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


published on 29 January 2013

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The listing of sources is useful, in which we find some still unpublished ones, and the reviews of important works like those of W.W. Tarn and A.K. Narain.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 emphasise 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.

About the Reviewer

Antoine Simonin
Passionate about ancient Central Asia. Maintains the website From Bactria to Taxila. Works in the Europa Barbarorum project.