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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Hellenistic Monarchies ▸ Kingdom of ChalkisView Options:  |  |  | 

Kingdom of Chalkis

The Kingdom of Chalkis in Coele Syria was established during the collapse of the Seleukid Empire (c. 85 B.C.) by Ptolemaios son of Mennaios (also called Ptolemy I), an Ituraean Arab dynast. In 64 B.C., Ptolemaios bribed Pompey the Great to forego annexing his kingdom and was allowed to rule as Tetrarch. In 40 B.C., Ptolemaios was succeeded by his son Lysanias, who foolishly supported Mattathias Antigonos against Herod the Great and the Romans, resulting in his execution in 36 B.C. Mark Antony gave the kingdom to Cleopatra VII. She leased the kingdom to Zenodoros, who may have been a son of Lysanias. After Cleopatra's suicide in 30 B.C., Augustus allowed Zenodoros to rule as Tetrarch. In 23 B.C., after complaints from Chalkis' neighbors, Augustus deposed Zenodoros and gave his lands to Herod the Great. After Herod's death, Chalkis appears to have been made part of the Roman province of Syria, but may have been ruled by Herodian tetrarchs. In 37 A.D., Caligula allowed Herod of Chalcis to rule with the title basileus (king). He was succeeded by Herod Agrippa II in 48 A.D., who was in turn succeeded by Aristobulus of Chalcis in 53 A.D. After the death of Aristobulus of Chalcus in 92 A.D., Chalkis became part of the Roman province of Syria.


Tetrarchy of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C., Cleopatra Countermark

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When Aristobulus II was murdered by Pompey's party in Judaea (49 B.C.), his sons and daughters found protection with Ptolemaios (Ant. xiv. 7, § 4; B. J. i. 9, § 2). It may be that the national Jewish party at that time depended for support on the Itureans in Chalcis, and perhaps the following statement has reference to that fact: "On the 17th of Adar danger threatened the rest of the Soferim in the city of Chalcis, and it was salvation for Israel" (Meg. Ta'an. xii.).
CM85831. Bronze AE 19, Herman 7.c (same inscription var. & countermark); HGC 9 1441 (S) var. (inscription); BMC Galatia p. 279, 2 var. (same); Lindgren III 2130 var. (same), VF, centered on a tight flan; c/m: VF, weight 6.715 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis sub Libano mint, 85 - 40 B.C.; countermark: c. 36 - 30 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; countermark: bust of Cleopatra VII right in oval punch; reverse eagle flying right, NE monogram between wing and tail, ΠTOΛEMAIO / TETPAPXH / AXP (AX ligate) in three lines below; ex Sayles & Lavender; scarce; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00
 


Kingdom of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C.

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Ptolemaios son of Mennaios (also known as Ptolemy I), an Ituraean Arab dynast, established the Kingdom of Chalkis, c. 85 B.C., during the collapse of the Seleukid Empire. The kingdom, with its capitol at Chalcis sub Libano at the foot of Antilibanus, included Heliopolis, the valley of the Marsyas, and the mountainous region of Ituraea. In 64 B.C., he bribed Pompey the Great to forgo annexing his kingdom into the new Roman province of Syria and to allow him to continue ruling his territory as Tetrarch. Ptolemaios was succeeded by his son Lysanias, who was put to death by Marc Antony for supporting Mattathias Antigonus over Herod the Great. Antony gave the tiny kingdom of Chalkis to Cleopatra as a gift.
RP85946. Bronze AE 19, Herman 1, SNG Cop 413, Lindgren 1218, Cohen DCA 468, HGC 9 1439 (S), BMC Phoenicia p. 203, 18 corr. (Tripolis), VF, well centered and struck on a tight flan, attractive style, porous, weight 6.219 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis sub Libano mint, 73 - 72 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus (or tetrarch) right; reverse the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux, standing facing, heads confronted, star above each head, each wearing a petasos and Roman military garb, spear in outer hand, inner hand on his hip, LMΣ (Seleukid era year 240) downward on right; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00
 


Tetrarchy of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Lysanias, 40 - 36 B.C.

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Lysanias is called Tetrarch of Abila by Josephus. Lysanias' father Ptolemaios was married to Alexandra, one of the sisters of Mattathias Antigonus. Lysanias offered the Parthian satrap Barzapharnes a thousand talents and 500 women to depose Hyrcanus and put his uncle (or step-uncle) Antigonus on the throne of Judaea (Josephus B.J. 1.248). When Lysanias continued to support Antigonus against the Roman nominee Herod the Great, Mark Antony had him executed, and gave his territory to Cleopatra VII.
GB67917. Bronze AE 21, Herman 11.g, RPC I 4769, HGC 9 145 corr., Lindgren III 1243, BMC Galatia -, VF, weight 5.480 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis sub Libano mint, c. 40 B.C.; obverse veiled female bust right, no inscription; reverse double cornucopia, flanked by four ligatures ΛYCA, TETP, APX, IΦ (Lysanias tetrarch and high priest); very rare; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00
 


Tetrarchy of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Lysanias, c. 40 - 36 B.C.

