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Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosphorus

Ancient Coins from the Kingdom of Bosporus in the Forum Ancient Coins shop

Anokhin, V.A. Monetnoye delo Bospora (The Coinage of the Bosporus). (Kiev, 1986).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry and P.P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (1992 and supplement).
Frolova, Nina A. The Coinage of the Kingdom of Bosporus AD 69 - 238. BAR International Series 56. (Oxford, 1979).
Lindgren, H & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coinage of Asia Minor and the Levant. (San Mateo, 1985).
Lindgren, H. C. Lindgren III: Ancient Greek Bronze Coins from the Lindgren Collection. (1993).
Maonald, D. An Introduction to the History and Coinage of the Kingdom of the Bosporus, Classical Numismatic Studies 5. (Lancaster, 2005).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 4: Bosporus - Lesbos. (New Jersey, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume IX, British Museum, Part 1: The Black Sea. (London, 1993).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume XI, The William Stancomb Collection of Coins of the Black Sea Region. (Oxford, 2000).
Wroth, W. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Pontus, Paphlagonia, Bithynia. (London, 1889).
Zograph, A.N. Ancient Coinage, Part II, Ancient Coins of the Northern Black Sea Littoral. (Oxford, 1977).

[...and the works of the Russian numismatists Burachkov, Giel, Oreschnikov, and Podschivalov: cf. Koehne, Mus. Kotschoubey; Latyschev, Inscr. ant. Orae Septent. Pont., Vol. II; Brandis, s. v. ‘Bosporus’ in Pauly-Wissowa.]

The ‘archons’ and ‘kings’ of the Cimmerian Bosporus of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., did not issue regal coinages, but the money of their time must be looked for in the rich civic currency of Panticapaeum (q. v.). The following regal issues are subsequent to the fourth century B.C.

Paerisades. Head of king, diademed, rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΑΙΡΙΣΑΔΟΥ Athena seated holding Nike. AV stater imitated from the staters of Lysimachus. Podschivalov assigns the varieties of this coin to Paerisades III, IV, V, VI, who ruled circ. B.C. 280 to B.C. 100 (see BMC Pontus, p. xxix).

Spartocus. Head of king, rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ [Σ]ΠΑΡΤΟΚΟΥ Bow in case. AR Attic didrachm. Second century B.C. (= Spartocus IV?, son of Paerisades) (BMC Pontus, p. xxix).

Leucon II or III. Æ, inscribed ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΛΕΥΚΩΝΟΣ. Types: Head of Herakles, rev. Bow and club; Head of Athena, rev. Fulmen; Shield and spear, rev. Bow in case. Second century B.C. ? (BMC Pontus, p. xxx).

The Bosporan coinage of Mithradates VI Eupator, king of Pontus, is described under his name, supra, p. 502.


504
Pharnaces II, B.C. 63-47, son of Mithradates VI Eupator, struck AV staters for his kingdom of Bosporus; obv. Head of king, diademed, rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΑΡΝΑΚΟΥ, Apollo with branch and lyre, seated before tripod (BMC Pontus, p. xxxi).

Asander, B.C. 47 (or 44-431) to 16, issued AV and Æ with inscr., ΑΡΧΟΝΤΟΣ ΑΣΑΝ ΔΡΟΥ; also AV with inscr., ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΣΑΝΔΡΟΥ; obv. Head of Asander, rev. Nike on prow (BMC Pontus, p. xxxi). Also AV of his widow Dynamis, ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΗΣ ΔΥΝΑΜΕΩΣ (Annali di Corr., 1841, p. 320; von Sallet, Beiträge ... Cimm. Bosp., p. 15).

Hygiaenon. First century B.C. Known only from a silver coin reading ΑΡΧΟΝΤΟΣ ΥΓΙΑΙΝΟΝΤΟΣ (Imhoof, Porträtköpfe, p. 34).

Akas. AV stater, like that of Paerisades, inscr., ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΚΟΥ.

Second century B.C. (Imhoof, Porträtköpfe, p. 35).

The later kings of Bosporus who issued coins are as follows :—

Aspurgus. B.C. 81-A.D. 38 ?
Rhescuporis I. A.D. 14-42.
Mithradates. A.D. 42-46.
Gepaepyris, wife of Mithradates ?
Cotys I. A.D. 46-78.
Rhescuporis II. A.D. 78-93.
Sauromates I. A.D. 93/4-123/4.
Cotys II. A.D. 123/4-131/2.
Rhoemetalces. A.D. 131/2-153/4.
Eupator. A.D. 154/5-170/11
Sauromates II. A.D. 172 (or 174/5)-210/11.
Rhescuporis III. A.D. 211/12-228/9.
Cotys III. A.D. 227/8-234/5 ?
Sauromates III. A.D. 229/30-232/3.
Rhescuporis IV. A.D. 233/4-234/5.
Ininthimeus. A.D. 234/5-239/40.
Rhescuporis V. A.D. 239/40-276.
Sauromates IV. A.D. 275/6.
Pharsanzes. A.D. 253/4-254/5.
Synges. A.D. 258-276.
Teiranes. A.D. 275/6-278/9.
Thothorses. A.D. 278/9-308/9.
Rhadamsades. A.D. 308/9-322/3.
Rhescuporis VI (VII?). A.D. 303/4-341/2.

The money issued by the above mentioned kings consisted of (i) A stater coinage. Until circ. A.D. 124, this coinage (by the exceptional privilege of the Roman Emperors) was of gold (123-120 grains). The metal, however, deteriorated into electrum, and, finally, through the stages of billon or potin, passed into bronze. These staters bear on one side the reigning Emperor’s head (without inscription); on the other, the king’s head with inscription, e. g. ΒΑCΙΛЄΩC CΑΥΡΟΜΑΤΟΥ. The staters bear dates of the Pontic Era, Oct. B.C. 297. (ii) Bronze coinage. The coins bear marks of value Η, ΙΒ, ΚΔ, and ΜΗ = 8, 12, 24,


505

and 48 noummia νουμμια; but there is much variation in size and weight, even in the case of pieces bearing the same mark of value (BMC Pontus, p. xxxiv). The king’s head generally appears on the obverse. Reverse types—Labors of Herakles (Sauromates II); Aphrodite (?) seated; Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus; City-gate; Nike with wreath and palm; Ivory chair, crown, shield, etc., the ΤΕΙΜΑΙ (timai τιμαι) or marks of honor sent to the king by the Roman Emperor and Senate; King trampling on captive; etc.