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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Persia & Mesopotamia||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of Persia and Mesopotamia

Also included on this page are coins minted under Persian rule in other regions of the Persian Empire.


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos I Nikator, 312 - 281 B.C., Babylonia, In the Name of Alexander the Great

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Price dates this type 311 - 305 B.C. Houghton dates it 311 - 300 B.C. Houghton notes that Kritt down-dated the chronology due to the complexity of the emissions and that two hoards independently support the revised dating.
GS91298. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 82(3)e, Price 3761b (same rev. die), SNG München 796 (same), Müller Alexander 748, HGC 9 10f, SNG Cop -, SNG Alpha Bank -, gVF, well centered, bold strike with high relief dies, speckled toning, tiny edge splits, weight 16.865 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 30o, Mesopotamia, Babylon (Hillah, Iraq) mint, 311 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress forelegs tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back, MI over rudder left, MYPT monogram (no pellet in P) in wreath below throne, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) in exergue; $350.00 (€308.00)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Antigonos I Monophthalmos, Strategos of Asia, 320 - 306 B.C., In the Name and Types of Alexander

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Antigonos I Monophthalmos ("the One-eyed") was a nobleman and strategos (general and governor) under Alexander the Great. Upon Alexander's death in 323 B.C., he established himself as one of the successors and declared himself King in 306 B.C. The most powerful satraps of the empire, Cassander, Seleucus, Ptolemy, and Lysimachus, answered by also proclaiming themselves kings. Antigonus found himself at war with all four, largely because his territory shared borders with all of them. He died in battle at Ipsus in 301 B.C. Antigonus' kingdom was divided up, with Seleucus I Nicator gaining the most. His son, Demetrius I Poliorcetes, took Macedon, which the family held, off and on, until it was conquered by Rome in 168 B.C.
GS91301. Silver tetradrachm, In the name of Alexander; Price 3726, Müller Alexander 728, SNG Cop 840, SNG Alpha Bank -, SNG München -, VF, struck with attractive style sculptural high-relief dies, centered on a tight flan, uneven toning, bumps, light scrapes, weight 16.808 g, maximum diameter 26.7 mm, die axis 180o, Mesopotamia, Babylon (Hillah, Iraq) mint, under the satrap Peithon, 315 - 311 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress, forelegs tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ in exergue, Zeus seated left on high backed throne, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, right leg drawn back, feet on footstool, eagle in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, (AX monogram) left, MYHP monogram in wreath (no pellet in the P) under throne; $350.00 (€308.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos I Nikator, 312 - 281 B.C., Babylonia, In the Name of Alexander the Great

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Price dates this type 311 - 305 B.C. Houghton dates it 311 - 300 B.C. Houghton notes that Kritt down-dated the chronology due to the complexity of the emissions and that two hoards independently support the revised dating.
GS87610. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Saroglos 648 (same dies), Houghton-Lorber I 82(4)b, Price 3752, Müller 735, SNG Mün 794 var. (no pellet), SNG Cop 833 var. (same), HGC 9 10f, VF, high relief dies, uneven toning, compact flan, bumps and marks, reverse slightly double struck, weight 16.584 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 45o, Mesopotamia, Babylon (Hillah, Iraq) mint, 311 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress forelegs tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back, MI left, MYPT monogram (pellet in P) in wreath below throne, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) in exergue; $270.00 (€237.60)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Philip III Arrhidaeus and Alexander IV, 323 - 317 B.C.

