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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Parthian and Other Eastern Coins (Moderator: Howard Cole)  |  Topic: My Elymaean Album 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: My Elymaean Album  (Read 14340 times)
Stkp
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« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2018, 09:10:53 pm »

I deleted the crude 10.4.2-4A and re-posted, to correct the orientation of the obverse photo.
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-144145
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Robert L3
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« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2018, 09:32:59 pm »

Steve,

I've been thinking this evening about that VH 10.4.2-4A of yours.  Firstly, congrats on the pick-up.  I like these little drachms of the Uncertain Early Arsacid rulers of Elymais.

I may have to disagree with your description of the obverse portrait as "beardless."  I think the beard is there, but greatly worn.  For comparison to a similar type, VH 10.3.2-1.b, see your coin alongside the images from the book, below.  Note the worn beard on van't Haaff's coin and how the lower part of its shape, as it rises to the upper lip, is similar to yours.

I am also providing a side-by-side with one of mine, a 10.3 type of decent style.  I have to say the portraits seem fairly similar, although perhaps yours has a more scrunched-in nose.  I realize yours may be called a 10.4 (no pellet alongside the anchor) rather than a 10.3 (with pellet).  But, given the beard shape  so similar to some of the 10.3's, I'd almost be tempted to call yours a 10.3.2-1 variant (the variant being no pellet).  The reverse on your coin is well worn - so perhaps it indeed fits the "dashes of irregular style" description.  But given the wear I'm not sure we can be so certain.  And, of course, in any event, the 10.3.2-1.c has a completely degenerated reverse too.

Anyway, I'm just picking nits.  The distinguishing features between some of van't Haaff's types are so subtle - something I recall Doug Smith complaining about once - that narrowing down the attribution to particular subtypes based on the small grainy images in the book can be frustrating.

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Stkp
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« Reply #27 on: February 23, 2018, 07:48:34 pm »

Robert,

I believe that you are 100% correct about the beard. My conclusion was hasty. A beardless male bust on an Elymaean coin would be an anomaly. The default conclusion must be that the beard is there, but crudely portrayed, worn, and largely off flan (as in van't Haaff 10.3.2-1.b).

I had momentarily considered attributing the coin as a van't Haaff 10.3.2-1, but rejected the idea out of hand. My thinking was (a) van't Haaff does not portray any coins of that type with a reverse as degenerate as on my coin; (b) On first blush my coin does not have a star in crescent; and (c) My coin lacks a pellet to the left of the anchor.

Upon reconsideration, I think that you are right and that my coin is a van't Haaff 10.3.2-1 var. and not a van't Haaff 10.4.2-4A var. My reasoning is: (a) The bust on my coin is a much closer match to 10.3.2-1.b than to any of the busts depicted for any type 10.4 coin; (b) The reverses on a few of the type 10.3 tetradrachms are considerably more degenerate than on the few type 10.3 drachms depicted, which suggests that a reverse as degenerate as on my coin is not inconsistent with the type; (c) van't Haaff notes that the star on type 10.3 "morphs into a cross-like form" as the style degrades. The crude bust is indicative of degraded style. On closer examination, the rather worn and indistinct object within the crescent on my coin appears to be a cross-like form; and (d) Some of the tets on type 10.3 lack a pellet, which suggests that drachms of that type may similarly lack a pellet. Further, the pellet on some type 10.3 tets is to the right of the anchor. On closer examination, my coin appears to have a pellet to the right of the anchor, positioned as per 10.3.1D.

You have a good eye. Once again, thank you for the assistance.

I will be amending my description of the coin.

As to the criticism of van't Haaff, I have seen many other numismatic works which classify coins based on fine or subjective distinctions that are more subtle than those im van't Haaff.

