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Home>Catalog>GreekCoins>Geographic-AllPeriods>Anatolia>Bithynia

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, Nikomedes II Epiphanes, 149 - 128 B.C.
Click for a larger photo 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); $405.00 (€303.75)

Kalchedon, Bithynia, 240 - 220 B.C.
Click for a larger photo 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.
GS67313. Silver trihemidrachm, cf. SNG BM 136; BMC Pontus p. 126, 20; SNG Stancomb 15 (tetradrachm), aF, rough, weight 5.008 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Kalchedon mint, 240 - 220 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, veiled and wreathed in grain; reverse Apollo seated right on omphalos, naked, examining arrow in right, right leg drawn back, monograms left and right, KAΛC in exergue; very rare; $225.00 (€168.75)

Calchedon, Bithynia, 4th Century B.C.
Click for a larger photo 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.
SH66267. Silver drachm, SNG Cop 352; SNG BM 105 (different monogram); SNGvA 487 var (no monogram); SGCV II 3742 var (same), gVF, obverse off center, weight 3.793 g, maximum diameter 14.6 mm, Kalchedon mint, 4th Century B.C.; obverse KAΛX, cow standing left on grain ear, kerykeion and ∆A monogram before legs; reverse quadrapartite incuse square with stippled surface; $225.00 (€168.75)

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Juliopolis, Bithynia
Click for a larger photo Nemesis holds a lorum to symbolize her authority as judge. The lorum was a long scarf worn by Roman magistrates as a badge indicating their official position and authority, similar to an ecclesiastical stole. The wheel of fate, which Nemesis controls, rests against her side.
SH67768. Bronze AE 27, Rec Gén I p. 387, 14; Posnansky 144; BMC Pontus -, SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, F, scratches, nice turquoise-green patina, weight 10.863 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 0o, Juliopolis mint, obverse AY K Λ CEΠTI CEYOHPOC Π, laureate draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse IOYΛIOΠOΛEITΩN, Nemesis standing left, pulling drapery at neck with right, lorum in left, wheel at her feet; rare; $220.00 (€165.00)

Herakleia Pontika, Bithynia, Time of Klearchos, 364 - 352 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Heraclea Pontica (today Karadeniz Eregli, on the Black Sea in Turkey) was founded at the mouth of the river Lycus by the Greek city-state of Megara. It was named after Herakles whom the Greeks believed entered the underworld at a cave nearby. From the middle of the 5th century B.C., the city became important in the Black Sea trade, and its economic heyday was the 4th century B.C. The prosperity of the city, damaged by the Galatians and the Bithynians, was utterly destroyed in the Mithridatic Wars.
GS63044. Silver obol, SNG Cop 418; SNG BM 1593; Rec Gen p. 349, 30, aVF, weight 0.814 g, maximum diameter 10.7 mm, die axis 0o, Herakleia Pontika mint, obverse HPAK, head of Herakles left; reverse trophy of arms, K over club left, bow in bowcase right; scarce; $155.00 (€116.25)

Kingdom of Bithynia, Prusias I or II, 238 - 149 B.C.
Click for a larger photo 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 capitol.
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; $145.00 (€108.75)

Maximinus I Thrax, 20 March 235 - Late May 238 A.D., Nicaea, Bithynia
Click for a larger photo 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.
RP63072. Bronze AE 24, SNGvA 629 - 630; Rec Gén p 479, 637; BMC Pontus -; SNG Cop -; SNG Tüb -, F, weight 7.041 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, Nicaea mint, obverse Γ IOY OYH MAΞI−IMEINOC AYΓ, laureate, draped bust right, from behind; reverse NIKAIEΩN, Demeter standing facing, head left, stalks of grain in right, long torch in left; rare; $90.00 (€67.50)

Kingdom of Bithynia, Prusias I or II, 238 - 149 B.C.
Click for a larger photo 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 capitol.
CM57311. Bronze AE 26, SNG Cop 626 (same countermarks in approx same positions); BMC Pontus p. 209, 6 (cm: head and lyre, Prusias I), F, green patina, weight 9.520 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 0o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 238 - 149 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo left; three countermarks: Artemis head left, lyre, and tripod.; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠPOYΣIOY, Athena-Nike standing left, wreath in extended right, left resting on shield, obscured monogram left; $85.00 (€63.75)

Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Nicomedia, Bithynia
Click for a larger photo Nicomedia was the Roman metropolis of Bithynia. Diocletian made it the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system. Nicomedia remained as the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Roman Empire until co-emperor Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Chrysopolis in 324. Constantine resided mainly in Nicomedia as his interim capital for the next six years, until in 330 when he declared the nearby Byzantium (renamed Constantinople) the new capital. Constantine died in his royal villa in the vicinity of Nicomedia in 337. Due to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople.
RP54676. Bronze AE 28, CNG E 160, lot 162; Rec Gén 245 var (rad) & 246 var (legends); SNGvA 774 var (same); BMC Pontus 51 var (same); SNG Hunterian -; SNG Cop -; SNG Tüb -, F, weight 11.514 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 0o, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, obverse ANTΩNEINOC AYΓOYCTOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right. from behind; reverse NI−KO/MH−∆E/Ω−N ∆IX NEΩKO−PΩN, octastyle temple, pellet on pediment; rare; $70.00 (€52.50)

Kalchedon, Bithynia, c. 340 - 320 B.C.
Click for a larger photo 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.
GS65752. Silver 1/10 siglos, SNG BM 124, SNGvA 485; cf. SNG Cop 350, SGCV II 3740, F, weight 0.775 g, maximum diameter 10.9 mm, die axis 180o, Kalchedon mint, c. 340 - 320 B.C.; obverse KA, bull standing left atop ear of grain; reverse quadripartite incuse square of mill-sail pattern, pebbled texture within incuse areas; $70.00 (€52.50)

Myrlea (Apameia), Bithynia, 4th - 3rd Century B.C.
Click for a larger photo Myrlea was renamed Apameia, c. B.C. 202, by Prusias I, king of Bithynia, after his wife, Apama.
GB56748. Bronze AE 20, BMC Pontus p. 109, 3; Rec Gén 2, Lindgren 99; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Tübingen -, aVF, nice green patina, weight 9.325 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 180o, Bithynia, Myrlea (Apameia) mint, 4th - 3rd Century B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena right; reverse bull standing right, head facing, Myrlea monogram above; rare; $65.00 (€48.75)

Geta, 209 - c. 26 December 211 A.D., Nicaea, Bithynia
Click for a larger photo The first ecumenical council of the Christian church was held in Nicaea by Constantine in 325.
RP60183. Bronze AE 16, Rec Gén II -; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Tübingen -; BMC Pontus -; cf. Rec Gén p. 442, 348 (Septimius), Lindgren III 186 (Caracalla), VF, rough, weight 2.889 g, maximum diameter 16.2 mm, die axis 0o, Nicaea mint, as caesar, 198 A.D.; obverse Λ CEΠTI ΓETAC KAI (or similar), head right; reverse NIKAIEΩN, bull standing right; not in sources consulted, perhaps unpublished; extremely rare; $60.00 (€45.00)

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Nicomedia, Bithynia
Click for a larger photo Nicomedia was the Roman metropolis of Bithynia. Diocletian made it the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system. Nicomedia remained as the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Roman Empire until co-emperor Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Chrysopolis in 324. Constantine resided mainly in Nicomedia as his interim capital for the next six years, until in 330 when he declared the nearby Byzantium (renamed Constantinople) the new capital. Constantine died in his royal villa in the vicinity of Nicomedia in 337. Due to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople.
RP63209. Bronze assarion, RPC online 5588; Rec Gén II p. 523, 50; BMC Pontus p. 181, 12; SNG Cop 553 var (laur head, legends); SNGvA 744 var (same), F, weight 3.308 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, obverse ANTON KAI-CAP CEB (from upper right), bare-headed draped bust right, from behind; reverse ∆HMHT - NEIKO, Demeter standing half left, wearing veil, chiton and peplos, two stalks of grain downward in right, long flaming torch vertical behind in left; from the old stock of a retiring Ohio dealer acquired by Forum in 2012; $50.00 (€37.50)

Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Nicaea, Bithynia
Click for a larger photo 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, Bithynia, Nicaea 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; $45.00 (€33.75)

Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Nicaea, Bithynia
Click for a larger photo 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.
RP68973. Bronze AE 21, Rec Gén II p 489, 716; SNG Cop 526; SNGvA 653; SGICV 3671 var (two eagles and two standards), F, weight 5.886 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 0o, Bithynia, Nicaea mint, 238 - 244 A.D.; obverse M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC AYΓ, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse N−I−K−AI/EΩN, three standards; $30.00 (€22.50)



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Sunday, April 20, 2014.
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Bithynia Coins