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Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 175 - 164 B.C.
NEW In 168 B.C., Antiochus IV ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. The Temple in Jerusalem was seized and dedicated to Zeus. The Jews revolted and after three years of fighting, Judah Maccabee defeated the Seleukid army. Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, commemorates the rededication of the Temple in 165 B.C. According to the Talmud, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, enough time to prepare and consecrate fresh oil.
Antiochos IV assumed divine epithets, which no other Hellenistic king had done before, such as Theos Epiphanes ("God Manifest"). But his often eccentric behavior, capricious actions and even insanity led some of his contemporaries to call him Epimanes ("The Mad One"), a word play off of his title Epiphanes.GY95970. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 1396(a), SNG Spaer 973 var. (no control), Houghton CSE 99 var. (same), Newell SMA 54 var. (same), HGC 9 619, VF, superb portrait and depiction of Zeus, toned, bumps, marks, struck with a dirty reverse die, minor flan flaw below chin, weight 16.403 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 173/2 - 169/8 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochos IV right, diadem ends with stars (off flan), fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ/ ANTIOXOY downward on right, ΘEOY / EΠIΦANOYΣ downward on left, Zeus enthroned left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, Nike bearing wreath in right hand, scepter vertical in left hand, both uprights of throne back seen, (control) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $550.00 (€506.00)
Hostilian, Summer - November 251 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria
Hostilian was the younger son of Trajan Decius. After the latter's death, Hostilian was elevated to Augustus by his father's successor Trebonianus Gallus. He died of plague shortly after. McAlee notes, "Hostilian's Antiochene provincial coins are the rarest of the emperors of the 3rd century."RP95883. Billon tetradrachm, McAlee 1162 (very rare, same obverse die), Prieur 653 (2 spec.), Dura 574; BMC Galatia, p. 226, 627 var. (no officina indicated), VF, porosity, light deposits, weight 10.361 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 0o, 6th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 250 - summer 251 A.D.; obverse Γ OVA OCTIΛ ME KVINTOC KECAP, bareheaded and draped bust right, from the front, VI below; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOVCIAC (holder of Tribunitian power), eagle standing right on palm branch, head right, wings open, wreath in beak, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; only one specimen on Coin Archives; very rare; $380.00 (€349.60)
Palmyra, Palmyrene, Syria, c. 150 - 225 A.D.
Palmyra, a city in a large oasis in the Syrian Desert, 215 km northeast of Damascus, was the vital silk road caravan stop known as "the Bride of the Desert." Atargatis was the chief goddess of northern Syria, primarily a fertility goddess, but, she was also responsible for the protection and well-being of the people. Her chief sanctuary was at Hierapolis, modern Manbij, northeast of Aleppo, Syria. The Romans called her Dea Syria.GB95894. Bronze AE 12, SNG Munchen 519; BMC Galatia p. 149, 2; Krzyzanowska Monnayage IV; SNG Cop -, gF, dark patina, earthen deposits, weight 1.663 g, maximum diameter 12.0 mm, die axis 0o, Palmyra mint, c. 150 - 225 A.D.; obverse Atargatis bust facing, head left, wearing turreted crown, thin crescent left, star right; reverse radiate bust of young Malakbel (solar deity) left; extremely rare; $300.00 (€276.00)
Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Hieropolis, Cyrrhestica, Syria
Atargatis was the chief goddess of northern Syria in Classical Antiquity. Ctesias also used the name Derceto for her, and the Romans called her Dea Syriae ("Syrian goddess"). Primarily she was a goddess of fertility, but, as the baalat ("mistress") of her city and people, she was also responsible for their protection and well-being. Her chief sanctuary was at Hierapolis, modern Manbij, northeast of Aleppo, Syria.RP92557. Bronze AE 26, Butcher CRS 60a; SNG Hunterian II 2695 var. (laur. head r.); SNG Cop -; BMC Syria -; Lindgren-Kovacs -, aVF, dark brown tone with highlighting red earthen deposits, centered on a tight flan cutting off parts of legends, porosity, weight 13.513 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 0o, Hieropolis (Manbij, Syria) mint mint, 218 - 222 A.D.; obverse AYT KAI MAP AYP CE AΛEΞAN∆POC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ΘEAC CYPIAC - IEPAΠO-ΛITΩN, Atargatis riding lion walking left, she is seated slightly right, head left, wearing tall headdress, chiton and peplos, drum in right hand, scepter in left hand; from the Errett Bishop Collection; only one specimen on Coin Archives in the last two decades; extremely rare; $220.00 (€202.40)
Philip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria
Zeugma was founded by Seleucus I Nicator who almost certainly named the city Seleucia after himself. In 64 B.C. the city was conquered by Rome and renamed Zeugma, meaning "bridge of boats." On the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China, Zeugma had a pontoon bridge across the Euphrates, which was the long time border with the Persian Empire. The Legio IV Scythica was camped in Zeugma. The legion and the trade station brought great wealth to Zeugma until, in 256, Zeugma was fully destroyed by the Sassanid king, Shapur I. An earthquake then buried the city beneath rubble. The city never regained its earlier prosperity and, after Arab raids in the 5th and 6th centuries, it was abandoned again.SL89808. Bronze AE 27, Butcher 31c; SNG Cop 35; BMC Galatia p. 128, 35; SGICV 4142, NGC Ch VF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (4094544-007), weight 15.63 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 0o, Zeugma (Belkis, Turkey) mint, 247 - 249 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ZEYΓMATEΩN, tetrastyle temple with peribolos enclosing the sacred grove of trees, below Capricorn right; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins, NGC| Lookup; $200.00 (€184.00)
