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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, Prusias II Kynegos, 185 - 149 B.C.
Click for a larger photo 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; $800.00 (€600.00)

Kios, Bithynia, c. 280 - 250 B.C., Restoration of Lysimachos
Click for a larger photo 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.
SH90219. Silver tetradrachm, Müller 418 (Erythrai), Meydancikkale 2668 var (monogram in ex not reversed), SNG Cop 1123 var (same), SNG Berry 451 var (same), Thompson -, VF, lightly toned, scattered marks, weight 16.966 g, maximum diameter 31.7 mm, die axis 0o, Kios mint, c. 280 - 250 B.C.; obverse diademed head of the deified Alexander right, with horn of Ammon; reverse Athena Nikephoros seated left, Nike in right crowning king's name with wreath, left arm resting on shield behind, transverse spear against far side, club outer left, monogram inner left, bow in case and reversed AΓ monogram in exergue; ex CNG, auction 324 lot 85; rare variety; $700.00 (€525.00)

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)

Kingdom of Bithynia, Prusias II Kynegos, 185 - 149 B.C.
Click for a larger photo 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; $280.00 (€210.00)

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 hand, right leg drawn back, monograms left and right, KAΛC in exergue; very rare; $225.00 (€168.75)

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.
RP68710. Bronze AE 19, RPC Online 5588; Rec Gén 50; BMC Pontus p. 181, 12; McClean III 7512; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, Choice gVF, nice green patina, weight 3.522 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, obverse ANTΩN KAI-CAP CEB, bareheaded and draped bust right; reverse ∆HMHT - NEIKO, Demeter standing left, wearing veil, chiton and peplos, stalks of grain downward in right, long torch vertical behind in left; $170.00 (€127.50)

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.
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; $130.00 (€97.50)

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)

Prusias ad Mare (Kios), Bithynia, c. 72 - 30 B.C.
Click for a larger photo 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; $65.00 (€48.75)

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, 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; $45.00 (€33.75)


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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Saturday, November 01, 2014.
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Bithynia Coins