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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Anatolia ▸ BithyniaView Options:  |  |  |   

Bithynia

The kingdom of Bithynia held a considerable place among the minor monarchies of Anatolia. The coins of the Bithynian kings depict their regal portraits in a highly accomplished Hellenistic style. Nicomedes IV, the last king of Bithynia, was defeated by Mithridates VI of Pontus, and, after being restored to his throne by the Roman Senate, bequeathed his kingdom by will to the Roman Republic in 74 B.C. Under Rome, the boundaries of Bithynia frequently varied and it was sometimes united with Pontus. For securing communications with the eastern provinces, the monumental Bridge across the river Sangarius was constructed around 562 AD. Troops frequently wintered at Nicomedia. The most important cities were Nicomedia, founded by Nicomedes, and Nicaea. The two had a long rivalry with one another over which city held the rank of capital. At a much earlier period the Greeks had established on the coast the colonies of Cius (modern Gemlik); Chalcedon (modern Kadiköy), at the entrance of the Bosporus, nearly opposite Byzantium (modern Istanbul) and Heraclea Pontica (modern Karadeniz Eregli), on the Euxine, about 190 km east of the Bosporus.


Kingdom of Bithynia, Nikomedes II Epiphanes, 149 - 128 B.C.

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Nikomedes II accompanied his father, Prusias II, to Rome in 167 B.C., where he was brought up under the care of the Senate. His father, favoring a younger sibling for succession, decided to assassinate him. But Nikomedes discovered the plot, seized the throne and put his father to death. He remained faithful to Rome, assisting in the war with Attalus, king of Pergamus in 131 B.C.
SH63494. Silver tetradrachm, BMC Pontus p. 213, 3; Rec Gen II.3 p. 229, 40; Cohen Dated 443; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Tub -, VF, dark hoard patina with some chipping (stabilized), weight 14.896 g, maximum diameter 33.6 mm, die axis 0o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 129 - 128 B.C.; obverse diademed head right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ EΠIΦANOYΣ NIKOMH∆OY, Zeus Stephanophoros standing left, wreath extended in right, long scepter vertical behind in left, eagle left on thunderbolt in inner left field above monogram over ΘΞP (year 169); $270.00 (€240.30)
 


Kingdom of Bithynia, Prusias II Kynegos, 185 - 149 B.C.

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Prusias II, son of Prusias I, inherited his father's name but not his character. He first joined with Eumenes of Pergamon in war against Pontus, but later turned on Pergamon and invaded. He was defeated and Pergamon demanded heavy reparations. Prusias sent his son Nicomedes II to Rome to ask for aid in reducing the payments. When Nicomedes revolted, Prusias II was murdered in the temple of Zeus at Nikomedia.
GB83585. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 640; BMC Pontus p. 210, 8; Rec Gen II.3 p. 225, 26; SNGvA 256 var. (monogram); HGC 7 629; SGCV II 7266, aEF, nice green patina with a few tiny edge chips, pre-strike flan adjustment marks, weight 4.496 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, c. 180 - 150 B.C.; obverse head of young Dionysos right, wreathed with ivy; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠPOYΣIOY, centaur Chiron standing right, playing lyre, his cloak flying behind, NΦ monogram inner right under raised foreleg; $270.00 (€240.30)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Koinon of Bithynia

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The mint location for the Koinon of Bithynia is uncertain but it was probably Nicomedia. Nicomedia was the Roman metropolis of Bithynia. Diocletian made it the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system. Nicomedia remained as the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Roman Empire until co-emperor Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Chrysopolis in 324. Constantine resided mainly in Nicomedia as his interim capital for the next six years, until in 330 when he declared the nearby Byzantium (renamed Constantinople) the new capital. Constantine died in his royal villa in the vicinity of Nicomedia in 337. Due to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople.
RP84486. Bronze AE 21, RPC Online III 1017 (3 spec.); Rec Gen I.2 p. 241, 38; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; 38; BMC Pontus -, gF, brown patina, some roughness, smoothing on reverse, reverse die breaks, cracks, weight 25.115 g, maximum diameter 33.2 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain (Nicomedia?) mint, 2nd issue; obverse AYT KAIC TPAI A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate head right; reverse octastyle temple (Temple of Rome and Augustus at Nicomedia?), Corinthian columns, on podium of two steps, pellet between middle columns, pediment ornamented with a small figure holding a scepter and sacrificing on an altar, KOI-NON in divided line flanking across center, BEIOYNIANC over prow right in exergue; from the Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection, ex Classical Numismatic Group e-auction 349 (22 Apr 2015), lot 263; better than the RPC plate coin; very rare; $240.00 (€213.60)
 


