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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 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; $400.00 (€356.00)
 


Persian Empire, Tarkumuwa (Datames), Satrap of Cilicia & Cappadocia, c. 384 - 362 B.C., Tarsus, Cilicia

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Datames' enemies in Artaxerxes' court accused him, perhaps falsely, of intending to revolt against the Great King. Secretly warned, he then did, in fact, revolt, c. 370 B.C. The revolt appeared to be leading to a breakup of the entire western half of the empire into autonomous states. His own son's desertion to Artaxerxes was, however, the beginning of the end, which came when Datames was assassinated, c. 362 B.C.
GS84906. Silver obol, Gokturk 25; SNG BnF 278; SNG Levante 81; Casabonne series 1, pl. 3, 22, aEF, toned, tiny edge splits, weight 0.611 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 45o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 378 - 372 B.C.; obverse female head right (Aphrodite?), wearing earring, necklace, and diadem; reverse Aramaic legend right, helmeted male head (Ares?) right; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 28 (2 Jul 2016), lot 231; $210.00 (€186.90)
 


Persian Empire, Tarkumuwa (Datames), Satrap of Cilicia & Cappadocia, c. 384 - 362 B.C., Tarsus, Cilicia

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In historical times, Tarsos was first ruled by the Hittites, followed by Assyria, and then the Persian Empire. Tarsus, as the principal town of Cilicia, was the seat of a Persian satrapy from 400 B.C. onward. Indeed, Xenophon records that in 401 B.C., when Cyrus the Younger marched against Babylon, the city was governed by King Syennesis in the name of the Persian monarch. Alexander the Great passed through with his armies in 333 B.C. and nearly met his death here after a bath in the Cydnus. By this time Tarsus was already largely influenced by Greek language and culture, and as part of the Seleucid Empire it became more and more Hellenized. Strabo praises the cultural level of Tarsus in this period with its philosophers, poets and linguists. The schools of Tarsus rivaled those of Athens and Alexandria.
GS84907. Silver obol, SNG BnF 310, SNG Levante 217, Sunrise 48, Waddington 4567, Traite II 600, Gorturk -, VF, well centered and struck, toned, earthen deposits, light corrosion, weight 0.714 g, maximum diameter 11.1 mm, die axis 135o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, obverse head of female facing slightly left, drapery around neck; reverse draped bust of female (Aphrodite?) right, wearing tainia, hoop earring, and pearl necklace; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 28 (2 Jul 2016), lot 229; $175.00 (€155.75)
 


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Darius II - Artaxerxes II, c. 420 - 375 B.C.

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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
GA85125. Silver siglos, Carradice Type IV (middle) B, pl. XIV, 43; SNG Kayhan 1033; SGCV II 4683, VF, typical tight flan, toned, weight 5.507 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, c. 420 - 375 B.C.; obverse Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, dagger in right, bow in left, bearded, crowned, quiver on shoulder, waist indicated, pellets on sleeves; reverse irregular oblong punch; $175.00 (€155.75)
 


Persian Empire, Tarsos, Cilicia, Pharnabazos, c. 379 - 374 B.C.

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In 377, Pharnabazos was made commander of a Persian attempt to retake Egypt, which had rebelled and had defeated two previous attempts to retake it. Pharnabazos hired Greek mercenaries under the Athenian general Iphicrates to reinforce his army. A dispute with Iphicrates resulted in failure of the expedition.
GS84908. Silver obol, Casabonne series 4, SNG Levante 76, SNG BnF 257, SNGvA 8645 (uncertain Cilicia), SNG Cop -, BMC Lycaonia -, aEF, toned, slightest corrosion, weight 0.740 g, maximum diameter 10.9 mm, die axis 90o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 379 - 374 B.C.; obverse Baaltars seated half left on backless throne, torso bare, himation around hips and legs and over left shoulder and arm, grounded long lotus-tipped scepter vertical before him in right hand, left hand at waist; reverse head of bearded warrior to left, wearing crested Attic helmet with raised ear flap and adorned with tendril; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 27 (28 May 2016), lot 254; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


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.; HGC 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; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


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, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, 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; $125.00 (€111.25)
 


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Xerxes I - Darius II, c. 485 - 420 B.C.

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After the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah, the Jews were taken into the seventy-year Babylonian captivity. When ancient Persia took control of Babylon, Haman, the royal vizier, convinced King Ahasuerus to destroy all the Jews. Esther, Ahasuerus' queen and, unknown to him, a Jew, interceded on behalf of her people. By law the King could not rescind the order to slaughter the Jews, so he issued a second decree that permitted the Jews to defend themselves with armed force. The King replaced Haman with Mordecai, a palace official, cousin and foster parent of Esther. The Jews defeated Haman, killing his ten sons that were leading the attacks, and then hanged Haman. The day after the battle was designated as a day of feasting and rejoicing. Scholars identify King Ahasuerus as the historical king Xerxes I, 485 - 465 B.C. Xerxes is the Greek version of his name but the Babylonians knew him as Khshayarsha. The Hebrew name Ahasuerus, appears to be derived from Khshayarsha, with the letter A added at the beginning.
GA85132. Silver siglos, Carradice type IIIb (early), pl. XII, 16 ff.; Rosen 673; SGCV II 4682; Carradice NC 1998 pl. 7, 155 ff.; Carradice Price p. 67 and pl. 17, 1 ff., aVF, toned, weight 5.442 g, maximum diameter 13.9 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 485 - 420 B.C.; obverse kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand, quiver on shoulder, bearded, crowned; reverse irregular oblong punch, banker's mark; $125.00 (€111.25)
 


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 Tub 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; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Xerxes I - Darius II, c. 485 - 420 B.C.

