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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Hellenistic Monarchies ▸ Parthian EmpireView Options:  |  |  | 

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.


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 (€2125.00)
 


Parthian Empire, Mithradates IV, c. 58 - 53 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.
GS82646. Silver drachm, parthia.com PDC409 (this coin, Mithradates III), Sellwood 41.5 (same), Shore 200 (same), SNG Cop 85 (Orodes II), Sunrise 356 (same), VF, light toning, a few scratches, areas of slight porosity, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.759 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 0o, Mithradatkart (near Askabad in Turkmenistan) mint, c. 58 - 53 B.C.; obverse short-bearded bust left wearing double-banded diadem and segmented necklet with medallion, border of pellets; reverse beardless archer wearing bashlyk and cloak seated right on throne, bow in right hand, monogram below bow, no border, eight-line Greek legend around: BAΣΛIEΩΣ / BAΣΛIEWN (sic) above, APSAKOY / MEΓAΛOY right, ∆IKAIOY EΠIΦANOYΣ (?, blundered) below, ΘEOY EΠATOΣ / KAI ΦIΛEΛΛHNΣ left; from the Robert L3 Collection, ex Coin India (2009), ex McCorgray Collection, ex Thomas K. Mallon Collection; scarce; $395.00 (€335.75)
 


Parthian Empire, Sanatrukes, 116 A.D.

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After Osroes I was deposed by the invading Roman Emperor Trajan in 116 in favor of his puppet Parthamaspates, Osroes' brother Mithridates IV and Mithradates son Sanatruces, together claimed the diadem and continued the struggle against the Romans. Trajan marched southward, defeated them, and declared Mesopotamia a province of the Roman Empire. After the Romans withdrew, Osroes drove out Parthamaspates and reclaimed the Parthian throne. Mithridates IV eventually succeeded Osroes about 129 and reigned to about 140, when he died in an attack on Roman Commagene. Sanatruces was his appointed successor but predeceased him, also falling in a battle with the Romans. Thus the pair's earlier reign in 116 proved Sanatruces' sole taste of kingship.
GS82647. Silver drachm, Sunrise 449, Sellwood 81.1 (Parthamaspates), Shore 423 (same), SNG Cop 212 (Pacorus II), aEF, excellent portrait, attractive toning, tight flan, spot of corrosion on reverse, weight 3.786 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, 116 A.D.; obverse draped bust left with short stubbly beard, wearing tiara ornamented with five crescents around edge and star in the center, diadem with loop behind; reverse archer (Arsakes I) seated left, horizontal line for a seat, bow in extended right hand, + under legs, large TA dot monogram under bow, squared seven-line blundered Greek legend around; from the Robert L3 Collection, ex Classical Coins (July 2005); scarce; $280.00 (€238.00) ON RESERVE


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 (€229.50)
 


Parthian Empire, Mithradates I, c. 164 - 132 B.C.

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Mithradates I, the fifth king of Parthia, established Parthia as an ancient world power. At his death, in addition to Parthia proper, his empire included Hyrcania, Media, Babylonia, Assyria, Elymais, Persis, Tapuria and Traxiana.
GS82644. Silver drachm, parthia.com PDC 21735 (this coin, 1 spec. in db), Shore 25, Sellwood 11.1 var. (reel & pellet border), Sunrise 265 var. (same), gF, nice portrait, toned, bumps, scratches, some die wear, obverse a little off center, weight 3.979 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 0o, Hekatompylos (Qumis, Iran) mint, c. 148 - 132 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped, bearded bust left, reel only border; reverse squared three-line clockwise legend, clockwise from lower left: BAΣIΛEΩΣ APΣAKOY MEΓAΛOY, beardless archer (Arsakes I) seated right on omphalos, wearing bashlyk and cloak, bow in extended right hand, no border; from the Robert L3 Collection, ex Classical Coins (Jun 2006); $240.00 (€204.00)
 


Parthian Empire, Mithradates II, c. 123 - 88 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 their Eastern territories and made Parthia a formidable, unified empire. He adopted the title Epiphanes, "god manifest" and introduced new designs on his extensive coinage. Late in his reign he exerted influence in Armenia, taking as hostage a prince who would become Tigranes the Great. -- www.parthia.com
GS82645. Silver drachm, Sellwood 26.2; Shore 78; BMC Parthia p. 27, 23; SNG Cop 34; Sunrise -, gVF, toned, light marks, die wear, weight 3.754 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, c. 120/119 - 109 B.C.; obverse draped and diademed bust left, long pointed beard, wearing earring and neck torque ending in griffin; reverse squared four-line clockwise legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ MEΓAΛOY APΣAKOY EΠIΦANOYΣ, beardless archer (Arsakes I) seated right on throne, wearing bashlyk and cloak, bow and arrow in extended right hand, ∆ outer left; from the Robert L3 Collection, ex Classical Numismatic Group (1990's); $195.00 (€165.75)
 







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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).

Catalog current as of Monday, June 18, 2018.
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