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Robert L3
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« Reply #28 on: February 23, 2018, 08:45:11 pm »

Good analysis...thanks for sharing your thinking.  Looking forward to more of your coins!  It'll be awhile before I can post more of mine...I need to find time first to hunt for a new camera!
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« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2018, 08:19:17 am »

I'd hate to keep you waiting. Here are two more:

Orodes III (2nd century A.D.), van't Haaff 16.1.1-1
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-144177

and

Orodes IV (ca. 2nd half of 2nd century A.D.), van't Haaff 17.1.1-2
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-144178

Now please get that camera so that we can all see more of your latest acquisitions.

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Robert L3
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« Reply #30 on: February 24, 2018, 08:58:56 am »

Excellent additions from the hoard that keeps on giving.

That's the second VH 16.1 to be uploaded to Forum galleries in as many days.  Cool - what were the odds of that ever happening?  Boy, those Elymaean die engravers knew how to butcher Greek legends, didn't they?

Your 17.1, Steve, may have the most complete (visible) crescent-with-pellet above the anchor that I've seen on that subtype.  I'm not sure I've ever seen one completely on-flan like this.  Good pick-up!

The camera's going to have to wait a couple of weeks, until my spring break at earliest.  Then, of course, will be the trial and error learning period.  Hopefully I'll get stuff shot soon...

Bob
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« Reply #31 on: February 24, 2018, 10:02:49 am »

Nice discussion Smiley

Congratulation Steve, great piece,  Thumbs Up

Bob, we are waiting for your pictures from your interesting coins.  Wink Smiley Thumbs Up

Joe

p.s.
I have some pieces ( cc. 20-25) this kind of coins but I do not have any useful reference book on my shelf, but try to find something to attribute them.  Wink

Joe

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Robert L3
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« Reply #32 on: February 24, 2018, 11:06:03 am »

Quote from: quadrans on February 24, 2018, 10:02:49 am
...try to find something to attribute them.

That "something" could be us.
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« Reply #33 on: February 24, 2018, 11:44:41 am »

It is OK, Bob Smiley

Joe
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« Reply #34 on: February 24, 2018, 08:29:40 pm »

Thank you Robert and Joe. I was very happy to grab that 17.1.1-2 Stkp
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« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2018, 10:47:23 pm »

I just added an Orodes III, van't Haaff 16.3.2-1, to my gallery:
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-144863
The reverse does not fall neatly into any subtype. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Robert L3
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« Reply #36 on: March 18, 2018, 08:34:20 am »

The reverse does not fall neatly into any subtype.

Yep, another interesting variant.  Seems like Elymaean mint masters allowed their die engravers to explore their personal creativity where the reverses are concerned.

Congrats on the pick-up.
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« Reply #37 on: March 24, 2018, 06:52:26 am »

A very nice Orodes III, van't Haaff 16.2.1-1
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-144995
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Robert L3
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« Reply #38 on: March 24, 2018, 06:55:33 am »

 Thumbs Up
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Molinari
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« Reply #39 on: March 24, 2018, 09:31:22 am »

The nose on Orodes is particularly great.
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« Reply #40 on: April 28, 2018, 01:48:34 pm »

My most recent is an Orodes IV (ca. 2nd half of 2nd century A.D.), van't Haaff 17.1.1-1 http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-145815
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« Reply #41 on: June 27, 2018, 08:09:30 pm »

I just added an Osroes (1st quarter of 2nd century A.D.), van't Haaff 15.3.1-1, to my gallery. From what I have seen, this is a less common type:
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147478
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Robert L3
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« Reply #42 on: June 27, 2018, 09:24:44 pm »

Nice addition.  As you may know, Oliver D. Hoover, in his review of van't Haaff's book in the ANS magazine in 2008, argued that van't Haaff blundered in his listing of types 15.1, 15.2, and 15.3.  Hoover suggested that these are in fact issues of the Parthian Osroes, not an Elymaean ruler from the Arsacid family.  Sellwood type 80's include various AE denominations with Osroes/Tyche combos.  Although the following is a tetrachalkous (unlike yours), consider the similarities in style: http://parthia.com/coins/si_osr1.jpg

