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Home>Catalog>GreekCoins>PersianEmpire

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 Empire, Carian Satrapy, Pixodaros, c. 340 - 335 B.C.
Click for a larger photo 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 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; $760.00 (€570.00)

Persian Empire, Tarkumuwa (Datames), Satrap of Cilicia & Cappadocia, c. 384 - 360 B.C., Tarsus, Cilicia
Click for a larger photo 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.
SH70110. Silver stater, Casabonne series 1; Moysey issue 4; SNG BnF 248; SNG Cop 264; BMC Lycaonia p. 165, 18; SNG Levante -; SNGvA -, aVF, spotty toning, faint porosity, weight 10.220 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 225o, Tarsos mint, obverse female head facing slightly left, wearing earring and necklace; reverse Aramaic legend: TRDMW (Datames) on left, bearded and helmeted male head (Ares?) right, wearing crested Athenian helmet, O/T monogram right; ex CNG auction 269, lot 146; $490.00 (€367.50)

Persian Empire, Judaea (Yehudah), 375 - 333 B.C.
Click for a larger photo
Minted in Judaea while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. Click here to see a map of the Persian Empire about 500 B.C.
SH54928. Silver half-gerah, Hendin 1059, Meshorer TJC 16, Fine, weight 0.214 g, maximum diameter 6.4 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, c. 350 B.C.; obverse diademed head to right; reverse Aramaic inscription: YHDH (Yehudah), falcon with wings spread, head right; ex Amphora Coins (David Hendin); rare; $320.00 (€240.00)

Persian Empire, Satrapy of Cilicia, Pharnabazos, c. 379 - 374 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Cilicia extended along the Mediterranean coast east from Pamphylia to the Amanus Mountains, which separated it from Syria. The Persian Empire initially allowed tributary native kings to govern. The last king of Cilicia was dethroned after he sided in a civil war with Cyrus the Younger, who was defeated by Artaxerxes II. Cilicia became an ordinary satrapy. In 377, Pharnabazos, the satrap of Cilicia, 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 but a dispute with Iphicrates resulted in failure of the expedition.
SH65291. Silver stater, SNGvA 5922, SNG BnF 247, SNG Cop 266, SNG Levante -, VF, rough, edge cut, underweight, weight 9.545 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 90o, Tarsos mint, c. 378 - 373 B.C.; obverse female head facing slightly left, wearing pendant earring and necklace; reverse helmeted and bearded head right (Ares?), Aramaic inscription FRNBZW KLK (Pharnabazos Cilicia) on left; $320.00 (€240.00)

Persian Empire, Arabia, Gaza, Samaria or Judaea, c. 375 - 333 B.C., Imitative of Athens
Click for a larger photo A Persian Period imitation of Athenian types from the Middle East.
JD66401. Silver obol, cf. Hendin 1011, Meshorer TJC 4 ff., SNG ANS 15 ff., VF, toned, weight 0.576 g, maximum diameter 8.1 mm, die axis 270o, obverse helmeted head of Athena right; reverse AΘE, owl standing right, wings closed, head facing, within incuse square; $200.00 (€150.00)

Persian Empire, Lycia, Uncertain Dynasts, c. 520 - 480 B.C.
Click for a larger photo In 546 B.C., Lycia was involuntary incorporated into the Persian Empire. The local population was decimated, and the area received an influx of Persians. Lycia fought for Persia in the Greco-Persian Wars. Intermittently free after the Greeks defeated the Achaemenid Empire, it briefly joined the Delian League, it seceded and became independent, was under the Persians again, revolted again, was conquered by Mausolus of Caria, returned to the Persians, and went under Macedonian hegemony at the defeat of the Persians by Alexander the Great.
GS65759. Silver diobol, cf. SNG Cop 1, SNGvA 4047 (trihemiobol), BMC Lycia 2 (forepart right), SNG Keckman 418 (stater), Rosen 684 (stater), Asyut Hoard 744 - 745 (staters), VF, weight 1.546 g, maximum diameter 9.4 mm, die axis 180o, Lycia mint, 525 - 480 B.C.; obverse forepart of boar left; reverse incuse square; rare; $135.00 (€101.25)

Caria, Uncertain Satrap, c. 400 - 350 B.C.
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GS70805. Silver tetartemorion, Troxell Carians 4, SNG Keckman 862, Klein 503, cf. SNG Kayhan 990 (no inscription), SNG Turkey VIII -, SNG Cop -, F, toned, weight 0.430 g, maximum diameter 8.2 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain mint, obverse head and neck of a lion left, head turned slightly facing; reverse head and neck of a bull left, head turned facing, Karian inscription (resembles MV-H-Φ, clockwise from above), all within a round incuse; rare; $120.00 (€90.00)

Persian Empire, Samaria, c. 375 - 333 B.C.
Click for a larger photo
Minted in Samaria while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. Click here to see a map of the Persian Empire about 500 B.C.
JD35912. Silver obol, Meshorer-Qedar 161, Hendin -, F, weight 0.798 g, maximum diameter 8.9 mm, c. 375 - 333 B.C.; obverse diademed bearded male head right; reverse facing lion scalp; $75.00 (€56.25)