Philip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Antioch, Syria
Although Philip is portrayed as a young man on this coin, he was a boy, only about 10 or 11 years old, when this coin was struck.RP94245. Bronze 8 assaria, McAlee 1084 (extremely rare - no plate coin); Butcher CRS 498d; BMC Galatia p. 220, 577; RPC Online VIII - (unassigned; ID 7513, 1 specimen), F, well centered, porous, scratches, light earthen deposits, weight 12.751 g, maximum diameter 28.4 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 2nd issue, 247 - 249 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust left, seen from front, wearing balteus, spear in right hand resting on right shoulder, shield on left arm; reverse ANTIOXEΩN MHTPO KOΛΩN, towered, veiled, and draped bust of Tyche right, ∆ - E / S - C across fields, ram leaping right with head turned back above, star below; only one sale of this type recorded on Coin Archives for the last two decades, one of only three specimens known to Forum; extremely rare; $150.00 (€138.00)
Seleukid Kingdom, Demetrius I Soter, 162 - 150 B.C.
As required by the Treaty of Apamea, Demetrius, son of Seleucus IV, was held in Rome as a hostage. After Antiochus IV (his uncle) died, he claimed the right to rule but Rome preferred Antiochus V, a weak child. Demetrius escaped, was welcomed in Syria and took his throne. Antiochus V and his regent were executed. Demetrius defeated Judas Maccabaeus and restored Seleukid control over Judaea.GY93774. Bronze serrated AE 26, Houghton-Lorber II 1648, cf. SNG Fitzwilliam 5673, SNG Cop 240, Babylon Rois 725 (various control monograms), aVF, dark patina, earthen deposits, scratches, edge crack, central cavities, thick flan, weight 18.711 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 0o, perhaps Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 162 - 150 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right bow and quiver at his shoulder; reverse tripod lebes, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ∆HMHTPIOY downward on left, obscure monogram (control) outer left; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $130.00 (€119.60)
Seleukid Kingdom, Alexander I Balas, 152 - 145 B.C.
Alexander Balas, of humble origin, claimed to be Antiochus IV's son and heir to the Seleukid throne. Rome and Egypt accepted his claims. He married Cleopatra Thea, daughter of King Ptolemy Philometor of Egypt. With his father-in-law's help, he defeated Demetrius Soter and became the Seleukid king. After he abandoned himself to debauchery, his father-in-law shifted his support to Demetrius II, the son of Demetrius Soter. Balas was defeated and fled to Nabataea where he was murdered. Apamea, on the right bank of the Orontes River, was an ancient Greek and Roman city. It was located at a strategic crossroads for Eastern commerce and became one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Seleucus also made it a military base with 500 elephants, and an equestrian stud with 30,000 mares and 300 stallions.GY93775. Bronze AE 19, Houghton-Lorber II 1805(1)b; SNG Spaer 1450; BMC Seleucid p. 55, 44; HGC 9 565 (R1); Babelon Rois 812; SNG Cop -, gF, dark patina, earthen deposits, central cavities, weight 7.137 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, Apameia (Qalaat al-Madiq, Syria) mint, 150 - 149 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Apollo standing left, arrow in right hand, resting left hand on grounded bow, palm outer left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on left, ∆E monogram (control) right; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $130.00 (€119.60)
Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Euergetes Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.
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.GY91728. Bronze AE 14, Houghton-Lorber II 2068.6, Houghton CSE 283, cf. SNG Spaer 184 (date off flan), HGC 9 1096 (S), BMC Seleucid p. 75, 68 (date, control symbol), Choice VF, dark green patina with red earthen highlighting, well centered, scattered mild porosity, obverse edge beveled, weight 2.793 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 270o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 134 - 133 B.C.; obverse lion head right; reverse club vertical with handle up, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY / EYEPΓETOY in three downward lines, first two lines on right, last line on left, ∆I monogram over cornucopia (control marks) left (cornucopia unstruck), ΘOP (year 179 of the Seleukid Era) below; $120.00 (€110.40)
Kingdom of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C.
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.GB88239. Bronze AE 20, Herman 9.a (same countermark), Lindgren III 1232 (same countermark), HGC 9 1445 (R1), SNG Cop -, SNG Munchen -, BMC Galatia -, aF, well centered, bumps and marks, corrosion, rough, weight 4.162 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis ad Libanon mint, 85 - 40 B.C.; obverse bust of Athena right, draped, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; countermark: male head right in round punch; reverse Dioskouroi standing facing each other, each holding a spear; monograms around; ex Forum (2000), ex Phil DeVicchi Collection; rare; $110.00 (€101.20)
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