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Roman Provincial Coins from Mesopotamia and Babylonia
Seleukid Kingdom, Demetrius I Soter, 162 - 150 B.C.
As required by the Treaty of Apamea, Demetrius, the 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.SL51937. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 1711.5, HGC 9 709c (R2), SNG Spaer -, NGC XF, strike 4/5, surface 2/5 (5768432-007), weight 16.079 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 45o, Susa (Shush, Iran) mint, 162 - 150 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of youthful idealized Demetrios II right, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ∆HMHTPIOY, Apollo seated left on omphalos, arrow in right, left resting on bow, monogram outer left, AN ligate in exergue; NGC| Lookup; very rare; $350.00 (€322.00)
Kingdom of Elymais, Uncertain King (Kamnaskires VI?), c. 1st Century A.D.
Elymais was the biblical Elam and home of the magi. With its capitol at Susa, it was a small kingdom in what is now Iran and Kuwait. The Kingdom of Elymais struck coins from the middle of the 2nd century B.C. until their defeat by the Sasanians in 227 A.D.WA93624. Billon tetradrachm, vant Haaff (uncertain early Arsacid kings) 10.3.1-2A; Alram IP p. 146, taf. 15, NB1; BMC Arabia p. 250, 17; Le Rider Suse pl. LXXIII, 3 - 4, VF, debased metal, struck with a worn rev. die but less degenerated than many specimens (rev. dies were used until worn almost smooth), porosity/corrosion, edge flaw, weight 13.207 g, maximum diameter 30.0 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia ad Hedyphon (Ja Nishin, Iran) mint, c. 1st century A.D.; obverse diademed, draped bust of king left, torque around neck, wide fringe of hair below diadem, long beard, star (degenerated into a cross) in crescent over anchor behind, anchor with two cross bars and pellet to left of shaft; reverse crude diademed head left, squared blundered legend around; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $195.00 (€179.40)
Kingdom of Elymais, Orodes II, Early - Mid 2nd Century A.D.
Elymais was the biblical Elam and home of the magi. With its capitol at Susa, it was a small kingdom in what is now Iran and Kuwait. The Kingdom of Elymais struck coins from the middle of the 2nd century B.C. until their defeat by the Sasanians in 227 A.D.WA93629. Bronze drachm, vant Haaff 13.1.1-1b; BMC Arabia p. 267, 64; Sunrise -, aVF, dark green patina, earthen highlighting, some porosity, edge crack, weight 3.777 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 0o, Early - Mid 2nd Century A.D.; obverse bearded diademed bust facing, bunches of hair at sides and on top; to right, pellet inside crescent above anchor with double crossbar; reverse Aramaic legend: King Orodes, Son of Orodes, horned facing bust of Belos, large tufts of hair on each side of head, hair tied on top of head; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $75.00 (€69.00)
Kingdom of Edessa, Mesopotamia, Abgar X with Gordian III, 242 - 243 A.D.
NEW Abgar X Frahad bar Manu was raised to the throne when Gordian III recovered Mesopotamia from the Persians. His rule and the Kingdom of Edessa both ended with Gordian's assassination and a Sassanid takeover in 244 A.D. RY92577. Bronze AE 20, RPC Online VII.2 U2973 (33 spec.); SNG Cop 227 corr. (says radiate); SNG Hunterian II 2582; BMC Arabia p. 116, 159; Babelon Edessa 102, aVF, near black patina, slightly off center on a tight flan, pitting, weight 6.336 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Mesopotamia, Edessa (Urfa, Sanliurfa, Turkey) mint, 242 - 243 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC CEB, laureate bust of Gordian III right, slight drapery on left shoulder, no star; reverse ABΓAPOC BACIΛEYC, draped bust of Abgar right, bearded, wearing a diademed Parthian-style tiara, no star; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $60.00 (€55.20)
Kingdom of Persis, Nambed (Namopat), 1st Century A.D.
