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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Persian EmpireView Options:  |  |  |   

The Persian Empire

The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire


Persian Empire, Dynasts of Lycia, Kherei, c. 440 - 410 B.C.

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Lycia had a single monarch, who ruled the entire country, subject to Persian policy, from a palace at Xanthos. The monarchy was hereditary, hence the term "dynast" has come into use among English-speaking scholars. Lycian inscriptions indicate the monarch was titled khntawati. The names of the dynasts are known mostly from coin inscriptions.
SH83587. Silver stater, Hurter New 1-6 (same rev. die); CNG mail bid 69, lot 472 (same dies, obv. die also very worn); Mørkholm-Zahle II -; Falghera -; SNG Cop -, Fair/gVF, toned, choice reverse, struck with a very worn obverse die, weight 8.860 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Xanthos mint, c. 440 - 410 B.C.; obverse bull crouching left with head raised, attacked by lion right leaping on its back; reverse bull standing left, Lycian triskeles above, dotted border, all within incuse square; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 21, lot 359; extremely rare; $800.00 (€712.00)
 


Persian Achaeminid Empire, Carian Satrapy, Pixodaros, c. 340 - 335 B.C.

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Pixodarus was the youngest of the three sons of Hecatomnus, all of whom successively ruled. To secure the friendship of Philip II, king of Macedonia, Pixodarus offered his eldest daughter in marriage to his Philip's son Arrhidaeus. Arrhidaeus' ambitious younger brother, Alexander (later Alexander the Great) offered himself instead. Pixodarus eagerly agreed but Philip put an end to the scheme. Pixodarus died, apparently a natural death, before Alexander landed in Asia in 334 B.C. and was succeeded by his Persian son-in-law Orontobates.
SH63582. Silver didrachm, SNG Cop 597; SNGvA 2375; SNG Keckman 280; SNG Kayhan 891; SNG Lockett 2913; BMC Caria p. 185, 5 ff.; Weber 6608; SGCV II 4966, aVF, porous, weight 6.541 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Mylasa (Milas, Turkey) mint, c. 340 - 335 B.C.; obverse head of Apollo facing slightly right; reverse ΠIΞΩ∆APOY, Zeus Labraundos standing right, labrys (double-headed axe) over shoulder in right, lotus-tipped scepter vertical in left; $500.00 (€445.00)
 


Persian Empire, Arabia, Gaza, Samaria or Judaea, c. 375 - 333 B.C., Imitative of Athens

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A Persian Period imitation of Athenian types from the Middle East.
JD66401. Silver obol, cf. Hendin 1011, Meshorer TJC 4 ff., SNG ANS 15 ff., VF, toned, weight 0.576 g, maximum diameter 8.1 mm, die axis 270o, obverse helmeted head of Athena right; reverse AΘE, owl standing right, wings closed, head facing, within incuse square; $160.00 (€142.40)
 


Persian Empire, Sidon, Phoenicia, Ba'Alshillem II, c. 401 - 366 B.C.

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Sidon, named for the "first-born" of Canaan, the grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:15, 19), is frequently referred to by the prophets (Isaiah 23:2, 4, 12; Jeremiah 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Ezekiel 27:8; 28:21, 22; 32:30; Joel 3:4). The Sidonians long oppressed Israel (Judges 10:12) but Solomon entered into a matrimonial alliance with them, and thus their form of idolatrous worship found a place in the land of Israel (1 Kings 11:1, 33). Jesus visited the "coasts" of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21; Mark 7:24) where many came to hear him preach (Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17). After leaving Caesarea, Paul's ship put in at Sidon, before finally sailing for Rome (Acts 27:3, 4).
GS70326. Silver 1/16 shekel, Elayi 2004 851 ff.; Hoover 10 240; Betlyon 27 (Abd'astart, Straton I); BMC Phoenicia p 146, 36 (same); SNG Cop 197 ff. (same), VF, toned, tiny edge cuts, banker's mark, tight flan, bumps and marks, weight 0.648 g, maximum diameter 9.5 mm, die axis 90o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, c. 371 - 370 B.C.; obverse war galley left, Phoenician letter beth above, banker's mark or countermark above galley; reverse King of Persia (to left) standing right, slaying erect lion to right, Phoenician letter ayin between them; $160.00 (€142.40)
 


Persian Empire, Artaxerxes II - Darius III, c. 375 - 340 B.C., Lydia, Anatolia

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This type was minted in Lydia, Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire
GS79827. Silver 1/4 siglos, Carradice type IV (late) C; Klein 764; SNG Kayhan 1041; Sunrise 37; cf. Rosen 679; (early - middle, A/B); BMC Arabia p. 167, 143 (middle B), VF, well centered on tight flan, weight 1.206 g, maximum diameter 7.9 mm, die axis 60o, c. 375 - 340 B.C.; obverse kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, dagger in right, bow in left, bearded, crowned, quiver on shoulder; reverse square punch; very rare; $160.00 (€142.40)
 


Persian Achaeminid Empire, Carian Satrapy, Hekatomnos, c. 392 - 377 B.C.