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Struck in the name of King Philip III Arrhidaeus, Alexander the Great's half-brother, under the regent Perdikkas. Philip III and Alexander's infant son, Alexander IV, were made joint kings after Alexander's death. Philip was the bastard son of Philip II and a dancer, Philinna of Larissa. Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, allegedly poisoned her stepson Philip III as a child, leaving him mentally disabled, eliminating him as a rival to Alexander. Neither Philip III nor Alexander IV was capable of actual rule and both were selected only to serve as pawns. The regents held power, while Philip III was actually imprisoned. In 317, Philip was murdered by Olympias to ensure the succession of her grandson.
GS87632. Silver tetradrachm, Price P182, Müller Alexander P103, Demanhur 4601, SNG München 969, SNG Cop 1077, SNG Saroglos –, VF, high relief, centered on a tight flan, rose toning, scratches and marks, some porosity, weight 16.902 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 270o, Mesopotamia, Babylon (Hillah, Iraq) mint, c. 323 - 317 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress, forelegs tied at neck; reverse Zeus seated left on throne, feet on footstool, right leg drawn back, eagle in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, ΦIΛIΠΠOY downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) in exergue (off flan), M left, B under seat above strut; struck under Archon, Dokimos, or Seleukos I; $260.00 (€228.80)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus III the Great, c. 223 - 187 B.C.

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At the age of eighteen, Antiochus III inherited a disorganized state. Much of Anatolia had been lost and the easternmost provinces had revolted and broken away. After some initial defeats, Antiochus took Judaea from Ptolemaic Egypt and then conquered Anatolia, earning him the epithet "the Great." In 192 B.C. Antiochus invaded Greece with a 10,000-man army, and was elected the commander in chief of the Aetolian League. In 191 B.C., however, the Romans routed him at Thermopylae, forcing him to withdraw to Anatolia. The Romans followed up by invading Anatolia and defeating him again. By the Treaty of Apamea 188 B.C., Antiochus abandoned all territory north and west of the Taurus, most of which the Roman Republic gave either to Rhodes or to the Attalid ruler Eumenes II, its allies. Many Greek cities were left free. As a consequence of this blow to the Seleucid power, the provinces which had recovered by Antiochus, reasserted their independence. Antiochus mounted a fresh eastern expedition. He died while pillaging a temple of Bel at Elymaïs, Persia, in 187 B.C.
GS87609. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 1167(1), Newell ESM 254, SNG von Post 576, VF/F, scratches and marks, pitting, corrosion, minor edge flaking, weight 15.471 g, maximum diameter 29.7 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukia on the Tigris (Bagdad, Iraq) mint, 204 - 187 B.C.; obverse Antiochos' diademed head right, middle aged portrait, horn-like lock of hair above ear; reverse Apollo naked seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on grounded bow behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on left, monogram in exergue; $215.00 (€189.20)
 


Parthian Empire, Orodes II, 57 - 38 B.C.

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The severed head of the Roman general Crassus was presented to Orodes II during a performance of Euripides' tragedy, The Bacchae. It was used as a prop, carried by one of the actors in the play. In Rome it was said the Parthians poured molten gold into his mouth as a symbol of his thirst for wealth.
GS89569. Silver drachm, Sellwood 47.5, Shore 239, Sunrise -, VF, toned, nice portrait, reverse off center, weight 3.935 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, obverse diademed and draped bust left with short beard, top of head flat, torque ending with pellet, no wart, wavy hair covering ear, star upper left, crescent horns up upper right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / BAΣIΛEΩN − APΣAKOY − EYEPΓET / ∆IKAIOY − EΠIΦANOYΣ / ΦIΛEΛΛHNOΣ squared legend around, beardless archer (Arsakes I) seated right on throne, wearing bashlyk and cloak, bow in extended right, K (mintmark) below bow, squared seven-line legend around; ex Ancient Imports (Marc Breitsprecher); ex Michigan State Numismatic Society Auction (Nov 1998), part of the Parthian Collection lot; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Kingdom of Edessa, Mesopotamia, Abgar X with Gordian III, 242 - 243 A.D.

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Abgar X Frahad bar Manu was raised to the throne when Gordian III recovered Mesopotamia from the Persians. His rule and the Kingdom of Edessa both ended with Gordian's assassination and a Sassanid takeover in 244 A.D.
GB88990. Bronze AE 24, BMC Arabia p. 115, 148; Babelon Edessa 97; cf. SNG Cop 225 (draped and cuirassed), SNG Hunterian 2579 (same), aVF, dark patina with red earthen highlighting, tight flan, porous, weight 9.952 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 0o, Mesopotamia, Edessa (Urfa, Sanliurfa, Turkey) mint, 242 - 243 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC CEB, laureate bust of Gordian III right, slight drapery on left shoulder, star lower right; reverse ABΓAPOC BACIΛEYC, draped bust of Abgar right, bearded, wearing a diademed Parthian-style tiara, star behind; ex Dmitry Markov Coins & Medals; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Gordian III and Tranquillina, May 241 - 25 February 244 A.D., Singara, Mesopotamia