Kingdom of Bithynia, Prusias II Kynegos, 185 - 149 B.C.

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Prusias II, son of Prusias I, inherited his father's name but not his character. He first joined with Eumenes of Pergamon in war against Pontus, but later turned on Pergamon and invaded. He was defeated and Pergamon demanded heavy reparations. Prusias sent his son Nicomedes II to Rome to ask for aid in reducing the payments. When Nicomedes revolted, Prusias II was murdered in the temple of Zeus at Nikomedia.
SH71012. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 636; BMC Pontus p. 211 and pl. 38, 12; Rec Gen II.3 p. 225, 26; SNGvA 256 var. (monogram); HGC 7 629; SGCV II 7266, VF, flan adjustment marks, weight 5.468 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 45o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, c. 180 - 150 B.C.; obverse head of young Dionysos right, wreathed with ivy; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠPOYΣIOY, centaur Chiron standing right, playing lyre, his cloak floating behind, ΠM monogram inner right under raised foreleg; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Dia, Bithynia, 85 - 65 B.C.

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Mithradates VI Eupator "the Great"expanded his Pontic Kingdom through conquest, which inevitably brought him into conflict with Rome. Mithradates regarded himself as the champion of the Greeks against Rome, however, after three years of war, he was defeated by Pompey the Great.
GB79968. Bronze AE 21, SNG Stancomb 807; SNGvA 347; Callata˙ pl. XLIX, B; Rec Gen p. 342, 3; HGC 7 453 (S); SNG BM 1560 ff. var. (no monogram r.); SNG Cop 404 var. (same), gVF, attractive style, well struck on a tight flan, nice green patina, weight 7.690 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Dias mint, under Mithradates VI of Pontos, 85 - 65 B.C.; obverse laureate, bearded head of Zeus right; reverse eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head right, wings open, monograms left and right, ∆IAΣ below; rare city; $160.00 (€142.40)
 


Kingdom of Bithynia, Prusias II Kynegos, 185 - 149 B.C.

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Prusias II, son of Prusias I, inherited his father's name but not his character. He first joined with Eumenes of Pergamon in war against Pontus, but later turned on Pergamon and invaded. He was defeated and Pergamon demanded heavy reparations. Prusias sent his son Nicomedes II to Rome to ask for aid in reducing the payments. When Nicomedes revolted, Prusias II was murdered in the temple of Zeus at Nikomedia.
GB83586. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 640; BMC Pontus p. 210, 8; Rec Gen II.3 p. 225, 26; SNGvA 256 var. (monogram); HGC 7 629; SGCV II 7266, VF, nice green patina with a few small edge chips, marks and scratches, pre-strike flan adjustment marks, weight 5.864 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 0o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, c. 180 - 150 B.C.; obverse head of young Dionysos right, wreathed with ivy; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠPOYΣIOY, centaur Chiron standing right, playing lyre, his cloak flying behind, NΦ monogram inner right under raised foreleg; $160.00 (€142.40)
 


Kios, Bithynia, c. 340 - 330 B.C.

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Traditionally, the earliest precious metal coinage of Kios has been dated after Alexander the Great's capture of Kios in 334 B.C. More recently, however, Oliver Hoover and other numismatists suggest this type, struck on a Persic standard, was probably minted to pay mercenaries to defend against Alexander's invasion, which began in 336 B.C.
GS75225. Silver 1/4 siglos, SNG Cop 378; SNG Berry 911; Rec Gen I.2 p. 312, 4, pl. XLIX, 24; HGC 7 554 (R1); cf. SNGvA 504 (1/2 siglos); BMC Pontus p. 130, 11 (same), VF, light toning, irregular shaped flan, slightest eching and porosity, weight 1.170 g, maximum diameter 11.8 mm, Kios (near Gemlik, Turkey) mint, Proxenos, magistrate, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, KIA below; reverse war galley prow left, hull ornamented with star over apotropaic eye, ΠPOΞ/ENOΣ (magistrate's name) in two lines one above and one below; $155.00 (€137.95)
 


Kios, Bithynia, c. 340 - 315 B.C.