Hoover wrote: "Van’t Haaff divides the coinages of Phraates and Orodes III by three small bronze emissions of Osroes (types 15.1–15.3). These almost certainly depict the Parthian king of that name rather than a local Elymaean ruler (compare the portrait with D. Sellwood, Introduction to the Coinage of Parthia [London, 1980], no. 80), as has sometimes been suggested. Their style and lack of the usual Elymaean anchor symbol shows that they are out of place between these two Elymaean monarchs. They are probably regular Parthian issues of this king. Despite their appearance in the French excavations of Susa, it is not impossible that the coins of Osroes were actually struck elsewhere."  For the full review see: http://numismatics.org/magazine/elymaeansummer08/

Van't Haaff actually addressed the issue on page 25 of his book, acknowledging that "the attribution of Type 15 coins has been controversial" and that some scholars have posited that they are issues of Osroes of Parthia.  I am inclined to think so too.  What's interesting to me is that your coin, Stkp, is - I assume - not from the "French excavations of Susa" that Hoover refers to above, from which, presumably/implicitly, the heretofore known specimens of type 15 came - but, rather, from whatever recent dig(s) resulted in this flood of drachms that has hit the market in the past couple of years.  (From which both of our collections have benefitted)  Frustratingly, I don't think there's been any documentation about the specifics of that excavation...but I'm not certain about that.  Do you know if there have been other type 15's in the listings from the recent find(s)?

So, assuming the coin is of Parthia's Osroes, and that the find spots for these have now extended over different parts of what was Elymais in antiquity, it does raise interesting questions.  What was the relationship between Osroes and Elymais, beyond the Arsacid tie?  Was he the defacto ruler of both Parthia and Elymais for a time?  Was he forcing his coinage - perhaps minted in Parthia-proper - upon Elymais for a period?  Was there an incursion/occupation?  Was the possible "forcing" of his coinage upon Elymais a warning to Elymaean Arsacid supporters of Volo III?  I am intrigued by van't Haaff's comment that "Bell retains the coins (type 15) in the Elymaean series, but doubts whether there was a separate Elymaean king Osroes."  What's that all about?  Again, it begs the question: Why have Parthian coins of Osroes (if that's what they are) shown up in Elymaean find spots?  I have no clue, but it's fun to speculate.  Interesting stuff, at least for me.
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« Reply #43 on: June 29, 2018, 11:46:07 am »

Robert,

Thanks for the detailed commentary on the coin. I had forgotten about Oliver Hoover's critique of van't Haaff's attribution (and I keep a printout of his review inside the covers of the book). I will be including a discussion of Hoover's thoughts in my (updated) description of the coin.

My coin was purchased from one of the two dealers responsible for the recent flood of Elymaean bronze coins. As such, it is most probably from the same hoard as the rest of this flood of coinage (assuming that both dealers obtained portions of a single hoard), and not from the excavations to which Hoover referred. It is the only coin of its type that I have noticed being offered since I began to seriously collect this series. For that reason, I was very happy to obtain it, notwithstanding that it is not the ideal specimen of the type. You raise some interesting questions. We at least now know that the presence of this type in association with Elymaean finds is not limited to the excavations to which Hoover referred.

As always, I am pleased to be the beneficiary of your knowledge of and passion for this coinage.

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Robert L3
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« Reply #44 on: June 29, 2018, 03:23:27 pm »

I see that, in their entry for Elymais, Iranologie.com also acknowledges that there may have been only one Osroes (that is, that Parthia's Osroes was one and the same with the king of van't Haaff's type 15):

"Not much is known about the events following the ascent of the Arsacid cadet branch to the throne of Elymais...One of these late rulers might have been a certain Osroes whose coins have on their obverse a portrait close to that of the Arsacid Osroes/Chosroes I. This might suggest that the Arsacid great-king was indeed the same as the Elymaid king."

https://iranologie.com/the-history-page/the-arsacid-empire/hellenistic-minor-kingdoms/
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« Reply #45 on: June 29, 2018, 10:17:19 pm »

I have revised my attribution.
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147478
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Robert L3
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« Reply #46 on: July 02, 2018, 03:26:50 pm »

I’ve been thinking, with some frustration, about this newer hoard, which obviously consists of hundreds of coins and which has been sold off piecemeal, via two German sellers – and maybe a Cyprus seller too (?) – for some time.  It seems endless.  The hoard that keeps on giving.