Persis was located in what is now southern Iran. "Persians" settled the area as early as the 8th century B.C. From the time after its conquest by Alexander the Great, Persis was most often quasi-independent, under the hegemony of a Seleukid or Parthian king. Immediately following Alexander's death, Persis was subject to the Seleucid Kingdom. About 290 B.C., Persis regained independence. The coins produced during this period were Greek-inspired, but inscriptions were Aramaic, symbolic of Persis' rejection of the Greek ruling class. Sometime between c. 250 and 223 B.C., the Seleucids regained control. Mithradates II later incorporated Persis as a sub-kingdom of Parthia. Under Parthian domination, the coins and appearance of the kings depicted on them assumed the Parthian style. The last King of Persis, Artaxerxes, defeated the Parthians and founded the Sassanian Empire.GS89568. Silver hemidrachm, cf. Alram IP 601; Sunrise 625; BMC Arabia p. 226, 6; Tyler-Smith -, VF, toned, a little rough, weight 1.119 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 180o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, 1st century A.D.; obverse bearded bust left, wearing Persepolitan crown with stepped battlements, diadem, torque and robe; reverse king standing right, holding scepter, before him, star and crescent with horns left, blundered inscription around; ex Ancient Imports (Marc Breitsprecher); $50.00 (€46.00)
Kingdom of Edessa, Mesopotamia, Abgar X with Gordian III, 239 - 242 A.D.
NEW Abgar X Frahad bar Manu was raised to the throne when Gordian III recovered Mesopotamia from the Persians. His rule and the Kingdom of Edessa both ended with Gordian's assassination and a Sassanid takeover in 244 A.D. RP97599. Bronze AE 23, RPC VII.2 U2952, SNG Hunterian 2579, SNG Cop 225; BMC Arabia p. 114, 144 - 147; Babelon Edessa 96, F, black patina with orange earthen fill, well centered obverse, pitted, weight 8.953 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 135o, Mesopotamia, Edessa (Urfa, Sanliurfa, Turkey) mint, 239 - 242 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gordian III right, from behind, star lower right; reverse ABΓAPOC - BACIΛEYC, mantled bust of Abgar right, bearded, wearing a diademed Parthian-style tiara ornamented with a rosette, star behind; $50.00 (€46.00)
Kingdom of Elymais, Orodes III, 2nd Century A.D.
Elymais was the biblical Elam and home of the magi. With its capitol at Susa, it was a small kingdom in what is now Iran and Kuwait. The Kingdom of Elymais struck coins from the middle of the 2nd century B.C. until their defeat by the Sasanians in 227 A.D.WA93626. Bronze drachm, vant Haaff 16.4.2-1B(a); BMC Arabia p. 276, 39; De Morgan 28; Alram IP -, Sunrise -, VF/F, crowded on a tight oval flan, porosity, earthen deposits, weight 2.714 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, 2nd century A.D.; obverse long bearded bust left wearing tiara ornamented with anchor; to right, pellet inside crescent above anchor with one crossbar; reverse field of parallel V shaped marks; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $40.00 (€36.80)
Alram, M. Iranisches Personennamenbuch: Nomina Propria Iranica In Nummis. (Vienna, 1986).
Babelon, E. La collection Waddington au cabinet des médailles. (1897-1898).
Babelon, E. Numismatique d'Edessa. (Paris, 1904).
Bellinger, A. The Syrian Tetradrachms of Caracalla and Macrinus. ANSNS 3. (New York, 1940).
Castelin, K. The Coinage of Rhesaena in Mesopotamia. ANSNNM 108. (New York, 1946).
Hill, G. Catalogue of the Greek Coins in the British Museum: Arabia, Mesopotamia and Persia. (London, 1922).
Lindgren, H. & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coins of Asia Minor and the Levant. (San Mateo, 1985).
Lindgren, H. Lindgren III: Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
Nelson, B., ed. Numismatic Art of Persia. The Sunrise Collection, Part I: Ancient - 650 BC to AD 650. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
Prieur, M. & K. Prieur. The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms and their fractions from 57 BC to AD 258. (Lancaster, PA, 2000). RPC Online - http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982). 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 XII, The Hunterian Museum, Univ. of Glasgow, Part 2: Roman Provincial Coins: Cyprus-Egypt. (Oxford, 2008). Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano, Civiche Raccolte Numismatiche, XII. Syria-Bactria et India. (Milan, 1991-1992). Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Schweiz II, Katalog der Sammlung Jean-Pierre Righetti im Bernischen Historischen Museum. (Bern, 1993).
Tyler-Smith, S. "A parcel of Persis drachms, half drachms and obols" in Numismatic Chronicle 164 (2004), pp. 253-271, pls. 29 - 33.
van't Haaff, P. Catalogue of Elymaean Coinage, ca. 147 B.C. - A.D. 228. (Lancaster, PA. 2007).
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