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Parthian Empire

This page includes coins of the Parthian Empire and Roman coins that refer to Parthia.

Click here to read about Parthia| in the Historia| Numorum| and |Numiswiki.
Click here for the "Parthian| Calendar" article in |Numiswiki. 
Click here to go to |Parthia.com the best Parthian Empire website.


An Introduction to the Coinage of Parthia, 1st Edition

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Comprehensive general catalogue of the Parthian coinage of the dynasty of Arsaces.
BK13112. An Introduction to the Coinage of Parthia by David Sellwood, 1st edition (not the most recent addition), London, 1971, 315 pages, 8 plates, hard to find, used, good condition, marks and wear on jacket; $270.00 (€237.60)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

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This type refers to Severus' victories over Parthia. Severus assumed the title "Parthicus Maximus," greatest of Parthian conquerors.
RS87643. Silver denarius, BMCRE V p. 288, 675; RIC IV 514 corr. (palm vice trophy); RSC III 741; SRCV II 6373, Choice gVF, light toning, some die wear, weight 2.883 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 198 - 202 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV AVG IMP XI PART MAX, laureate head right; reverse VICT PARTHICAE, Victory walking left, wreath in extended right, trophy of captured arms in left; Parthian captive at feet on left, bearded and wearing a Parthian cap, seated left, looking up and back at Victory, hands bound behind back; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Parthian Empire, Orodes II, 57 - 38 B.C.

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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.
GS89569. Silver drachm, Sellwood 47.5, Shore 239, Sunrise -, VF, toned, nice portrait, reverse off center, weight 3.935 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, obverse diademed and draped bust left with short beard, top of head flat, torque ending with pellet, no wart, wavy hair covering ear, star upper left, crescent horns up upper right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / BAΣIΛEΩN − APΣAKOY − EYEPΓET / ∆IKAIOY − EΠIΦANOYΣ / ΦIΛEΛΛHNOΣ squared legend around, beardless archer (Arsakes I) seated right on throne, wearing bashlyk and cloak, bow in extended right, K (mintmark) below bow, squared seven-line legend around; ex Ancient Imports (Marc Breitsprecher); ex Michigan State Numismatic Society Auction (Nov 1998), part of the Parthian Collection lot; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Parthian Empire, Mithradates III, c. 87 - 79 B.C.

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Mithradates III and his brother Orodes II murdered their father. Orodes became king of Parthia. At first he made Mithridates king of Media but then deposed him. Mithridates was forced flee to Roman Syria but returned, and made himself king of Parthia. He was besieged in Seleucia by Orodes forces, defeated, captured and executed.
GS92034. Silver drachm, Sellwood 31.6 (Orodes I); Shore 123 (Orodes I); BMC Parthia p. 42, 1 (Sinatruces); Sunrise 308 var. (six pointed star), VF, toned, scratches, light corrosion, small edge split, weight 3.661 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rhagae (Ray, part of Tehran, Iran) mint, c. 87 - 79 B.C.; obverse bearded bust left, wearing tiara ornamented with three rows of pearls and eight-pointed star, pellet ended torque; reverse archer (Arsakes I) seated right on throne, wearing bashlyk and cloak, left foot drawn back, bow in right hand, seven-line squared legend around: BAΣIΛEΩΣ MEΓAΛOY in two lines above, AP−ΣAKOY downward on right, ATOKPATOPOΣ ΦIΛOΠATPOΣ in two upside-down lines below, EΠIΦANOYΣ ΦIΛEΛΛHNOΣ in two downward lines on the left; ex Ancient Numismatic Enterprise (ANE); $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Parthian Kingdom, Orodes II, 57 - 38 B.C.

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Orodes II and his brother Mithradates III murdered their father. Orodes II became king of Parthia. At first he made Mithridates king of Media but then deposed him. Mithridates was forced flee to Roman Syria but returned, and made himself king of Parthia. Forces of Orodes II besieged Mithridates III in Seleucia. Mithridates was defeated, captured and executed.
GB91028. Bronze dichalkon, Sellwood 47.37, Shore 519, Sunrise -, aVF, tight flan, reverse center weak, most of reverse legend off flan as usual for the type, weight 1.843 g, maximum diameter 12.6 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, 57 - 38 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Orodes II left, star upper right, crescent horns upward upper right; reverse fort with four towers, the two central towers taller than the two outer towers, traces of squared legend around; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; rare; $60.00 (€52.80)
 


Parthian Empire, Orodes II, 57 - 38 B.C.

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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.
GS91471. Fouree silver plated drachm, cf. Sellwood 45.21; Shore 230; BMC Parthia p.75, 51 (Orodes I) (silver, official Parthian, Kangavar mint), VF, rough, no base core showing but foil folds and crude style indicate it is a plated counterfeit, weight 3.354 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial mint, c. 55 - 38 B.C.; obverse diademed bust left with short beard, torque ending with pellet, wavy hair covering ear, three diadem ends; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / BAΣIΛEΩN − APΣAKOY − EYEPΓET / ∆IKAIOY − EΠIΦANOYΣ − ΦIΛEΛΛHNOΣ, beardless archer (Arsakes I) seated right on throne, wearing bashlyk and cloak, bow in extended right, K (mintmark) below bow, squared seven-line legend around; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $40.00 (€35.20)
 







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REFERENCES|

Abgarians, M. & D. Sellwood. "A Hoard of Early Parthian Drachms" in NC 1971.
Alram, M. Iranisches Personennamenbuch: Nomina Propria Iranica In Nummis. Osterreichischen Akademie Der Wissenschaften. (Wien, 1986).
Assar, G. "Genealogy and Coinage of the Early Parthian Rulers, II" in Parthica 6, 2004.
Assar, G. "Genealogy and Coinage of the Early Parthian Rulers, II" in Parthica 7, 2005.
Assar, G. "A Revised Parthian Chronology of the Period 91- 55 BC" in Parthica 8, 2006.
Assar, G. "Recent Studies in Parthian History: Part II" in The Celator 15, No. 1, January 2001.
Busso Peus. Busso Peus Sale 388, Sammlung Dr. Robert Gonnella, November 1, 2006.
Classical Numismatic Group. CNG Auction 36, Fred B. Shore Collection of Parthian Coins, December 5-6, 1995.
Fröhlich, C. Monnaies indo-scythes et indo-parthes, Catalogue raisonné Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 2008).
Hopkins, E. "Parthia.com: The Coins of Parthia" - www.parthia.com
Nelson, B., ed., Numismatic Art of Persia. The Sunrise Collection, Part I: Ancient - 650 BC to AD 650. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sellwood, D. An Introduction to the Coinage of Parthia. 2nd edition. (London, 1980).
Sellwood, D. "New Parthian coin types" in NC 1989.
Sellwood, D. "The End of the Parthian Dynasty" in NumCirc June 1990.
Shore, F. Parthian Coins and History: Ten Dragons Against Rome. (Quarryville, 1993).
Sinisi, F. Sylloge Nummorum Parthicorum, Volume VII: Vologases I - Pacorus II. (Wein, 2012).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum. Vol. 7: Cyprus to India. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Wroth, W. A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Parthia. (London, 1903).

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Parthian Kingdom Greek Coins