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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ SyriaView Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of Syria

Parthian Empire, Mithradates II, c. 121 - 91 B.C.

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Mithradates II was the eighth and one of the greatest Parthian kings. He defeated all Seleukid attempts to reclaim territories and made Parthia a formidable, unified empire. He adopted the title Epiphanes, "god manifest" and introduced new designs on his extensive coinage. The ruins of Seleukeia on the Tigris, where this coin was struck, have been identified at Tell Umar, about 30 km south of Baghdad, and 60 north of Babylon. According to Pliny, the city had 600,000 inhabitants and c. 100 A.D. the city still held some Macedonian customs.
SH86429. Silver tetradrachm, Sellwood 24.4, BMC 3, Boston MFA 2216, Sunrise 284, Shore 67 var., EF, fantastic high relief bust, well centered on a tight flan, radiating flow lines, slightest die wear, slightest porosity, weight 15.696 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia on the Tigris mint, c. 119 - 109 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Mithradates to left, long beard, wearing torc and elaborate robes; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ MEΓAΛOY APΣ-AKOY EΠIΦANOYΣ / TY (square clockwise, ending in exergue)), Arsakes I seated right on omphalos, bow in right hand, palm branch right; ex Pars (2008), ex Antiqua Inc. (2000); $2500.00 SALE PRICE $2250.00
 


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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Gaius Licinius Mucianus (named on this coin) was governor of Syria. When he failed to put down the Jewish revolt, Vespasian was sent to replace him. After the death of Galba, Mucianus and Vespasian both swore allegiance to Otho. Mucianus persuaded Vespasian to take up arms against Vitellius, who had seized the throne. They agreed Vespasian would settle affairs in the East, while Mucianus made would attack Vitellius. On his way to Rome, Mucianus defeated a Dacian invasion of Moesia. Mucianus reached Rome the day after Vitellius' death. Mucianus never wavered in his allegiance to Vespasian and was appointed consul for the third time in 72. As no mention is made of Mucianus during the reigns of Titus or Domitian, he probably died during the reign of Vespasian.
RP85562. Bronze AE 28, McAlee 319 (ex. rare, same dies), cf. RPC 4316 (not specifying obverse legend direction), aVF, nice portrait, dark patina with buff earthen highlighting, spots of light corrosion, obverse legend mostly weak or off flan, weight 11.757 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse [IMP M OT]-HO - [CAE AVG] (counterclockwise from upper left), head laureate right, dot in field behind; reverse EΠI / MOYKIA/NOY AN/TIOXEΩ/N ET ZIP (legate Mucianus, of Antioch, year 117) in five lines within a linear circle in a laurel wreath; this variant with a counterclockwise obverse legend is extremely rare; ex Gemini auction XIII (6 Apr 2017), lot 158, ex Jyrki Muona Collection; $1810.00 SALE PRICE $1629.00
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos III Keraunos, 226 - 223 B.C.

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Seleucus III Soter proved not to be the "Savior" that his official royal epithet advertised; nor did live up to his nickname Keraunos - "Thunder." He failed to reclaim western Asia Minor from his cousin, Attalus of Pergamum, and was assassinated after only a brief reign of only a few years.
GS86617. Silver drachm, Houghton-Lorber I 933, Newell WSM 1327, Weber 7867, Hoover Syrian 418 (R3), gVF, superb portrait, light toning, light bumps and marks, reverse double struck with a worn damaged die, weight 4.056 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Northern Syria or Northern Mesopotamia, uncertain mint, 226 - 223 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Seleukos III with long sideburns; reverse Apollo seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on grounded bow, BAΣIΛEWS (downward on right) S (δοωνωαρδ ον ριγητ) Σ</θwnward on right) SEΛEYKOY (downward on left), AP monogram (control) left, monogram (control) right; very rare; $1080.00 SALE PRICE $972.00
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus I Soter, 281 - 261 B.C.

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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.
SH82661. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 379.3b, Newell ESM 152 (slightly different form of right monogram), HGC 9 128g, attractive VF, excellent portrait, elegant Apollo, light toning, bumps and marks, reverse slightly off center, weight 17.110 g, maximum diameter 29.8 mm, die axis 135o, Seleukeia on the Tigris (south of Baghdad, Iraq) mint, 281 - 261 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochos II right, eyes to heaven; reverse Apollo seated left on omphalos, nude but for drapery over thighs, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on grounded bow behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ANT-IOXOY downward on left, ΛP monogram outer left, monogram outer right; ex Leu Numismatics web auction 3 (25 Feb 2018), lot 417 (From a European collection, formed before 2005); $700.00 (€595.00) ON RESERVE


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander III The Great, 336 - 323 B.C., Lifetime Issue

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Lifetime issue! At the time of the Battle of Issus, Darius had his headquarters at Damascus. Alexander captured a great treasure there and established a mint in 330 B.C. or soon after to strike the silver into his coinage.
GS82753. Silver tetradrachm, Price 3214, Müller Alexander 1342, Demanhur 3247 - 3249, Newell Reattribution 180, VF, attractive style, light toning, obverse off center but full face on flan, bumps, marks, porosity, weight 16.932 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 0o, Syria, Damaskos mint, c. 330 - 323 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress, forelegs tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros seated left on throne without back, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style), eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, ram forepart right in left field, A between struts under seat and ∆A below, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on right; very rare; $680.00 SALE PRICE $612.00
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus I Soter, 281 - 261 B.C.

