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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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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.
SH56739. Silver tetradrachm, Nicolet-Pierre Thionèsis pl. III, 6; BMC Arabia p. 291, 3 and pl. LV, 12, aVF, weight 10.379 g, maximum diameter 28.8 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


Kingdom of Characene, Thionèsis I, c. 25 - 18 B.C.

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The Kingdom of Characene was founded by Aspasine, a rebellious satrap of Antiochos IV. It controlled the head of the Persian Gulf and was an important link in the trade with India. It's 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.
SH29171. Silver tetradrachm, Nicolet-Pierre Thionèsis pl. V, 21 - 23 var. (various letters under arm), VF, weight 15.061 g, maximum diameter 27.8 mm, Charax Spasinu mint, 24 - 23 B.C.; obverse diademed head with long beard; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ΘIONHΣIOΣ behind, ΣΩTHPOΣ / KAI EYEPΓETOY before, Herakles naked seated left on a cuirass holding club, monogram above arm, P below arm, date ΘΠΣ (year of the 289 Seleukid era) in exergue; double-struck, grainy, scratches; rare; SOLD


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

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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 being able to go there, as Alexander did.
SH32734. Bronze AE 17, apparently unpublished, SNG ANS -; SNG Cop; Lindgren -; cf. BMC Arabia p. 290, 3 (Tiraios II), F, weight 1.676 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 0o, Spasinou-Charax mint, obverse diademed, bearded bust right; reverse ATT[AM]BHΛ[OY], Nike walking left, extending wreath in right; possibly unique; SOLD


Kingdom of Characene, Attambelos III, c. 53 - 72 A.D.

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The Kingdom of Characene was founded by Aspasine, a rebellious satrap of Antiochos IV. It controlled the head of the Persian Gulf and was an important link in the trade with India. It's 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.
GB66283. Bronze tetradrachm, cf. BMC Arabia p. 296, 1 ff.; Mitchiner ACW 728 ff., F, countermarks, weight 15.505 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 0o, Spasinou-Charax mint, c. 53 - 72 A.D.; obverse diademed and bearded head right; countermarks: anchor, monogram, 3rd uncertain; reverse BA / ATTAMB - CWTHS / KAI (or similar), Herakles seated left on cuirass, club resting on knee in right hand, left hand on cuirass behind, uncertain letter below right arm, Seleukid era year in exergue; SOLD


Kingdom of Characene, Attambelos IV, c. 53 - 71 A.D.

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GB35565. Bronze tetradrachm, BMC Arabia p. 297, 7 (Attambelos III); Mitchiner ACW 728 ff. (same), aVF, weight 15.157 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, Spasinou-Charax mint, c. 63 - 64 A.D.; obverse diademed and bearded head right; reverse [BA A]TTAM - CWTH [KAI] (or similar), Herakles seated left on rock, club on ground in right hand behind, right arm extended, uncertain letter below arm, TO(E?) (year 375 Seleukid era) in exergue; SOLD


Kingdom of Characene, Attambelos IV, c. 53 - 71 A.D.

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GB37421. Bronze tetradrachm, BMC Arabia p. 291, 1 ff. (Attambelos III, various dates), aF, reverse rough, weight 12.993 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Spasinou-Charax mint, obverse diademed and bearded head right; reverse BAC ATTAM CWTHP KAI (or similar), Herakles seated left on rock, club on ground in right hand behind, right arm extended, uncertain letter below arm, uncertain date in exergue; SOLD


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