|Zoilos II Soter ("The Saviour")|
Zoilos II Soter (Greek: Ζωΐλος Β΄ ὁ Σωτήρ; epithet means "the Saviour") was an Indo-Greek king who ruled in eastern Punjab. Bopearachchi dates his reign to c. 55–35 BC, a date approximately supported by R. C. Senior. The name is often Latinized as Zoilus. It is possible that some of his coins were issued by a separate king, Zoilos III.
Zoilos seems to have been one of the rulers who succeeded the last important Indo-Greek king Apollodotus II the Great in the eastern parts of his former kingdom. All these kings use the same symbol as Apollodotus II, the fighting Pallas Athene introduced by Menander I, and usually also the same epithet Soter (Saviour). It is therefore possible that they belonged to the same dynasty, and Zoilus II could also have been related to the earlier king Zoilus I, but the lack of written sources make all such conjections uncertain. He may have been the Bactrian ally of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) and Cleopatra VII referred to by Virgil in his vision of the Battle of Actium in The Aeneid, Bk.VIII, 688: Hinc ope barbarica variisque Antonius armis, victor ab Aurorae populis et litore rubro, Aegyptum viresque Orientis et ultima secum Bactra vehit. (Antony, with barbarous wealth and strange weapons, conqueror of eastern peoples and the Indian shores, bringing Egypt, and the might of the Orient, with him, and furthest Bactria).
Zoilos II issued silver drachms with diademed portrait and Pallas Athene in rather crude style, and two sorts of bronzes in various denominations: "Apollo, with tripod and small elephant", and "Elephant and tripod".
The portraits attributed to Zoilos II could be divided into two groups; one depicting a balding man with hollow cheeks, the other a seemingly younger man with a fringe and round cheeks. As numismatic evidence indicates that the younger portraits are later, recent research has suggested that they be attributed to a younger king, Zoilos III Soter, who would then have been a son and successor of the older Zoilos.
In particular, the mint mark which is characteristic of the coins of Zoilos with a full head of hair, is a later mint mark used down to the last Indo-Greek kings Strato II and Strato III, suggesting a later reign for Zoilos III. This mint-mark however was never used by the "balding" Zoilos II, or by any king before him.
The Indo-Scythian king Bhadayasa also copied coins of Zoilos II, or the hypothetical Zoilos III, only mentioning his own name on the Kharoshthi legend of his coins.
Many of the monograms on the coins of Zoilos II are in Kharoshti, indicating that they were probably made by an Indian moneyer. This is a characteristic of several of the Indo-Greek kings of the eastern Punjab, such as Strato I, Apollodotus II, and sometimes Apollophanes and Dionysios. Furthermore, the monogram is often identical on their coins, indicating that the moneyer, or the place of mint, were the same.
The coins of Zoilos II combine Greek monograms with Kharoshthi ones, indicating that some of the celators may have been native Indians. The Kharoshthi monograms are the letters for: sti, ji, ra, ga, gri, ha, stri, ri, bu, a, di, stra, and śi. The "Apollo and tripod" and "Elephant and tripod" types only have Kharoshthi monograms, while the portrait types usually have combinations of Greek and Kharoshthi monograms. The monogram 62 (below) has been shown to be the last Indo-Greek monogram, and only appears on the younger portraits that may belong to Zoilus III.
The coins of Zoilos II have been found in the Sutlej and Sialkot II hoards, and in Punjab hoards east in the Jhelum (Bopearachchi, p138).
Also, 25 coins of Zoilos II were found under the foundations of a 1st-century BC rectangular chapel in the monastery of Dharmarajika, near Taxila.
Two coins of Zoilos II were also found in the Bara hoard near Peshawar, together with coins of the Indo-Scythian kings Azes I, Azilises, Azes II.
A coin of Zoilus II was overstruck on a coin of Apollodotus II.