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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Anatolia ▸ BithyniaView Options:  |  |  | 

Bithynia

The kingdom of Bithynia held a considerable place among the minor monarchies of Anatolia. The coins of the Bithynian kings depict their regal portraits in a highly accomplished Hellenistic style. Nicomedes IV, the last king of Bithynia, was defeated by Mithridates VI of Pontus, and, after being restored to his throne by the Roman Senate, bequeathed his kingdom by will to the Roman Republic in 74 B.C. Under Rome, the boundaries of Bithynia frequently varied and it was sometimes united with Pontus. For securing communications with the eastern provinces, the monumental Bridge across the river Sangarius was constructed around 562 AD. Troops frequently wintered at Nicomedia. The most important cities were Nicomedia, founded by Nicomedes, and Nicaea. The two had a long rivalry with one another over which city held the rank of capital. At a much earlier period the Greeks had established on the coast the colonies of Cius (modern Gemlik); Chalcedon (modern Kadiköy), at the entrance of the Bosporus, nearly opposite Byzantium (modern Istanbul) and Heraclea Pontica (modern Karadeniz Eregli), on the Euxine, about 190 km east of the Bosporus.


Kingdom of Bithynia, Prusias II Kynegos, 185 - 149 B.C.

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Prusias II, son of Prusias I, inherited his father's name but not his character. He first joined with Eumenes of Pergamon in war against Pontus, but later turned on Pergamon and invaded. He was defeated and Pergamon demanded heavy reparations. Prusias sent his son Nicomedes II to Rome to ask for aid in reducing the payments. When Nicomedes revolted, Prusias II was murdered in the temple of Zeus at Nikomedia.
SH71000. Bronze AE 22, SNG Cop 640; BMC Pontus p. 210, 8; SNGvA 256 var. (monogram); Rec Gén 26; HGC 7 629; SGCV II 7266, Choice VF, nice style, weight 6.393 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, c. 180 - 150 B.C.; obverse head of young Dionysos right, wreathed with ivy; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠPOYΣIOY, centaur Chiron standing right, playing lyre, his cloak flying behind, NΦ monogram inner right under raised foreleg; $640.00 (€569.60)
 


Kingdom of Bithynia, Nikomedes II Epiphanes, 149 - 128 B.C.

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Nikomedes II accompanied his father, Prusias II, to Rome in 167 B.C., where he was brought up under the care of the Senate. His father, favoring a younger sibling for succession, decided to assassinate him. But Nikomedes discovered the plot, seized the throne and put his father to death. He remained faithful to Rome, assisting in the war with Attalus, king of Pergamus in 131 B.C.
SH63494. Silver tetradrachm, BMC Pontus p. 213, 3; Rec Gén p. 229, 40; Cohen Dated 443; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Tüb -, VF, dark hoard patina with some chipping (stabilized), weight 14.896 g, maximum diameter 33.6 mm, die axis 0o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 129 - 128 B.C.; obverse diademed head right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ EΠIΦANOYΣ NIKOMH∆OY, Zeus Stephanophoros standing left, wreath extended in right, long scepter vertical behind in left, eagle left on thunderbolt in inner left field above monogram over ΘΞP (year 169); $360.00 (€320.40)
 


Kingdom of Bithynia, Prusias II Kynegos, 185 - 149 B.C.

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Prusias II, son of Prusias I, inherited his father's name but not his character. He first joined with Eumenes of Pergamon in war against Pontus, but later turned on Pergamon and invaded. He was defeated and Pergamon demanded heavy reparations. Prusias sent his son Nicomedes II to Rome to ask for aid in reducing the payments. When Nicomedes revolted, Prusias II was murdered in the temple of Zeus at Nikomedia.
SH71012. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 636; Rec Gén 26; BMC Pontus p. 211, 12; SNGvA 256 var. (monogram); HGC 7 629; SGCV II 7266, VF, flan adjustment marks, weight 5.468 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 45o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, c. 180 - 150 B.C.; obverse head of young Dionysos right, wreathed with ivy; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠPOYΣIOY, centaur Chiron standing right, playing lyre, his cloak floating behind, ΠM monogram inner right under raised foreleg; $225.00 (€200.25)
 


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; $130.00 (€115.70)
 


Kios, Bithynia, c. 325 - 203 B.C.

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According to myth, Kios (Cius) was founded on the Propontis (Sea of Marmara) by Herakles when he accompanied the Argonauts. According to Greek historians, it was founded in 626 - 625 B.C. by colonists from Miletos. The city joined the Aetolian League and was destroyed by Philip V of Macedon. Prusias I of Bithynia rebuilt the site, naming it for himself. An important chain in the ancient Silk Road, it became a wealthy town. Under Rome the name Kios was revived.
GB71987. Bronze AE 14, SNG Cop 381; SNGvA 7004; BMC Pontos, p. 131, 20; Rec Gén 7, VF, dark green patina, porous, weight 2.880 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 315o, Kios (Bursa, Turkey) mint, c. 325 - 203 B.C.; obverse young beardless male head (Mithras?) right, wearing a Phrygian cap and laurel wreath; reverse Kantharos between two bunches of grapes hanging on vines which emerge from the cup, A above, K-I divided by stem, all within wreath of two stalks of grain; rare; $105.00 (€93.45)
 


Kingdom of Bithynia, Prusias I or II, 238 - 149 B.C.

