosia bordered Diodotus' Bactrian kingdom and there must have been significant trade between India and Bactria.

    Also, Mauryan and Kushana coinage was the punchmarked coins that have been used in India since the 5th century BC. Mauryan punchmarked coinage are found in abundance all over India contemporaneous to Diodotus' coins in Afghanistan. "Modern" coinage was not issued by Indian kings till the 1st or 2nd century CE.

  8. 1.There are three types of inscriptions.
    a) pillar edicts
    b) Minor Rock Edicts
    c) Major Rock Edicts
    now Pillar edicts and Major edicts are said to be the same period. But minor edicts are not considered to be same period. And there are many disputes on the age, nature of edicts.
    Now the Aramic and Greek edicts are not considered to be part of the Major edicts.
    To cut short the discussion. Not everyone agrees all the edicts are of same king or same time period. My point here is that there is no proof that these edicts are by Ashoka. How do you say that the edicts by Ashoka are proven.

    You are saying that Kabul valley(whatever you mean by that) was ceded by selucus to Chandragupta Maurya. Now again how do you say it is Maurya chandragupta. As per puranic dating the king who was ruling at that time will be Chandragupta II of Gupta Dynasty , not even Chandragupta I of Gupta Dynasty. Greek accounts does not say any maurya anywhere. How do you take that it is chandragupta Maurya when Greek accounts does not say so and Puranic account clearly disputes it.

    You are not even specific about the territory, generally you are saying kabul valley. what is kabul valley.

    2.YOu dont seems to have any source, and your vague idea is even more bizaare. Kindly produce backup material. If you dont like Ranjith pal that is not my problem.

    a) So no greek at that time knew about the greatest emperor of the time and you say no big deal, You are just funny. Let us go by what Greeks say. Who was the king Xandrames from whom sandrocuttus unsurped power.

    b)Which purana are you talking about. All purana date kaliyuga from 3100BC that is after the death of Krishna. You dont know vishnu purana, Where does vishnu purana say 1000 years from kurushetra war? If you dont know puranas, dont spit on them. It is like to spitting on yourself. You have not provided any reference to Ashoka you are going to Mahapadmananda.

    c)What are the dates of Kala ashoka, Gonanda ashoka and Ashoka by buddist accounts according to you.

    d)So according to your theory devanmpiya and piyadasi are not exclusive to Ashoka. There is a major controversy regaring minor edicts, they are not considered to be part of Major and pillor edicts, That we will say later.

    My point is even simpler Ashoka is Diodotus. Greek know him as Diodotus. And my contention is Chandragupta is also Diodotus. The Name Diodotus comes from name Devadutta. Devadutta is Devanmpiya. If you have read properly there are two diodotus, Father and son. Father broke away from the main empire and with son they signed a treaty to restore peace.

    You are just dishing out whatever was dished out to you by Indologist.

  9. Great stuff, this. Love it, love it. 'Diodottus' would sound to me like a reasonable Greek rendition of 'Devadutta'. But I'm neutral on this. Completely neutral, I swear it.

    Guys, how about trying the 'Null Hypothesis'?

    (1) Those who're convinced that Diodotus was NOT Asoka, compile evidence that he WAS. If you DO get substantial evidence, YOU are INCORRECT, discard your old belief; and

    (2) Those who're convinced that Diodotus WAS Asoka, compile evidence that he was NOT. If you DO get enough evidence, YOU are INCORRECT, discard your old belief.

  10. Hi JiwaAmdanNegara

    You hit nail on its head, that is exactly the problem. Nobody starts neutral. Everybody first have a conclusion and then they search the reasons. That is what I am fighting here.

    But you have to take this from me. Nowhere you can find 100% percent information. Even if you find 100% information, you will not have single interpretation.

    In this article, I have rubbed both sides on the wrong way using the same tactics they use. Now what should happen: All the angry persons should throw facts at me. But What do I get, lot of abuses and plain non-sense.

    That is the pity, History has become a farce

  11. Hi Modasattva. Thanks.

    Let me just put in my simple, neutralist 2 rupees' worth on this.

    To my mind, that Greeks called Asoka Diodottus doesn't automatically have to mean that Asoka was a Greek. He could still be 100% Indian, but Diodottus might just have been the name that the Greeks liked to call him by. Just like they 'Grecianised' Khouroush to Kyrus, Dara to Darius and Khshayarsha (i.e. Khashayar Shah), to Xerxes, when those men were clearly out-and-out Persians.