Tarsos(?), Cilicia, 4th Century B.C.
Click for a larger photo Perhaps struck at Tarsos under the Persian satrap Mazaios, 361 - 334 B.C.
GS64360. Silver obol, SNG BnF 459; SNG Levante 228; SNG Cop 316; Traite II 705; BMC Lycaonia p. 176, 82 (all uncertain Cilicia), VF, areas of flat strike, toned, weight 0.807 g, maximum diameter 11.1 mm, die axis 315o, Tarsos(?) mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse Baal seated left, large stalk of grain and bunch of grapes in right, long scepter vertical behind in left; reverse eagle standing left on plough-share, wings open, within dotted square; rare; $70.00 (€52.50)

Kition, Cyprus, Baalmelek II, c. 425 - 400 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Kition (Latin: Citium), a city-kingdom on the southern coast of Cyprus (in present-day Larnaca), was established in the 13th century B.C. Cyprus, and its Phoenician city kingdoms including Kition, were under Persia hegemony from 545 to 332 B.C. In 312, Ptolemy conquered Cyprus, the last king of Kition was killed, and the Cypriot city kingdoms were dissolved.
GS64399. Silver obol, Tziambazis 25; BMC Cyprus p. 18, 52; SNG Cop 14; Traité 1229, aVF, struck with very worn dies, weight 0.904 g, maximum diameter 9.4 mm, die axis 0o, Kition mint, c. 425 - 400 B.C.; obverse Herakles' beardless head right, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse lion right attacking kneeling stag right, Aramaic letters bk above, dotted square border all within a square incuse; rare; $70.00 (€52.50)

Persian Empire, Satraps of Mysia, Orontas, c. 357 - 352 B.C.
Click for a larger photo
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; $50.00 (€37.50)

Persian Empire, Carian Satrapy, Hekatomnos, c. 395 - 377 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Hecatomnus was a native of Mylasa, which he made his capital and the seat of his government. His coins 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.
GA64365. Silver tetartemorion, Troxell Carians 2c, SNG Kayhan 867; Klein 507; SNG Tüb 3312; SNGvA 1820 (Selge); Traité II -; SNG Cop -, VF, toned, weight 0.211 g, maximum diameter 6.9 mm, die axis 315o, Mylasa mint, c. 395 - 377 B.C.; obverse head of roaring lion left; reverse [EKA], facing male head (Apollo?) turned slightly left; scarce; $45.00 (€33.75)


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REFERENCES

Ashton, R., et al. "The Pixodarus Hoard" in Coin Hoards IX (2002).
Babelon, E. Traité des Monnaies Grecques et Romaines. (Paris, 1901-1932).
Betlyon, J. W. The Coinage and Mints of Phoenicia. The Pre-Alexandrine Period. Harvard Semitic Monographs, Vol. 26. (Chico, CA, 1982).
Carradice, Ian. "The Dinar Hoard of Persian Sigloi" in Studies Price. (London, 1998).
Deutsch, R. & M. Heltzer. "Numismatic Evidence from the Persian Period from the Sharon Plain" Transeuphratene, Vol 13, 1997, pp. 17-20.
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).
Hendin, David. Guide to Biblical Coins, 5th Edition. (Amphora, 2010).
Meshorer, Y. A Treasury of Jewish Coins from the Persian Period to Bar Kokhba. (Jerusalem, 2001).
Mildenberg, L. "Yehud: A Preliminary Study of the Provincial Coinage of Judaea" in Essays Thompson (1979).
Meshorer, Y. & S. Qedar. The Coinage of Samaria in the 4th Century BCE. (Jerusalem, 1991).
Moysey, R.A. "The Silver Stater Issues of Pharnabazos and Datames from the Mint of Tarsus in Cilicia" in ANSMN 31 (1986).
Noe, Sydney P. Two Hoards of Persian Sigloi. ANSNNM 136. (New York, 1956).
Price, M.J. & N. Waggoner. Archaic Greek Silver Coinage, The "Asyut" Hoard. (London, 1975).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum. (Copenhagen, 1942-1979).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock. (Berlin, 1957-1967).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Finland, The Erkki Keckman Collection in the Skopbank, Helsinki, (Helsinki, 1994-1999).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale. (Paris, 1993 - 2001).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum Switzerland I. Levante-Cilicia. (Zurich,1986).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection. (Istanbul, 2002).
Troxell, H.A. "Orontes, satrap of Mysia" in SNR 60. (1981).
Vismara, N. Monetazione Arcaica della Lycia. (Milan, 1989 -1996).
Waggoner, N. M. Early Greek Coins from the Collection of Jonathan P. Rosen (ANS ACNAC 5). (New York, 1983).
Forrer, L. Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Greek Coins formed by Sir Hermann Weber. (1922 - 1929).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, October 21, 2014.
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Persian Empire