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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.
GY85675. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 379.6a, Newell ESM 166, HGC 9 128g, Choice VF, well centered and struck, high relief portrait, attractive toning, bumps and marks, closed edge crack, weight 16.667 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 0o, Seleucia on the Tigris (south of Baghdad, Iraq) mint, c. 263 - 261 B.C.; obverse diademed head right; reverse Apollo seated left on omphalos, examining arrow with right, resting left hand on grounded bow, monogram (primary control symbol) outer left, ∆/ΩP monogram (secondary control symbol) outer right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ANT-IOXOY downward on left; $630.00 SALE PRICE $567.00
 


Leucas-Claudia (Balanea), Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, c. 45 - 150 A.D.

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This type is so rare that RPC is uncertain of the complete legends and questions if the standing god has his foot on a prow.

Baniyas (ancient Balaneais, Balanaea or Balanea, also called Leucas or Leucas-Claudia) is in northwestern Syria, 55 km south of Latakia (ancient Laodicea) and 35 km north of Tartous (ancient Tortosa). It was founded as a colony of Aradus. In Phoenician and Hellenistic times, it was an important seaport. On a nearby hill stands the Crusader castle of Margat (Qalaat el-Marqab), a huge Knights Hospitaller fortress built with black basalt stone.
RY86403. Brass AE 17, RPC I 4465A (2 specimens); de Saulcy 21, 3, VF, some flatness of high points, porosity, slightly off center on a tight flan; the best of the three specimens known to Forum, weight 4.142 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 45o, Leucas-Claudia (Baniyas, Syria) mint, c. 45 - 150 A.D.; obverse TWN KAI KΛAY∆IAIWN, male god standing facing, wearing tiara, long scepter vertical in right hand, left foot on small prow; reverse ΛYKA∆IWN, upper part of river god Chrysoroas swimming right; extremely rare; $430.00 SALE PRICE $387.00
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleucus I Nikator, 312 - 280 B.C.

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Seleukos (Seleucus) founded the Seleukid Empire and the Seleukid dynasty which ruled Syria until Pompey made it a Roman province in 63 B.C. Seleukos was never one of Alexander the Great's principal generals but he commanded the royal bodyguard during the Indian campaign. In the division of the empire after Alexander's death Seleukos did not receive a satrapy. Instead, he served under the regent Perdikkas until the latter's murder in 321 or 320. Seleukos was then appointed satrap of Babylonia. Five years later Antigonus Monophthalmus (the One-eyed) forced him to flee, but he returned with support from Ptolemy. He later added Persia and Media to his territory and defeated both Antigonus and Lysimachus. He was succeeded by his son Antiochus I.
SH85790. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 13(1)c, Newell WSM 909, Meydancikkale 2745, HGC 3 16c (R1), VF, struck with fine style high-relief dies, light golden toning, bumps and marks, tight flan, obverse slightly off center, test punch on obverse, weight 17.040 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 300 - 281 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse ΣEΛEYKOΣ BAΣIΛEΩΣ, Zeus Nikephoros on throne, right leg drawn back, feet on footstool, Nike offering wreath in his right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, monogram in left field before knees, ΘE under throne below strut, ΣEΛEYKOΣ downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ in exergue; rare; $350.00 SALE PRICE $315.00
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos I Nikator, 312 - 280 B.C.

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Seleukos (Seleucus) founded the Seleukid Empire and the Seleukid dynasty which ruled Syria until Pompey made it a Roman province in 63 B.C. Seleukos was never one of Alexander the Great's principal generals but he commanded the royal bodyguard during the Indian campaign. In the division of the empire after Alexander's death Seleukos did not receive a satrapy. Instead, he served under the regent Perdikkas until the latter's murder in 321 or 320. Seleukos was then appointed satrap of Babylonia. Five years later Antigonus Monophthalmus (the One-eyed) forced him to flee, but he returned with support from Ptolemy. He later added Persia and Media to his territory and defeated both Antigonus and Lysimachus. He was succeeded by his son Antiochus I.
GY82765. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 130(14)a, HGC 9 18a, Houghton CSE 915 var. (Λ∆), SNG Cop 16 var. (controls), BMC Seleucid -, aVF, struck with high relief dies, bumps and marks, obverse slight off center but face on flan, reverse crowded on tight flan, weight 16.867 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukia II mint, c. 296 - 280 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse Athena fighting in a quadriga of elephants right, anchor (Seleukid symbol) above, she is helmeted, brandishing javelin in her right hand, shield on her left arm, BAΣIΛEΩΣ upward on left, ∆A (controls) above elephants, ΣEΛEYKOY in exergue; $320.00 SALE PRICE $288.00
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria

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On 11 February 244, Emperor Gordian III was murdered by mutinous soldiers in Zaitha (Mesopotamia). Philip the Arab (Marcus Julius Philippus) declared himself emperor and made a disgraceful peace with the Sasanian Empire, withdrawing from their territory and giving Shapur 500,000 gold pieces. The Sasanians occupied Armenia. Philip was recognized by the Roman Senate as Emperor and he nominated his son Philippus, age 6, as Caesar and heir to the throne. He gave his brother Priscus supreme power (rector Orientis) in the Eastern provinces; and began construction of the city of Shahba, Syria in the province of his birth.
RY85323. Billon tetradrachm, Prieur 321 (1 spec.); McAlee 889 (v. rare); BMC Galatia p. 212, 505, EF, sharp attractive portrait, attractive iridescent toning, parts of legends weak, areas of some porosity, weight 13.256 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 1st issue, 244 A.D.; obverse AVTOK K M IOV Λ ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust left, from behind; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (holder of Tribunitian power), eagle standing slightly left on palm frond, wings open, head left, wreath in beak, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; very rare; $270.00 SALE PRICE $243.00
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Wruck, W. Die Syrische Provinzialprägung von Augustus bis Traian. (Stuttgart, 1931).

Catalog current as of Saturday, June 23, 2018.
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Syria