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Hecatomnus was a native of Mylasa, which he made his capital and the seat of his government. His coins often depict Zeus Labrandenos from the celebrated temple of that name near Mylasa. The Persian emperor appointed Hecatomnus to command naval forces in the war against Evagoras of Cyprus, but he not only took no part in support of the Emperor, but secretly supplied Evagoras with money for mercenaries. The disorganized Persian monarchy took no action against Hecatomnus and he continued to rule Caria until his death. He left three sons, Mausolus, Idrieus and Pixodarus - all of whom - in their turn, succeeded him in the sovereignty.
GS76809. Silver tetartemorion, Troxell Carians 2c, SNG Keckman 848 ff., SNG Kayhan 837 ff., SNG Tüb 3312 ff., Klein 507, Traite II -, SNG Cop -, gVF, area of flat strike on male head, toned, weight 0.172 g, maximum diameter 5.9 mm, die axis 0o, Mylasa (Milas, Turkey) mint, c. 390 - 380 B.C.; obverse forepart of lion right, head turned back left, tongue protruding; reverse male head (Apollo?) facing slightly left, with long hair, no inscriptions or symbols, all within a round incuse; $155.00 (€137.95)
 


Persian Achaeminid Empire, Carian Satrapy, Hecatomnids, c. 392 - 335 B.C.

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The Hecatomnid dynasty or Hecatomnids were the rulers of Caria and surrounding areas from about 392 - 334 B.C. They were nominally satraps (governors) under the Persian Achaeminid Empire, but ruled with considerable autonomy, and established a hereditary dynasty. The dynasty was founded by Hecatomnus and originally had its seat in Mylasa; Mausolus moved it to Halicarnassus. Hecatomnus' five children succeeded him in succession. The dynasty engaged in sibling marriage to presumably preserve royal power within the family. The dynasty ended with the conquests of Alexander the Great. Ada adopted him as her son, so that he would succeed to the rule of Caria. The best-known monument of the dynasty is the Mausoleum that Artemisia II built in honor of her husband and brother Mausolus.
Hecatomnus, ruled c. 392–377 B.C.
Mausolus, son of Hecatomnus, ruled c. 377–353 B.C.
• Artemisia II, daughter of Hecatomnus, wife of Mausolus, ruled c. 353–351 B.C.
• Idrieus, son of Hecatomnus, ruled c. 351–344 B.C.
• Ada, daughter of Hecatomnus, wife of Idrieus, ruled c. 344–340 B.C. and c. 334–326 B.C. (under Alexander the Great)
• Pixodarus, son of Hecatomnus, ruled c. 340–335 B.C.
GS75847. Silver tetartemorion, cf. CNG e-auction 343, lot 191 for a similar Achaemenid issue but with head left on the obverse (otherwise apparently unpublished), aVF, grainy and porous, obverse off center, small edge chip, weight 0.175 g, maximum diameter 6.3 mm, Caria (Mylasia? or Halicarnassus?) mint, early to mid 4th century B.C.; obverse head of Persian Great King right; reverse Milesian style stellate pattern within incuse square; extremely rare; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


Kalchedon, Bithynia, c. 340 - 320 B.C.

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The position of Chalcedon, on the eastern shore of the Bosporus, was not as favorable as that of Byzantion on the opposite side. The Persian Megabazus (Herod. iv. 144) said the founders of Chalcedon must have been blind, for Chalcedon was settled seventeen years before Byzantium; and the settlers, we must suppose, had the choice of the two places.
GS75218. Silver half siglos, SNG BM Black Sea 118; SNGvA 484; SNG Stancomb 14; BMC Pontus p. 124, 8; HGC 7 518, gVF, off center, light marks, tiny edge split, weight 2.430 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, Kalchedon mint, c. 340 - 320 B.C.; obverse KAΛX, bull standing left on ear of grain; reverse quadripartite incuse square of mill-sail pattern, stippled texture within incuse areas; $115.00 (€102.35)
 


Persian Achaeminid Empire, Carian Satrapy, Hecatomnids, c. 392 - 353 B.C.