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Lysanias is called Tetrarch of Abila by Josephus. Lysanias' father Ptolemaios was married to Alexandra, Mattathias Antigonus' sister. Lysanias offered the Parthian satrap Barzapharnes a thousand talents and 500 women to depose Hyrcanus and put his uncle (or step-uncle) Antigonus on the throne of Judaea (Josephus B.J. 1.248). When Lysanias continued to support Antigonus against the Roman nominee Herod the Great, Mark Antony had him executed, and gave his territory to Cleopatra VII.
RP86409. Bronze AE 18, Herman 12; RPC I 4770; SNG Cop 415; BMC Galatia p. 280, 6; Lindgren III 1244; HGC 9 1449 (R1), VF, uneven strike, flan adjustment marks on weak areas, small edge split, weight 3.706 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis ad Libanon (Qinnasrin, Syria) mint, c. 40 - 36 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Lysanias right, ΠTO monogram behind; reverse ΛYΣANIOY TETPAPXOY KAI APXIEPEΩΣ, Athena Nikephoros standing left, Nike offering wreath in right hand, left hand on grounded shield behind, ΦΛ monogram in right field; rare; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00
 


Tetrarchy of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Lysanias, c. 40 - 36 B.C.

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Lysanias is called Tetrarch of Abila by Josephus. Lysanias' father Ptolemaios was married to Alexandra, Mattathias Antigonus' sister. Lysanias offered the Parthian satrap Barzapharnes a thousand talents and 500 women to depose Hyrcanus and put his uncle (or step-uncle) Antigonus on the throne of Judaea (Josephus B.J. 1.248). When Lysanias continued to support Antigonus against the Roman nominee Herod the Great, Mark Antony had him executed, and gave his territory to Cleopatra VII.
GB86410. Bronze AE 18, Herman 12.a (same countermark); Lindgren III 1244 (same); RPC I 4770; HGC 9 1449 (R1); SNG Cop 415; BMC Galatia p. 280, 6, aVF, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, marks, scratches, corrosion; c/m: Fair, weight 5.120 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis ad Libanon (Qinnasrin, Syria) mint, c. 36 - 23 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Lysanias right, ΠTO monogram behind, countermark before below chin; reverse ΛYΣANIOY TETPAPXOY KAI APXIEPEΩΣ, Athena Nikephoros standing left, Nike offering wreath in right hand, left hand on grounded shield behind, ΦΛ monogram in right field; rare; $95.00 SALE PRICE $85.50
 


Tetrarchy of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Lysanias, 40 - 36 B.C.

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RIC notes, One would expect the portrait to be of Lysanias, but the monogram suggests the portrait is a posthumous portrait of Ptolemy. RPC also notes that the diademed portrait is surprising as neither Ptolemy nor Lysanias had the rank of king.
RY84820. Bronze AE 19, Lindgren III 1238 (same obv. die, same countermark) / 1239 (same rev. die), RPC I 4768b, Herman 10d, SNG Cop -, F, dark patina with earthen fill, tight flan, corrosion, weight 6.581 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis ad Libanon (Qinnasrin, Syria) mint, 40 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, wearing earring, ΠTO(?) monogram behind, monogram countermark on neck; reverse AVCANIOV TETP APX IΦ, Nike standing left raising wreath in right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand, monograms in fields, BOC (year 272 of the Seleukid Era) downward on right; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00
 







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REFERENCES

Burnett, A., M. Amandry and P.P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (1992 and supplement).
Herman, D. "The Coins of the Ituraeans" in INR 1 (2006), pp. 51 - 72.
Hoover, O. D. Handbook of Syrian Coins, Royal and Civic Issues, Fourth to First Centuries BC, HGC Vol. 9. (Lancaster, PA, 2009).
Lindgren, H & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coinage of Asia Minor and the Levant. (San Mateo, 1985).
Lindgren, H. Lindgren III: Ancient Greek Bronze Coins from the Lindgren Collection. (1993).
Mionnet, T. Description de Médailles antiques grecques et romaines. (Paris, 1806-1837).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators 49 - 27 BC. (London, 1998).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 7: Cyprus to India. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain IV, Fitzwilliam Museum, Leake and General Collections, Part 8: Syria - Nabataea. (London, 1971).
Wroth, W. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Syria. (London, 1899).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, November 22, 2017.
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Kingdom of Chalkis