    If you add to that the propensity of ancient historians/scholars, whether Greek, Indian or any other, for making stupendous mistakes of fact, then to me it's not impossible that the man whom the Greeks called Diodottus was exactly the same person whom the Indians called Asoka Maurya.

    Whether he was a Greek, an Indian or a hybrid Greco-Indian would then be another issue. In that regard, that story about Seleucus's peace-deal 'gift' of a so called Macedonian princess (one of his daughters or nieces?) to Chandragupta Maurya would spring to mind.

    From my own amateur surveys too, there is also apparently considerable speculation, including among not a few Indian scholars, that Chandragupta (Sandrokottos) was the same person as Sashigupta (Sissikottos), of which source also points to his being a Ashvaka Kamboja of north west India, rather than an east Indian of eastern Magadha.

    Now if you go along (let's just say) with the Kamboja Chandragupta line, then you have to decide whether his being an Ashvaka Kamboja makes him an ethnic Indian or an ethnic Iranian.

    I thought I was already nearing the end part of my own little 'research' on Chandragupta Maurya. Now then, this blog has really put a spanner in my works. Oh well. That's what makes life interesting, doesn't it?

    How about you try the duck persona some time, Modasattva. Then just treat the abuse like water on your back. It's cool, both literally and otherwise.

  12. There is lot of confusion if you go by Greek Sources.

    Follow these articles, You may get the sense of what I am saying

    Megasthanes - Chandragupta

    Date of Buddha



    Now it brings to the question, who is this Ashoka we are talking about, let along equating Ashoka with Diodotus.

  13. Hi JiwaAmdanNegara
    Nice talking to you
    The Difference between Amateur and Professional is just the political connections that professional has who approve the work.

    Coming to Sasicuttos- androcottus - sandracottus. We are yet decide who is sandracottus of the greek sources or Sasicottus. Chandra and Sasi meanings are same. So both can be same or different. Guptas have two chandragupts. Chandragupta I is the father of Samundragupta and Chandragupta II samudragupta's son. You find that there was another Gupta elder brother of Chandragupta II between Samudragupta and Chandragupta II. This CG II fits the greek description of Sasicottus. But that is another story.

    Where is Kamboja country. Bhoja means king in Mahrastra and Karnataka are and you will find in many places Bhoja and Mahabhoja used instead of Raja and Maharaja. KamBhoja may be Karnata Bhoja, Please see the article on Kambojas and eventhough we can decide Kamboja in Northwest India, it is very difficult to pinpoint which area was Kamboja at a particular time, since the dates of the sources are also not firmly accepted and we have a very fluid situation.

    Iran - India
    We dont have a firm boundary for Iran(persia) and India in ancient times. Alexander proclaims he has won in India, when he is still in Eastern Iran. So that is one more Sticky point.

    The ideas keep changing , I am not the same person when I started this blog. Writing the blog is a learning experience. And I am sure that would be same for you since you started writing your thesis. It is not easy to disbelieve things we have been fed since early years of education.

  14. I would say my interest covers both Chandragupta Maurya + Maurya Dynasty and Chandragupta of Gupta and his dynasty. But right now I'm focusing more on CGM with his possible Ashvaka ancestry.

    My understanding of Kamboja the people is that the lands they settled spanned Pamir, Badakshan, Bahlika (Bactria),Sugadha (Sogdiana), Massaga (where Queen Timmeya a.k.a. Tomyris whupped Khouroush a.k.a. Cyrus, now in Kunar-Swat region, I believe) (that's also where Queen Kryppia a.k.a. Cleophis gave Alexander a bruising fight) and adjacent areas. Yes, it's a rather wide area.

    My belief is that many of today's Pushtun, Punjabi + other Afghans & Pakistanis, perhaps Kashmiris also, + western North Indians too, would likely have Kamboja ancestry. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    But folks say the purest descendants of Kamboja may be the native Tajiks. Since Tajiks also believe that the Samanid kingdom was their first formal kingdom, then folks that time living in core Samanid territories to me would also likely have Kamboja descent.

  15. Now You Kamboja identification is based on Alexander Historians, It is worth reading the article.

    Myth of Aleander Victory in India.

    Kalidasa also talks about Kamboja during Raghu Campaign

  16. Only once advice. There are Kamboja People and Kamboja country

    Don't Mix the two.