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The Hecatomnid dynasty or Hecatomnids were the rulers of Caria and surrounding areas from about 392 - 334 B.C. They were nominally satraps (governors) under the Persian Achaeminid Empire, but ruled with considerable autonomy, and established a hereditary dynasty. The dynasty was founded by Hecatomnus and originally had its seat in Mylasa; Mausolus moved it to Halicarnassus. Hecatomnus' five children succeeded him in succession. The dynasty engaged in sibling marriage to presumably preserve royal power within the family. The dynasty ended with the conquests of Alexander the Great. Ada adopted him as her son, so that he would succeed to the rule of Caria. The best-known monument of the dynasty is the Mausoleum that Artemisia II built in honor of her husband and brother Mausolus.
Hecatomnus, ruled c. 392–377 B.C.
Mausolus, son of Hecatomnus, ruled c. 377–353 B.C.
• Artemisia II, daughter of Hecatomnus, wife of Mausolus, ruled c. 353–351 B.C.
• Idrieus, son of Hecatomnus, ruled c. 351–344 B.C.
• Ada, daughter of Hecatomnus, wife of Idrieus, ruled c. 344–340 B.C. and c. 334–326 B.C. (under Alexander the Great)
• Pixodarus, son of Hecatomnus, ruled c. 340–335 B.C.
GS70805. Silver tetartemorion, Troxell Carians 4, SNG Keckman 862, Klein 503, cf. SNG Kayhan 990 (no inscription), SNG Turkey VIII -, SNG Cop -, F, toned, weight 0.430 g, maximum diameter 8.2 mm, die axis 180o, Caria (Mylasia? or Halicarnassus?) mint, early to mid 4th century B.C.; obverse head and neck of a lion left, head turned slightly facing; reverse head and neck of a bull left, head turned facing, Karian inscription (resembles MV-H-Φ, clockwise from above), all within a round incuse; rare; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


Persian Empire, Sidon, Phoenicia, Ba'Alshillem II, c. 401 - 366 B.C.

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Sidon, named for the "first-born" of Canaan, the grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:15, 19), is frequently referred to by the prophets (Isaiah 23:2, 4, 12; Jeremiah 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Ezekiel 27:8; 28:21, 22; 32:30; Joel 3:4). The Sidonians long oppressed Israel (Judges 10:12) but Solomon entered into a matrimonial alliance with them, and thus their form of idolatrous worship found a place in the land of Israel (1 Kings 11:1, 33). Jesus visited the "coasts" of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21; Mark 7:24) where many came to hear him preach (Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17). After leaving Caesarea, Paul's ship put in at Sidon, before finally sailing for Rome (Acts 27:3, 4).
GS70324. Silver 1/16 shekel, Elayi 2004 851 ff.; Hoover 10 240; Betlyon 27 (Abd'astart, Straton I); BMC Phoenicia p 146, 36 (same); SNG Cop 197 ff. (same), VF, tight flan, toned, lightly etched surfaces, weight 0.841 g, maximum diameter 9.45 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, c. 371 - 370 B.C.; obverse war galley left, Phoenician letter beth above; reverse King of Persia (to left) standing right, slaying erect lion to right, Phoenician letter ayin between them; $100.00 (€89.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Ashton, R., et al. "The Pixodarus Hoard" in Coin Hoards IX (2002).
Babelon, E. Traité des Monnaies Grecques et Romaines. (Paris, 1901-1932).
Betlyon, J. W. The Coinage and Mints of Phoenicia. The Pre-Alexandrine Period. Harvard Semitic Monographs, Vol. 26. (Chico, CA, 1982).
Carradice, I. "The Dinar Hoard of Persian Sigloi" in Studies Price. (London, 1998).
Deutsch, R. & M. Heltzer. "Numismatic Evidence from the Persian Period from the Sharon Plain" Transeuphratene, Vol 13, 1997, pp. 17-20.
Elayi, J. & A.G. Elayi. Le monnayage de la cité phénicienne de Sidon à l'époque perse (Ve-IVe s. av. J.-C.). (Paris, 2004).
Elayi, J. & A.G. Elayi. The Coinage of the Phoenician City of Tyre in the Persian Period (5th-4th cent. BCE). (Leuven-Paris-Walpole, MA, 2009).
Hendin, D. Guide to Biblical Coins, 5th Edition. (Amphora, 2010).
Meshorer, Y. A Treasury of Jewish Coins from the Persian Period to Bar Kokhba. (Jerusalem, 2001).
Mildenberg, L. "Yehud: A Preliminary Study of the Provincial Coinage of Judaea" in Essays Thompson (1979).
Meshorer, Y. & S. Qedar. The Coinage of Samaria in the 4th Century BCE. (Jerusalem, 1991).
Moysey, R.A. "The Silver Stater Issues of Pharnabazos and Datames from the Mint of Tarsus in Cilicia" in ANSMN 31 (1986).
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Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection. (Istanbul, 2002).
Troxell, H.A. "Orontes, satrap of Mysia" in SNR 60. (1981).
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Catalog current as of Saturday, August 27, 2016.
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Persian Empire