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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.
GB83585. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 640; BMC Pontus p. 210, 8; Rec Gen II.3 p. 225, 26; SNGvA 256 var. (monogram); HGC 7 629; SGCV II 7266, aEF, nice green patina with a few tiny edge chips, pre-strike flan adjustment marks, weight 4.496 g, maximum diameter 21.1 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; $310.00 (€275.90)
 


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 Gen II.3 p. 229, 40; Cohen Dated 443; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Tub -, 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); $270.00 (€240.30)
 


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; BMC Pontus p. 211 and pl. 38, 12; Rec Gen II.3 p. 225, 26; 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; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


Dia, Bithynia, 85 - 65 B.C.

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Mithradates VI, "Eupator, the Great" expanded his Pontic Kingdom through conquest, which inevitably brought him into conflict with Rome. Mithradates regarded himself as the champion of the Greeks against Rome, however, after three years of war, he was defeated by Pompey the Great.
GB79968. Bronze AE 21, SNG Stancomb 807; SNGvA 347; Callata˙ pl. XLIX, B; Rec Gen p. 342, 3; HGC 7 453 (S); SNG BM 1560 ff. var. (no monogram r.); SNG Cop 404 var. (same), gVF, attractive style, well struck on a tight flan, nice green patina, weight 7.690 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Dias mint, under Mithradates VI of Pontos, 85 - 65 B.C.; obverse laureate, bearded head of Zeus right; reverse eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head right, wings open, monograms left and right, ∆IAΣ below; rare city; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


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.
GB83586. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 640; BMC Pontus p. 210, 8; Rec Gen II.3 p. 225, 26; SNGvA 256 var. (monogram); HGC 7 629; SGCV II 7266, VF, nice green patina with a few small edge chips, marks and scratches, pre-strike flan adjustment marks, weight 5.864 g, maximum diameter 21.4 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; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Kios, Bithynia, c. 340 - 330 B.C.

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Traditionally, the earliest precious metal coinage of Kios has been dated after Alexander the Great's capture of Kios in 334 B.C. More recently, however, Oliver Hoover and other numismatists suggest this type, struck on a Persic standard, was probably minted to pay mercenaries to defend against Alexander's invasion, which began in 336 B.C.
GS75225. Silver 1/4 siglos, SNG Cop 378; SNG Berry 911; Rec Gen I.2 p. 312, 4, pl. XLIX, 24; HGC 7 554 (R1); cf. SNGvA 504 (1/2 siglos); BMC Pontus p. 130, 11 (same), VF, light toning, irregular shaped flan, slightest eching and porosity, weight 1.170 g, maximum diameter 11.8 mm, Kios (near Gemlik, Turkey) mint, Proxenos, magistrate, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, KIA below; reverse war galley prow left, hull ornamented with star over apotropaic eye, ΠPOΞ/ENOΣ (magistrate's name) in two lines one above and one below; $175.00 (€155.75)
 


Kalchedon, Bithynia, 387 - 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.
GS75212. Silver drachm, SNG BM 104; SNG Cop 352; Rec Gen I.2 p. 292, 13; Klein 241; Turkoglu S02aD; HGC 7 511 (S), VF, tight flan, scratches, weight 3.796 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, Kalchedon mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse KAΛX, bull standing left on grain ear left, kerykeion and ∆ over A monogram before legs; reverse quadripartite incuse square with stippled surface; scarce; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


Kalchedon, Bithynia, 387 - 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.
GS75222. Silver drachm, SNG BM 104; SNG Cop 352; Rec Gen I.2 p. 292, 13; Klein 241; Turkoglu S02aD; HGC 7 511 (S), VF, toned, tight flan cutting off part of bull's head, weight 3.745 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, Kalchedon mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse KAΛX, bull standing left on grain ear, kerykeion and ∆ over A monogram before legs; reverse quadripartite incuse square with stippled surface; scarce; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


Kios, Bithynia, c. 340 - 315 B.C.