  17. Well, folks always have a tendency to aggrandise their achievements, don't they? Kings and generals were no exception.

    The original Kamboja country, I would believe, still spanned Pamir-Badakshan-Massaga-Sugadha-Bahlika-Gandhara areas. It was just a part of the even vaster Aryavarta of ancient times.

    I also happen to believe, like some people do, that Cymmerians (Greek: Kimmeroi) and Kamboja (Greek: Komoi, Komdei) once formed part of the same Indo-Iranian tribe originating from southernmost Central Asia, or southernmost Eurasia.

    They just split up into two branches and went separate ways, Cymmerians to Northern Caucasus (initially), and Kamboja to Western Himalayas, under pressure from a more dominant tribe, possibly Shaka-Scythian or Median.

    Some people believe that elements of that original Cymmerian-Kamboja tribe mixed with with (even) lighter skinned northern people to give rise to the Goths, while others among them mixed with dark haired people south of the Himalayas to result in the Persians.

  18. You are ready to see all the baseless speculation of the west, but not the Sanskrit literature that gives the most details.

  19. Moda - The nub of the matter is as you state

    >>>>While we have no inscriptions for Diodotus , we have no coins from Ashoka.<<<<

    1. Diodotus was NOT a king - but a Bactrian coinmaker.

    2. Coin making In India was NOT a State monopoly. So, you wont find any coins in any large quantities of Indian kings - or if any, very crude and simplistic.

    3. Bactrian coin makers were very famous - and their coins were made cupro-nickel alloy.

    4. Nickel was refined and isolated in modern times in 1751.

    5. So.where did the Bactrians gets nickel from?

    6. It was NOT Greek technology - because Greek coins did not use curpro-nickel at all.

    7. After the end of the Bactrian coin era, cupro-nickel also stopped.

    8. At least one-third of India is a Raja, Kumar, Kumari, Chakravarthi, Rani, Selva, Selvan, and other such names. Does not make us kings.

    9. These Greek coin makers also used some crazy names - and that is all. Bharattantra gave them that freedom.

    10. The key to this is Takshashila. Bactria was close to Takshashila.

    11. Takshashila's decline, currently dated after its 'destruction' by the Hunas is completely unfounded in fact or evidence.

    12. On the other hand, Alexander's killing of 8000 Brahmins in the Takshashila region has been well-documented.

    13. The problem of dating Buddha you have covered in another post. Now extend the dating problem - to Takshashila.

    14. You know that Indian history is dated to fit the Ussher-Lightfoot chronology.

    15. My hypothesis -

    - Takshashila's decline is post-Alexander's raid and massacre at Takshashila.

    - Nickel was sourced from Takshashila technologists.

    - Bactrian decline was due to non-availability of curpro-nickel coins.

    - You have also covered the point about Indian yavanas in one of your posts.

    - Another website which proposes this Ashoka-Diodotus Theory is by Ranajit pal - who is an unabashed Helleno-phile. His theories and ideas are usually highly suspect.

  20. Coin makers are independent business? that is a new theory.

    Why would one make copper-nickel coins. They will be worthless without Royal Patronage. Only Gold coins will be worth something.

    The point is you can make coins, but who will use them without official patronage unless they are gold coins. The theory that Coin makers are independent business look untenable.

    Ranjith pal is a christian missionary. I had chat with him on facebook. He has an agenda. But this theory of diodotus being Ashoka came from him, though my point of view is totally different from his. His theory is all known good things of India happened in Persia.

  21. If the Coins have been issued by Janapadas or Republics(which were plenty during Alexander invasion), then they would have carried motifs of the Janapadas.

    Another point, What about Darius, he did not do any harm to Takshashila

  22. >>Ranjith pal is a christian missionary. I had chat with him on facebook. He has an agenda<<

    The penny drops.

    >>Coin makers are independent business? that is a new theory. Why would one make copper-nickel coins. They will be worthless without Royal Patronage.<<

    OK. This is unfortunately, not a new theory. It is very old fact. Have you heard of cowrie shells being used as currency in India? Did cowrie shells have Royal patronage? The first time that fiat currency was accepted in India was after 1974.

    Anyway, I am in the process of publishing a post on coin-making industry. If it is OK with you, I can link that post here. I have avoided putting links to my blog, as that may be construed wrongly.

  23. As you can see, I have not gone in that direction. You can link the post.

  24. Greeks were originally indo aryan


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