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Traditionally, the earliest precious metal coinage of Kios has been dated after Alexander the Great's capture of Kios in 334 B.C. More recently, however, Oliver Hoover and other numismatists suggest this type, struck on a Persic standard, was probably minted to pay mercenaries to defend against Alexander's invasion, which began in 336 B.C.
GS75224. Silver 1/4 siglos, Rec Gen I.2 p. 312, 4, pl. XLIX, 26; HGC 7 554 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Berry -; SNG Ashmolean -; BMC Pontus -; Klein -; Macdonald -, VF, tight flan, lightly etched and porous surfaces, weight 1.206 g, maximum diameter 11.1 mm, die axis 270o, Kios (near Gemlik, Turkey) mint, c. 340 - 315 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, KIA below (off flan); reverse war galley prow left, ornamented with an apotropaic eye, large ram, waves indicated on hull, TEIΣAN/∆POΣ (magistrate's name) in two lines one above and one below; very rare magistrate; $95.00 (€84.55)
 


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Nicaea, Bithynia

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Nicaea remained an important town throughout the imperial period. Although only 70 km (43 miles) from Constantinople, Nicaea did not lose its importance when Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Empire. The city suffered from earthquakes in 358, 362 and 368; after the last of which, it was restored by Valens. During the Middle Ages, it was a long time bulwark of the Byzantine emperors against the Turks.
RP84693. Bronze AE 20, Rec Gen II.3 p. 489, 715; Mionnet supp. V 870; cf. BMC Pontus p. 17, 119 (eagles vice capricorns); SNGvA 653 (1 eagle, 2 standards), VF, nice green patina, well centered, weight 20.4 g, maximum diameter 3.538 mm, die axis 180o, Nicaea (Iznik, Turkey) mint, 238 - 244 A.D.; obverse M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC AVΓ, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse N-I-K-A-I/EΩN, four standards, two center standards topped with capricorns, two outer standards topped with wreaths; $90.00 (€80.10)
 


Kios, Bithynia, c. 325 - 203 B.C.

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According to myth, Kios (Cius) was founded on the Propontis (Sea of Marmara) by Herakles when he accompanied the Argonauts. According to historians, it was founded in 626 - 625 B.C. by colonists from Miletos. Kios was often subject to greater powers, predominantly the Persian Empire until Alexander the Great invaded and took the city in 334 B.C. After disputes with Alexander's successors, Kios joined the Aetolian League, in opposition to Macedonia. In 202 B.C., Philip V of Macedonia and Prusias I of Bythinia destroyed the city and massacred, banished, or enslaved its citizens. Prusias built a new city on the site and named it for himself (Prusias ad Mare). After this atrocity, the Rodians asked the Roman Senate for help. The Romans seized this opportunity to invade Greece and defeat Philip V. In 74 B.C., after the death of King Nikomides III, the Romans occupied Kios and the whole of Bythinia. Under Rome, the name Kios was revived. An important link in the ancient Silk Road, Kios became a wealthy town.
GB71987. Bronze AE 14, SNG Cop 381; SNGvA 7004; BMC Pontus, p. 131, 20; Rec Gen I.2 7, VF, dark green patina, porous, weight 2.880 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 315o, Kios (Bursa, Turkey) mint, c. 325 - 203 B.C.; obverse young beardless male head (Mithras?) right, wearing a Phrygian cap and laurel wreath; reverse Kantharos between two bunches of grapes hanging on vines which emerge from the cup, A above, K-I divided by stem, all within wreath of two stalks of grain; rare; $85.00 (€75.65)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Saturday, September 23, 2017.
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Bithynia Coins