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Home>Catalog>GreekCoins>Geographic-AllPeriods>Persia&Mesopotamia

Persia and Mesopotamia

Also included on this page are coins minted under Persian rule in other regions of the Persian Empire.


Seleucid Kingdom, Antiochus III the Great, 223 - 187 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Seleucia on the Tigris is now under a suburb about 18 miles south of modern Baghdad.
GS63505. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 1162(2), Newell ESM 241, Hoover Syrian 447mm, F, marks and scratches, weight 14.962 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 135o, Seleucia on the Tigris mint, winter of 211/210 B.C.; obverse Antiochos' diademed head right, bangs over forehead and sideburn, diadem ends waiving elaborately behind head, dot border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY, Apollo Delphios naked seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right, resting left on grounded bow behind, monograms left, right, and in exergue; $290.00 (€217.50)

Seleucid Kingdom, Seleukos I Nikator, 312 - 281 B.C., Babylonia, In the Name of Alexander the Great
Click for a larger photo Price dates this type 311 - 305 B.C. Houghton dates it 311 - 300 B.C. Houghton notes that Kritt down-dated the chronology due to the complexity of the emissions and two hoards that support the revised dating. Since it seems Antigonus managed to conquer Babylon in 310 B.C., the type should be dated after Seleukos recovered the city.
GS56726. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton 82, cf. Price 3753 ff. (various controls left), F, weight 16.880 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, Babylon mint, c. 309 - 300 B.C.; obverse Herakles' head right, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, eagle in extended right, long scepter vertical behind in left, controls letters off flan on left, monogram in wreath under throne; high-relief obverse; $260.00 (€195.00)

Seleucid Kingdom, Antiochus II Theos, 261 - 246 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Antiochus II Theos was the son of Antiochus I and Princess Stratonice, the daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes. He inherited a state of war with Egypt and while he was thus occupied, his satraps in Parthia and Bactria declared independence. To make peace with Egypt and to seal the treaty, Antiochus repudiated his wife Laodice I, exiled her to Ephesus, and married Ptolemy II's daughter Berenice. Antiochus later left Berenice and their infant son Antiochus, to live again with Laodice. Laodice poisoned him, had Berenice and her infant son murdered, and proclaimed her son Seleucus II as King.
GS63506. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 587.1c, SNG Spaer 385-6, Newell ESM 180, Hoover Syrian 236g, F, a little rough, weight 15.814 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 90o, Seleucia on Tigris mint, c. 261 - 256 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochus I right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY, Apollo seated left on omphalos, examining arrow with right, resting left hand on grounded bow, monogram outer left, monogram outer right; $245.00 (€183.75)

Seleucid Kingdom, Antiochus I Soter, 281 - 261 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Antiochus faced a formidable task holding the empire together. Revolt broke out in Syria almost immediately after his father's death. He earned the title Soter (savior) for victory over hordes of Gauls that attacked Anatolia. Elsewhere, he had little success. He was forced to abandon Macedonia, Thrace, Bithynia, and Cappadocia and to execute his eldest son for rebellion.
SH63507. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 379.6c, Newell ESM 177, Hoover Syrian 128g, F, a little rough, edge chips, weight 15.445 g, maximum diameter 30.1 mm, die axis 135o, Seleucia on the Tigris mint, c. 263 - 261 B.C.; obverse diademed head right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTI−OXOY, Apollo seated left on omphalos, examining arrow with right, resting left hand on grounded bow, monogram outer left, monogram outer right; $245.00 (€183.75)

Seleucid Kingdom, Antiochus I Soter, 280 - 261 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Antiochus faced a formidable task holding the empire together. Revolt broke out in Syria almost immediately after his father's death. He earned the title Soter (savior) for victory over hordes of Gauls that attacked Anatolia. Elsewhere, he had little success. He was forced to abandon Macedonia, Thrace, Bithynia, and Cappadocia and to execute his eldest son for rebellion.
SH63912. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 379.3, Hoover Syrian 128g, cf. Newell ESM 149, aVF, marks, scratches, small edge flake, weight 15.312 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 270o, Seleucia on Tigris mint, 280 - 261 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochus I right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY, Apollo seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right, resting left on grounded bow, monograms outer left and outer right; $245.00 (€183.75)

Macedonian Kingdom, Antigonus I Monophthalmus , as Satrap of Babylonia, 317 - 311 B.C.
Click for a larger photo A rare denomination struck only at the Babylon mint.