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Traditionally, the earliest precious metal coinage of Kios has been dated after Alexander the Great's capture of Kios in 334 B.C. More recently, however, Oliver Hoover and other numismatists suggest this type, struck on a Persic standard, was probably minted to pay mercenaries to defend against Alexander's invasion, which began in 336 B.C.
GS75224. Silver 1/4 siglos, Rec Gen I.2 p. 312, 4, pl. XLIX, 26; HGC 7 554 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Berry -; SNG Ashmolean -; BMC Pontus -; Klein -; Macdonald -, VF, tight flan, lightly etched and porous surfaces, weight 1.206 g, maximum diameter 11.1 mm, die axis 270o, Kios (near Gemlik, Turkey) mint, c. 340 - 315 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, KIA below (off flan); reverse war galley prow left, ornamented with an apotropaic eye, large ram, waves indicated on hull, TEIΣAN/∆POΣ (magistrate's name) in two lines one above and one below; very rare magistrate; $125.00 (€111.25)
 


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 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; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


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 historians, it was founded in 626 - 625 B.C. by colonists from Miletos. Kios was often subject to greater powers, predominantly the Persian Empire until Alexander the Great invaded and took the city in 334 B.C. After disputes with Alexander's successors, Kios joined the Aetolian League, in opposition to Macedonia. In 202 B.C., Philip V of Macedonia and Prusias I of Bythinia destroyed the city and massacred, banished, or enslaved its citizens. Prusias built a new city on the site and named it for himself (Prusias ad Mare). After this atrocity, the Rodians asked the Roman Senate for help. The Romans seized this opportunity to invade Greece and defeat Philip V. In 74 B.C., after the death of King Nikomides III, the Romans occupied Kios and the whole of Bythinia. Under Rome, the name Kios was revived. An important link in the ancient Silk Road, Kios became a wealthy town.
GB71987. Bronze AE 14, SNG Cop 381; SNGvA 7004; BMC Pontus, p. 131, 20; Rec Gen I.2 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; $95.00 (€84.55)
 


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.
RP79959. Bronze AE 19, Rec Gen II.3 p 489, 713; SNGvA 653; SNG Cop -, VF, nice portrait, well centered and struck, attractive sea-green patina, flan crack, scratches, weight 3.252 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Nicaea (Iznik, Turkey) mint, 238 - 244 A.D.; obverse M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC AVΓ, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse three legionary standards topped with wreaths, N-IK-AI-E/ΩN in two lines, the first divided by the standards, the last two letters in exergue; $80.00 (€71.20)
 


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 Gen II.3 p. 459, 481; SNG Cop 507; BMC Pontus -; SNGvA -, SNG Tubingen -, 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; $60.00 (€53.40)
 


Prusias ad Mare (Kios), Bithynia, c. 72 - 30 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 historians, it was founded in 626 - 625 B.C. by colonists from Miletos. Kios was often subject to greater powers, predominantly the Persian Empire until Alexander the Great invaded and took the city in 334 B.C. After disputes with Alexander's successors, Kios joined the Aetolian League, in opposition to Macedonia. In 202 B.C., Philip V of Macedonia and Prusias I of Bythinia destroyed the city and massacred, banished, or enslaved its citizens. Prusias built a new city on the site and named it for himself (Prusias ad Mare). After this atrocity, the Rodians asked the Roman Senate for help. The Romans seized this opportunity to invade Greece and defeat Philip V. In 74 B.C., after the death of King Nikomides III, the Romans occupied Kios and the whole of Bythinia. Under Rome, the name Kios was revived. An important link in the ancient Silk Road, Kios became a wealthy town.
GB69777. Bronze AE 24, SNG Cop 386; SNGvA 508; BMC Pontus p. 132, 28; Rec Gen II.4 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; $45.00 (€40.05)
 


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 19, Rec Gen II.3 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; $32.00 (€28.48)
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 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.
RP77991. Bronze AE 19, Rec Gen II.3 p. 477, 616; SNGvA 624; Mionnet sup. V 800; BMC Pontus p. 168, 101 (rev inscription NI-K-); SNG Cop 520 (laureate), F, grain, centration dimple on the obverse, weight 3.684 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 45o, Nicaea (Iznik, Turkey) mint, obverse M AVP CEV AΛEΞAN∆POC AVΓ, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse NI-K-AI-E/ΩN, three legionary standards, each topped with a wreath; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $22.00 (€19.58)
 







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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Wednesday, March 29, 2017.
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Bithynia Coins