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In the winter of 114, Trajan's eastern campaign captured Singara, located at the northern extremity of Mesopotamia, without a fight. Rome withdrew from all Mesopotamia in 117, but Septimius Severus took city again in his the Parthian campaign of 197. He made it a strongly fortified Roman colony and the home of Legio I Parthica. Extremely arid surroundings aided its defense. During the reign of Constantius II, despite a gallant defense by the townspeople and two legions, in 360 it was captured and sacked by the Sassanids.
RP91455. Bronze AE 31, SNG Cop 256; SNG Righetti 2646; BMC Arabia p. 135, 8; Lindgren-Kovacs 2627, VF, well centered, brown patina, a couple corrosion pits at 6:00 on obverse, weight 21.738 g, maximum diameter 30.8 mm, die axis 180o, Singara (Sinjar, Iraq) mint, 242 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AVTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANON CAB TPANKVΛΛINA CEB, confronted busts of Gordian on left, laureate, draped, and cuirassed, and Tranquillina on right, draped and wearing stephane; reverse AVP CEΠ KOΛ CINΓAPA (Aurelia Septimia Colonia Singara), Tyche seated left on rock, wearing turreted crown, veil, mantle, and chiton, branch in right hand, left hand on rocks behind, half-length figure of river-god Mygdonius swimming left at her feet, Centaur Sagittarius shooting arrow left above; big 31mm bronze!, from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Parthian Empire, Mithradates III, c. 87 - 79 B.C.

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Mithradates III and his brother Orodes II murdered their father. Orodes became king of Parthia. At first he made Mithridates king of Media but then deposed him. Mithridates was forced flee to Roman Syria but returned, and made himself king of Parthia. He was besieged in Seleucia by Orodes forces, defeated, captured and executed.
GS92034. Silver drachm, Sellwood 31.6 (Orodes I); Shore 123 (Orodes I); BMC Parthia p. 42, 1 (Sinatruces); Sunrise 308 var. (six pointed star), VF, toned, scratches, light corrosion, small edge split, weight 3.661 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rhagae (Ray, part of Tehran, Iran) mint, c. 87 - 79 B.C.; obverse bearded bust left, wearing tiara ornamented with three rows of pearls and eight-pointed star, pellet ended torque; reverse archer (Arsakes I) seated right on throne, wearing bashlyk and cloak, left foot drawn back, bow in right hand, seven-line squared legend around: BAΣIΛEΩΣ MEΓAΛOY in two lines above, AP−ΣAKOY downward on right, ATOKPATOPOΣ ΦIΛOΠATPOΣ in two upside-down lines below, EΠIΦANOYΣ ΦIΛEΛΛHNOΣ in two downward lines on the left; ex Ancient Numismatic Enterprise (ANE); $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Kingdom of Elymais, Kamnaskires-Orodes, Mid 2nd Century A.D.

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Elymais was the biblical Elam and home of the magi. With its capitol at Susa, it was a small kingdom in what is now Iran and Kuwait. The Kingdom of Elymais struck coins from the middle of the 2nd century B.C. until their defeat by the Sasanians in 227 A.D.
GB91984. Bronze drachm, vant Haaff 12.3.1-2A2; BMC Arabia p. 270, 90 ff. (Kamnaskires-Orodes II); SGICV 5910 var. (Kamnaskires-Orodes III, double crossbar), nice VF, some porosity, tiny encrustations, tiny edge splits, weight 3.859 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, Mid 2nd Century A.D.; obverse long bearded diademed bust facing, bunches of hair at sides and on top; to right, pellet inside crescent above anchor with single crossbar, pellet between shoulder and anchor; reverse dashes; $80.00 (€70.40)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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Catalog current as of Sunday, October 13, 2019.
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Persia and Mesopotamia