When Alexander's empire was divided, his general Seleucus received the satrapy of Babylonia. From about 317 to about 311 B.C., however, Antigonus I Monophthalmus (The "One-Eyed") took over as ruler of all Mesopotamia. Seleucus took refuge with Ptolemy of Egypt and with his aid was able to reenter Babylon in 312 B.C. In 306 Antigonus became the first of the Macedonian generals to take the royal title. In 301 he was defeated and killed by the combined armies of Seleucus and Lysimachus.
GS68012. Silver 1/30th tetradrachm, Price 3729, Müller Alexander -, VF, reverse scuff, uneven toning, weight 0.530 g, maximum diameter 8.92 mm, die axis 0o, Babylon mint, 317 - 311 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse MYP monogram in wreath over XA monogram on left, club, bow and quiver; $240.00 (€180.00)

Seleucid Kingdom, Antiochus I Soter, 280 - 261 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Seleucia was one of the great cities of the world during Hellenistic and Roman times. It stood in Mesopotamia, on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the smaller town of Ctesiphon, in present day Babil Governorate, Iraq. It was founded about 305 B.C., when an earlier city was enlarged and dedicated as the first capital of the Seleucid Empire by Seleucus I Nicator. Although Seleucus soon moved his main capital to Antioch, in northern Syria, Seleucia remained an important center of trade, Hellenistic culture, and regional government under the Seleucids.
SH63499. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 379.3c; Newell ESM 155; Houghton CSE 952; SNG Spaer -, VF, scratches, flaking, small edge chips, weight 15.796 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 315o, Seleucia on Tigris mint, 280 - 261 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochus I right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY, Apollo seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right, resting left on grounded bow, monogram outer left, monogram outer right; $225.00 (€168.75)

Parthian Kingdom, Vardanes I, 40 - 45 A.D.
Click for a larger photo Vardanes I succeeded his father Artabanus III, but had to continually fight against his brother Gotarzes II to keep his throne. He once lost it to him temporarily. He also prepared for war against Rome, with the aim of reconquering Armenia, but ultimately decided against facing the legions. He was assassinated while hunting and Gotarzes II became King again.
GS66790. Billon tetradrachm, cf. Sellwood 64.28-30 (various months); Shore 352 (month off flan); BMC Parthia p. 156, 23 - 29 (all month obscure or off flan), VF, porous, typical tight flan, weight 13.494 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia on the Tigris mint, 44 - 45 A.D.; obverse bearded, diademed and cuirassed bust left, pointed short beard, ear covered, royal wart on brow; reverse BACIΛEWC BACIΛEWN APCAKOY EYEPΓATO ∆IKAIOY EΠIΦANOYC ΦIΛEΛΛHNOC, king enthroned left, receiving palm branch from Tyche, standing right, cornucopia in her left, ςNT (year 356) between heads, uncertain Parthian month in ex (off flan); $180.00 (€135.00)

Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Darius II - Artaxerxes II, c. 420 - 375 B.C.
Click for a larger photo
Minted in Lydia, Anatolia 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.
GA56988. Silver siglos, Carradice Type IV (middle) B, Carradice Price p. 73 and pl. 19, 217 ff.; SNG Kayhan 1033; SGCV II 4683, VF, weight 5.420 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, obverse Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, dagger in right, bow in left, quiver on right shoulder, crowned, waist indicated, pellets on sleeves; reverse irregular oblong punch; $130.00 (€97.50)

Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Darius II - Artaxerxes II, c. 420 - 375 B.C.
Click for a larger photo
Minted in Lydia, Anatolia 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.
GA56981. Silver siglos, Carradice Type IV (middle) B, Carradice Price p. 73 and pl. 19, 217 ff.; SNG Kayhan 1033; SGCV II 4683, aVF, weight 5.468 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, obverse Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, dagger in right, bow in left, quiver on right shoulder, crowned, waist indicated, pellets on sleeves; reverse irregular oblong punch; $125.00 (€93.75)

Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Euergetes Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.
Click for a larger photo After his brother Demetrius was captured by the Parthians, Antiochus VII was made king. He married Demetrius' wife Cleopatra Thea. He defeated the usurper Tryphon at Dora and laid siege to Jerusalem in 134. According to Josephus, the Hasmonean king John Hyrcanus opened King David's sepulcher and removed three thousand talents, which he then paid Antiochus to spare the city. Sidetes then attacked the Parthians, supported by a body of Jews under Hyrcanus, and briefly took back Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Media before being ambushed and killed by Phraates II. His brother Demetrius II had by then been released, but the Seleucid realm was now restricted to Syria. Antiochus VII was the last Seleucid king of any stature.
GS69926. Silver drachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2078(1), SNG Spaer 194 - 195, Newell SMA 312, Houghton CSE 269, VF/F, superb portrait, struck with a worn reverse die, weight 3.854 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain mint, early in reign; obverse diademed head right, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY EYEPΓETOY, Nike advancing left, wreath extended in right, HP monogram over ∆ outer left; $125.00 (€93.75)

Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Carrhae, Mesopotamia
Click for a larger photo Caracalla was assassinated near Carrhae on 8 April 217, while urinating on a roadside. When his escort gave him privacy to relieve himself, Julius Martialis, an officer of his personal bodyguard, ran forward and killed Caracalla with a single sword stroke. Martialis fled on horseback, but was killed by a bodyguard archer. Herodian says Caracalla had executed Martialis' brother a few days earlier on an unproven charge. Cassius Dio says that Martialis was resentful at not being promoted to the rank of centurion. Macrinus, the Praetorian Guard Prefect, who succeeded him as emperor, may have arranged the assassination.
RP67880. Bronze AE 20, cf. BMC Arabia p.85, 16 ff.; SNG Hunterian 2485 ff.; SNG Cop 176 ff., F, nice green patina, flan crack, weak legends, weight 4.254 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 180o, Carrhae mint, obverse M AVR ANTONINVS P F AVG, laureate head right, with short beard; reverse COL MET ANTONINIANA, turreted, veiled, and draped bust of Tyche right; $80.00 (€60.00)

Parthian Empire, Orodes II, 57 - 38 B.C.
Click for a larger photo The severed head of the Roman general Crassus was presented to Orodes II during a performance of Euripides' tragedy, The Bacchae. It was used as a prop, carried by one of the actors in the play. In Rome it was said the Parthians poured molten gold into his mouth as a symbol of his thirst for wealth.
GS69914. Bronze chalkous, cf. Sellwood 47.36, Fair, weight 1.819 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 180o, Ecbatana mint, c. 57 - 38 B.C.; obverse diademed bust left with short pointed beard, star before, crescent behind; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ BAΣIΛEΩN APΣAKOY EYEPΓET ∆IKAIOY EΠIΦANOYΣ ΦIΛEΛΛHNOΣ (or similar), uncertain object (Nike walking right?), AT monogram on right; rare; $75.00 (€56.25)

Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Nisibis, Mesopotamia
Click for a larger photo Nisibis is the city of Netzivin in the Talmud. The Jews of Nisibis resisted the Roman conqueror, Trajan, to maintain Parthian rule. The city was taken only after a lengthy siege. After the it fell, Nisibis was laid waste and the massacre was so great that the houses, streets, and roads were strewn with corpses.
RP59123. Bronze AE 26, BMC Arabia p. 120, 5; SNG Cop 235; SNG Hunterian -; SNG Righetti -; SNG Milan -; Lindgren -, gF, weight 13.783 g, maximum diameter 25.8 mm, die axis 0o, Nisibis mint, obverse AYT KAI MAP AY CE AΛEΞAN∆POC, radiate bust right; reverse CEΠ KOΛO NEΣIBI MHT, bust of Tyche right, turreted, draped and veiled, ram above, stars before and behind; scarce; $75.00 (€56.25)

Parthian Empire, Vologases III, 105 - 147 A.D.
Click for a larger photo Seleucia, where this coin was minted, stood in Mesopotamia, on the west bank of the Tigris River. Trajan destroyed it in 117 A.D. It was rebuilt after Hadrian ceded the area but destroyed again by the Romans in 164 A.D. Today it lies under a Baghdad suburb.
GB17922. Bronze dichalkon, Sellwood 79.4; Shore 622, aVF, weight 1.106 g, maximum diameter 11.4 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia on the Tigris mint, obverse bearded bust left wearing diadem and earring; reverse turreted and draped bust of Tyche right, holding diadem? date before?; nice green patina; rare; $65.00 (€48.75)

Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Edessa, Mesopotamia
Click for a larger photo Tyche (Greek for luck; the Roman equivalent was Fortuna) was the presiding tutelary deity that governed the fortune and prosperity of a city, its destiny. Increasingly during the Hellenistic period, cities had their own specific iconic version of Tyche, wearing a mural crown (a crown like the walls of the city).
RP56756. Bronze AE 28, SNG Cop 220; BMC Arabia p. 111, 128 ff., F, porous, weight 14.292 g, maximum diameter 28.5 mm, die axis 180o, Mesopotamia, Edessa mint, obverse AYTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse MHT KOΛ E∆ECCHNΩN, veiled and turreted bust of Tyche left, a flaming altar below her chin, before her a small figure of Aquarius standing on a pedestal holding a water-skin; $65.00 (€48.75)

Persian(?), Sasanian(?), Islamic (?), Uncertain Date
Click for a larger photo A Bulla (plural, Bullae) is a lump of clay or lead molded around a cord and stamped with a seal that identifies the sender. With a bulla in place a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, thereby ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination.
BZ49891. Lead bulla (tag seal), Lead bulla seal, the bust appears to be too exotic to be Roman or Byzantine, weight 6.832 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, obverse bust right, helmeted(?) or crowned(?); reverse bust(?); $33.00 (€24.75)


ITEMS PER PAGE 13510203050



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Friday, April 18, 2014.
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Ancient Coins of Persia and Mesopotamia