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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Hellenistic Monarchies ▸ Parthian EmpireView Options:  |  |  |   

Parthian Empire

This page includes coins of the Parthian Empire and Roman coins that refer to Parthia.

Click here to read about Parthia in the Historia Numorum and Numiswiki.
Click here for the "Parthian Calendar" article in Numiswiki. 
Click here to go to the best Parthian Empire website.

Parthian Empire, Arsakes XVI, c. 78 - 61 B.C.

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Arsakes XVI has only recently been added to the list of known Parthian kings on the coinage. This type was previously attributed to Orodes I. From his coins, we know Arsakes XVI held the titles: Megas (great), Theopator (son of a god), Euergetes (benefactor), Epiphanes (god manifest), Philhellen (friend of the Greeks), and Eusebes (pius).
SH72044. Silver denarius, Sellwood 30.16 (unknown king II), Shore 133 - 135 (Orodes I), Sunrise 314 var (torque ends in sea-horse), VF, nice bust, broad flan, struck with a damaged reverse die, contact marks, weight 4.177 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rhagae (Ray, part of Tehran, Iran) mint, c. 78 - 61 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust left with short beard, hair covering ear, torque ends in single pellet, two diadem ends, wearing ornate mantle; reverse beardless archer (Arsakes I) seated right on throne, wearing bashlyk and cloak, bow in right, empty cloak sleeve ends in a pellet below seat level, squared five-lined legend around: BAΣIΛEΩΣ above, ME−ΓAΛOY downward on right, APΣAKOY upside down below, ΘEOΠATOPOΣ EYEPΓET in two lines downward on left; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00

Parthian Empire, Artabanos IV, c. 10 - 38 A.D.

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The Artabanos that ruled Parthia from 10 - 38 A.D. has traditionally been named Artabanos II, and sometimes Artabanos III, but on the most recent list of Parthian kings, scholars have designated him Artabanos IV. An Arsacid on his mother's side, he was king of Media Atropatene when the Parthian nobles selected him to replace Vonones I as the Parthian emperor. The nobles did not approve of Vonones Roman lifestyle. Artabanos' attempts to wrest the throne were at first defeated -- as one competing issue of Vonones' coins attests -- but he eventually emerged victorious.
WA72042. Silver drachm, Sellwood 63.6 (Artabanus II), Shore 341 - 343 (Artabanus II), Sunrise 412, SNG Cop 166 (Gotarzes II); BMC Parthia p. 166, 38 (Gotarzes), VF, toned, square end of beard and part of ornate collar on flan (usually off flan), crowded flan smaller than the dies as invariable for the type, weight 3.941 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, 10 - 38 A.D.; obverse bust left with long square straight beard, hair covering ear almost straight, earring visible, end of neck torque not visible, ornate collar, diadem with loop and three ends; reverse squared seven-line legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ / BAΣIΛEΩN in two lines above, APΣAKOY downward on right, ∆IXAIOY EYEPΓETOY in two upside down lines below, EΠIΦANOYΣ ΦIΛEΛΛHNOΣ in two downward lines on left; archer (Arsakes I) seated right on throne, wearing bashlyk and cloak, bow in right hand, TA pellet monogram below bow; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00

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.
WA72038. Silver drachm, Sellwood 45.21; Shore 230; Sunrise 366 var. (KP monogram mintmark); BMC Parthia p.75, 51 (Orodes I); SNG Cop -, VF, toned, crowded flan, some die wear, tiny flan defect reverse outer left, weight 3.803 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Kangavar (Iran) mint, c. 55 - 44 B.C.; obverse diademed bust left with short beard, torque ending with pellet, wavy hair covering ear, three diadem ends; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / BAΣIΛEΩN − APΣAKOY − EYEPΓET / ∆IKAIOY − EΠIΦANOYΣ − ΦIΛEΛΛHNOΣ, 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; scarcer mint; $145.00 SALE PRICE $131.00




Abgarians, M.T. & D.G. Sellwood. “A Hoard of Early Parthian Drachms” in NC 1971.
Alram, M. Iranisches Personennamenbuch: Nomina Propria Iranica In Nummis. Osterreichischen Akademie Der Wissenschaften. (Wien, 1986).
Assar, G.R.F. “Genealogy and Coinage of the Early Parthian Rulers, II” in Parthica 6, 2004.
Assar, G.R.F. “Genealogy and Coinage of the Early Parthian Rulers, II” in Parthica 7, 2005.
Assar, G.R.F. “A Revised Parthian Chronology of the Period 91- 55 BC” in Parthica 8, 2006.
Assar, G.R.F. “Recent Studies in Parthian History: Part II” in The Celator 15, No. 1, January 2001.
Busso Peus Sale 388, Sammlung Dr. Robert Gonnella, November 1, 2006. CNG Auction 36, Fred B. Shore Collection of Parthian Coins, December 5-6, 1995.
Fröhlich, C. Monnaies indo-scythes et indo-parthes, Catalogue raisonné Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 2008).
Nelson, Bradley R., ed., Numismatic Art of Persia. The Sunrise Collection, Part I: Ancient - 650 BC to AD 650. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
Sear, David. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sear, David. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sellwood, D. An Introduction to the Coinage of Parthia. 2nd edition. (London, 1980).
Sellwood, D. “New Parthian coin types” in NC 1989.
Sellwood, D. “The End of the Parthian Dynasty” in NumCirc June 1990.
Shore, F. Parthian Coins and History: Ten Dragons Against Rome. (Quarryville, 1993).
Sinisi, F. Sylloge Nummorum Parthicorum, Volume VII: Vologases I - Pacorus II. (Wein, 2012).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum. Vol. 7: Cyprus to India. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Wroth, W. A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Parthia. (London, 1903).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, December 01, 2015.
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