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Bithynia was a flourishing kingdom in northwest Asia Minor founded in the early third century by Zipoetes, chieftan of the Bythyni, a Thracian tribe. The last king of Bithynia, Nikomedes IV, bequeathed his kingdom to Rome in 74 B.C. The area became a Roman Province with Nicomedia as its capital.
GB59571. Bronze AE 28, SNG Cop 642; SNGvA 6884; Rec Gén p. 226, 28; BMC Pontus -, VF, weight 13.110 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 315o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 230 - 149 B.C.; obverse head of Athena left wearing crested Corinthian style helmet; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠPOYΣIOY, Nike walking right holding trophy over shoulder; scarce; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


Kalchedon, Bithynia, c. 367 - 340 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.
GS79644. Silver hemidrachm, SNG BM Black Sea 110, SNG Cop 354, Rec Gén 16, HGC 7 514, SNGvA ; SNG Stancomb ; BMC Pontus p. 124,, weight 1.874 g, maximum diameter 10.9 mm, die axis 270o, Kalchedon mint, c. 367 - 340 B.C.; obverse bull forepart left on ear of grain, KAΛ above, monogram before; reverse three stalks of grain; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nicaea, Bithynia

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Agonistic "urns" or "crowns" were awarded to winners at ancient Greek games, similar to our modern sports trophies. They are often called "crowns" because they may have been placed on the head of the victor.
RP68971. Bronze AE 15, Rec Gén II p. 443, 358; Mionnet Sup. V 600; BMC Pontos -; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, VF, green patina, a little off center, weight 2.253 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 0o, Nicaea (Iznik, Turkey) mint, obverse CEOYHPO−X AYΓOYC (HP ligate), laureate and bearded head right; reverse NIKAIEΩN, agonistic prize crown/urn containing palm frond; very rare; $90.00 (€80.10)
 


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Nicaea, Bithynia

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Nicaea (Iznik, Turkey today) remained an important town throughout the imperial period. Although only 70 km (43 miles) from Constantinople, Nicaea did not lose its importance when Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Empire. The city suffered from earthquakes in 358, 362 and 368; after the last of which, it was restored by Valens. During the Middle Ages it was a long time bulwark of the Byzantine emperors against the Turks.
RB72569. Bronze AE 25, Rec Gén II, p. 459, 481; SNG Cop 507; BMC Pontus -; SNGvA -, SNG Tübingen -, VF/F, excellent portrait, pitting on reverse, weight 8.685 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 45o, Nicaea (Iznik, Turkey) mint, 28 Jan 198 - 8 Apr 217 A.D.; obverse ANTΩNINOC AVΓOVCTOC, laureate head of Caracalla right; reverse NIKA-IEΩN, legionary aquila on pole with vexillum, flanked by two signa; very rare; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


Prusias ad Mare (Kios), Bithynia, c. 72 - 30 B.C.

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According to myth, Kios (Bursa, Turkey) was founded on the Propontis (Sea of Marmara) by Herakles when he accompanied the Argonauts. According to Greek historians, it was founded in 626 - 625 B.C. by colonists from Miletos. The city joined the Aetolian League and was destroyed by Philip V of Macedon. Prusias I of Bithynia rebuilt the site, naming it for himself. An important chain in the ancient Silk Road, it became a wealthy town. Under Rome the name Kios was revived.
GB69777. Bronze AE 24, SNG Cop 386; SNGvA 508; BMC Pontus p. 132, 28; Rec Gén 21; SGCV II 3763, F, green patina, weight 8.791 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 0o, Prusias ad Mare mint, c. 72 - 30 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, bearded, wearing taenia; reverse ΠPOYCIEΩN / TΩN ΠPOC / ΘAΛΛACCHI, bow in bowcase, club on right; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; rare; $55.00 (€48.95)
 


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Nicaea, Bithynia

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Nicaea remained an important town throughout the imperial period. Although only 70 km (43 miles) from Constantinople, Nicaea did not lose its importance when Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Empire. The city suffered from earthquakes in 358, 362 and 368; after the last of which, it was restored by Valens. During the Middle Ages it was a long time bulwark of the Byzantine emperors against the Turks.
RP70491. Bronze AE 21, Rec Gén II p 489, 716; SNG Cop 526; SNGvA 653; SGICV 3671 var. (two eagles and two standards), VF, flan crack, grainy surfaces, weight 3.492 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Nicaea (Iznik, Turkey) mint, 238 - 244 A.D.; obverse M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC AYΓ (AYΓ ligate), radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse N−I−K−AI/EΩN, three standards; $36.00 (€32.04)
 







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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Tuesday, June 28, 2016.
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Bithynia Coins