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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Hellenistic Monarchies| ▸ |Kingdom of Characene||View Options:  |  |  | 

Kingdom of Characene

The little Kingdom of Characene was founded by Aspasine, a rebellious satrap of Antiochos IV. Occupying the lower part of the Tigris valley and the shores at the head of the Persian Gulf, it was an important link in the trade with India. Its capital and mint city was Charax Spasinou. Several of its kings are only known from their coins, which are dated by the Seleucid era. The kingdom was later under Parthian control and then conquered by the Sasanians. It is said that Trajan visited the capital Charax during his invasion of Parthia and seeing the ships sailing to India lamented for not being younger and able to go there, as Alexander did.


Kingdom of Characene, Attambelos I, c. 47 - 24 B.C.

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Nicolet-Pierre, "Thionèsis, roi de Characène (25/24-20/19 ou 19/18 avant J.-C.)" in Revue Numismatique. 6e sér. 20 is the primary reference for Attambelos and Thionèsis, his successor. It does not include an example of an Attambelos coin for this date. The date is included in the listing on p. 52 with the note, "Trésor 1976 ?" This note seems to be questioning if an example was in the hoard found in 1976, the hoard which provided the impetus for her research. Prior to discovery of that hoard, and in accordance with Hill, it was believed Attambelos' coinage and presumably his reign ended in Seleukid year 279, 34 - 33 B.C. Nicolet-Pierre includes a specimen dated Seleukid year 288, 25 - 24 B.C.; which is now believed to be the last year of Attembelos' reign.
GS55016. Silver tetradrachm, Nicolet-Pierre Thionèsis -, Hill Attambelos -, et al. -; cf. Nicolet-Pierre Thionèsis, pl. IV, 18 (SE 288, same monogram above arm), aVF, weight 14.621 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 0o, Charax-Spasinu mint, 26 - 25 B.C.; obverse diademed head with long beard; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ATTAMBHΛOY behind, ΣΩTHPOΣ / KAI EYEPΓETOY before, Herakles naked seated left on a cuirass holding club, monogram above arm, Π below arm, ZΠΣ (year 287 Seleukid era) in exergue; possibly unique; SOLD


Kingdom of Characene, Attambelos I, c. 47 - 24 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Characene was a kingdom controlling the head of the Persian Gulf, important link in the trade with India, and was founded by Aspasine, a rebellious satrap of Antiochos IV. The kingdom was later under Parthian control and then conquered by the Sasanians. It is said that Trajan visited the capital Charax during his invasion of Parthia and seeing the ships sailing to India lamented for not being younger and not able to go there, as Alexander did.
SH00003. Silver tetradrachm, Nicolet-Pierre Thionèsis pl. III, 6 var. (no letter below arm), VF, weight 15.11 g, Charax Spasinu mint, 41 - 40 B.C.; obverse diademed head with long beard; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ATTAMBHΛOY behind, ΣΩTHPOΣ / KAI EYEPΓETOY before, Herakles naked seated left on a cuirass holding club, monogram above Herakles' arm, M below it, Seleucid date BOΣ (year 272 Seleukid era) in exergue; SOLD


Kingdom of Characene, Attambelos I, c. 47 - 24 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Characene at the head of the Persian Gulf was important link in trade with India. It was founded by Aspasine, a rebellious satrap of Antiochos IV. The kingdom fell under Parthian control and then to the Sasanians. Trajan visited the capital Charax during his invasion of Parthia and seeing the ships sailing to India lamented for not being younger and not able to go there, as Alexander did.
SH56738. Silver tetradrachm, Nicolet-Pierre Thionèsis pl. III, 6; BMC Arabia p. 291, 3 and pl. LV, 12, aVF, crack, weight 8.902 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 0o, Charax Spasinu mint, 41 - 40 B.C.; obverse diademed head with long beard; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ATTAMBHΛOY behind, ΣΩTHPOΣ / KAI EYEPΓETOY before, Herakles naked seated left on a cuirass, club in right, leaning on left, monogram above Herakles' arm, BOΣ (year 272 Seleukid era) in exergue; SOLD







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REFERENCES

Hill, G. Attambelos I of Characene. Numismatic Notes and Monographs, no. 14. (New York, 1922).
Hill, G. Catalogue of the Greek Coins in the British Museum: Arabia, Mesopotamia and Persia. (London, 1922).
Mitchiner, M. Oriental Coins: the Ancient and Classical World. (London, 1978).
Nelson, B., ed. Numismatic Art of Persia. The Sunrise Collection, Part I: Ancient - 650 BC to AD 650. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
Nicolet-Pierre, H. "Thionèsis, roi de Characène (25/24-20/19 ou 19/18 avant J.-C.)" in Revue Numismatique, 6e sér. 20 (1978), p. 46-55.

Catalog current as of Friday, December 13, 2019.
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Kingdom of Characene