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88 BC - In Celebration of the Slaughter of 80,000 Romans in Asia Minor
Ionia, Smyrna, 88-85 BC, AE 25
Diademed head of Mithradates VI of Pontos right.
ZMYPNAIΩN right, EPMOΓENHΣ/ΦPIΞOΣ to left of Nike standing right, palm frond over one shoulder while crowning the citys ethnic with wreath.
Milne, Autonomous Smyrna 340; Callata pl. LI, P-Q; SNG Copenhagen 1206.
(25 mm, 14.86 g, 12h)

This coin was struck in the First Mithradatic War, at a time when Mithradates VI had all but expelled the Romans from Asia Minor. A civic issue from Smyrna, it was an overt statement of the citys support for Mithradates in his campaign against Rome as well as a celebration of Mithradates success in freeing most of Asia Minor from the Roman yoke. The issue probably commenced shortly after Mithradates had organised the murder of 80,000 Roman citizens in a single night across the cities of Asia Minor in the Spring of 88 BC. The issue was short lived, as the tide of military fortune quickly turned against Mithradates when he had to face Sulla. Ultimately, he was forced to negotiate a truce (the Treaty of Dardanos) with the Romans in 85 BC, bringing Asia Minor firmly back into the Roman Empire. This brought this coinage to an end. However, the peace was short lived and hostilities between Rome and Mithradates resumed two years later, continuing intermittently for the next twenty years until Mithradates death in 66 BC following a succession of military defeats at the hands of Pompey the Great.
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n.igma  [Dec 10, 2013 at 05:55 AM]
Great historical coin. Struck by someone with blood on his hands and hatred for Rome! They don't get much more historical than this one.
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