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After the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah, the Jews were taken into the seventy-year Babylonian captivity. When ancient Persia took control of Babylon, Haman, the royal vizier, convinced King Ahasuerus to destroy all the Jews. Esther, Ahasuerus' queen and, unknown to him, a Jew, interceded on behalf of her people. By law the King could not rescind the order to slaughter the Jews, so he issued a second decree that permitted the Jews to defend themselves with armed force. The King replaced Haman with Mordecai, a palace official, cousin and foster parent of Esther. The Jews defeated Haman, killing his ten sons that were leading the attacks, and then hanged Haman. The day after the battle was designated as a day of feasting and rejoicing. Scholars identify King Ahasuerus as the historical king Xerxes I, 485 - 465 B.C. Xerxes is the Greek version of his name but the Babylonians knew him as Khshayarsha. The Hebrew name Ahasuerus, appears to be derived from Khshayarsha, with the letter A added at the beginning.
GA85199. Silver siglos, Carradice type IIIb (early), pl. XII, 16 ff.; Rosen 673; SGCV II 4682; Carradice NC 1998 pl. 7, 155 ff.; Carradice Price p. 67 and pl. 17, 1 ff., gF, toned, banker's mark, weight 5.405 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 485 - 420 B.C.; obverse Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand, bearded, crowned; reverse irregular oblong punch; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


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; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Xerxes I - Darius II, c. 485 - 420 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
After the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah, the Jews were taken into the seventy-year Babylonian captivity. When ancient Persia took control of Babylon, Haman, the royal vizier, convinced King Ahasuerus to destroy all the Jews. Esther, Ahasuerus' queen and, unknown to him, a Jew, interceded on behalf of her people. By law the King could not rescind the order to slaughter the Jews, so he issued a second decree that permitted the Jews to defend themselves with armed force. The King replaced Haman with Mordecai, a palace official, cousin and foster parent of Esther. The Jews defeated Haman, killing his ten sons that were leading the attacks, and then hanged Haman. The day after the battle was designated as a day of feasting and rejoicing. Scholars identify King Ahasuerus as the historical king Xerxes I, 485 - 465 B.C. Xerxes is the Greek version of his name but the Babylonians knew him as Khshayarsha. The Hebrew name Ahasuerus, appears to be derived from Khshayarsha, with the letter A added at the beginning.
GA85131. Silver siglos, Carradice type IIIb (early), pl. XII, 16 ff.; Rosen 673; SGCV II 4682; Carradice NC 1998 pl. 7, 155 ff.; Carradice Price p. 67 and pl. 17, 1 ff., VF, toned, typical tight flan, weight 5.385 g, maximum diameter 15.7 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 485 - 420 B.C.; obverse Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand, bearded, crowned; reverse irregular oblong punch; $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.; HGC 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; $90.00 (€80.10)
 


Persian Empire, Uncertain Satrap (Mazaios in Cilicia?), Mid 4th Century B.C.

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Both the satrap and the satrapy for this type are uncertain. Traditionally it has been attributed to Evagoras II who, after he was deposed as the king of Salamis, Cyprus, became the Persia satrap at Sidon, Phoenicia, c. 351 - 346 B.C. Axel Winzer attributes it to Mazaios, the Persian satrap in Cilicia, c. 361 - 334 B.C.
GS84512. Silver obol, Winzer 18.3 (Mazaios); Göktürk 52; SNGvA 8657; Traité II 1182 (Evagoras II); BMC Cyprus p. cx, 15 (Evagoras II); SNG BnF -; SNG Levante -, aVF, nice style, rough, tight flan, reverse off center, weight 0.545 g, maximum diameter 11.7 mm, die axis 315o, uncertain (Tarsos?) mint, mid 4th century B.C.; obverse head of satrap left, wearing kyrbasia, star before, linear border; reverse turreted and draped bust of Tyche (or Tyche-Aphrodite) left, linear border; from the Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


Persian Empire, Satraps of Mysia, Orontas, c. 357 - 352 B.C.

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GB57341. Bronze AE 9, Troxell Orontes -, BMC Mysia -, SNG Cop -, SNG BnF -, et al.; cf. CNG auction 247, lot 120 (very similar AE 9, but with head right, also unpublished), F, weight 0.524 g, maximum diameter 9.1 mm, die axis 270o, Adramyteum mint, c. 357 - 352 B.C.; obverse ADPA, head left; reverse forepart of Pegasos right, OPON below; apparently unpublished; $34.00 (€30.26)
 







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REFERENCES

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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).
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Meshorer, Y. & S. Qedar. The Coinage of Samaria in the 4th Century BCE. (Jerusalem, 1991).
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Catalog current as of Sunday, July 23, 2017.
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Persian Empire