Earlier today I happened to be perusing Heidemarie Koch’s A Hoard of Coins from Eastern Parthia from 1990 (in which an entire, intact hoard was documented), and I found myself thinking about what a missed opportunity has taken place with these newly found Elymaeans.  In addition to documented types that fit cleanly into the existing corpus for Elymaeans, we’ve noted at least a few unpublished variants and – as in the case of your coin above, Stkp – documented types that, if the hoard had been properly researched and catalogued, and its find spot publicly identified, might have greatly added to our knowledge of this series – and might have challenged or supported existing theories.  If someone had documented and published the hoard prior to its dispersal, I’d be first in line for the book – well, maybe second behind you, Stkp.  It is really a shame that no study was done.  With some of these individual purchases we're left speculating "in a bubble."  Thank goodness - well, I mean, thank Joe - that we have this board to bounce ideas back and forth.

Here’s a recent pickup of my own, below, for example.  I am really behind on uploading to my gallery, and hesitate to do so until some more en route coins arrive and are photo’ed.  But this one, not yet in my gallery, is (I believe) an unpublished van’t Haaff 21.2 variant with crescent turned downward instead of upward, as compared to van’t Haaff’s single example of the type, which appears in the book image to be in very poor condition.  Van’t Haaff has this statement attached to his single specimen: “Too few of these coins are known to determine their denomination.”  (Mine, at 2.14 gm, is consistent with drachms of some of the later coins in the series, most notably drachms of Prince A and B; so would mine, in conjunction with other VH 21.2’s from the hoard, have resolved this issue once and for all?  Furthermore would mine have become another subtype rather than the “variant” I am forced to list it as?)  I’ve noted at least several VH 21.2’s in the new hoard.  What a shame these, and all the other coins, which include occasional variants of multiple VH types, were not available to Pieter Anne when he was researching for his book.  And how sad that no one did any scholarly work prior to the dispersal of this hoard.

VH 21.2 variant with crescent turned downward toward pellets:
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« Reply #47 on: July 03, 2018, 07:35:38 pm »

Rob,

I just sent an email to one of the sellers of these coins, requesting images and weight data so that I may undertake a study. I'm not sure that I'm up to the task, but will nevertheless give it my best effort if the seller is cooperative and willing to provide me with the data. I'll let you know when/if I get a response.

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Robert L3
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« Reply #48 on: July 03, 2018, 08:15:31 pm »

Wow, so glad to read this, Steve.  If the dealer (and, perhaps later: dealers?) are cooperative and have, themselves, kept decent records, you might be positioned to really contribute to our knowledge of the series.  At the risk of getting ahead of ourselves here, perhaps Pieter Anne van't Haaff might support/assist the effort (?).

I greatly look forward to hearing (reading, that is) about how it's coming along.  Best wishes!  Let me know if I can help in any way - always available via this thread or email.

Bob
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« Reply #49 on: July 04, 2018, 07:28:53 am »

Bob,

I heard back from the dealer. Unfortunately: (a) he obtained the coins from a consignor in Europe and states that he has no information concerning the source (thus, our belief that they are all part of a single commercial hoard must remain an assumption); and (b) he does not preserve the images and weight data (which remain accessible on the internet for just 90 days post-sale).

My recollection is that quite a few van't Haaff 21.2's were sold within that time period. Thus, sufficient data may be available to determine the weight range and median weight of the emission, and thus to infer the denomination. I hope that you are up to this truncated task, because I am very reluctant to dig into it on a time-sensitive basis.

Steve
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