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Cappadocia, Ariarathes VII ca 110-99 BC, AR Tetradrachm in the name of Antiochos VII (138-129 BC)
Diademed head of Antiochos VII right, fillet border / ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ Athena standing half-left in crested helmet on short ground line, confronting Nike held in right hand and with left arm balancing a spear while holding a grounded shield decorated with a Gorgoneion head, primary controls ΔI (in ligature) over A in outer left field, secondary controls O-Λ in inner fields, laurel crown around.
Lorber and Houghton, NC 2006, ser. 1, iss. 3 (A1/P1 - coin 12 - this coin); HGC 9 1069; SC 2148; SMA 298; SNG Spaer 1873 (same obverse die).
Uncertain Cappadocian mint, probably Ariaratheia or Eusebeia-Tyana.
From the same obverse die as the first issue to bear a reverse legend in the name of Ariarthes VII with the same O-Λ mint controls (second coin in image).
(28 mm, 16.63 gm, 12h)
ex- Commerce (‘Antiochus VII Posthumous’ Hoard) 2005

This coin is from an extensive imitative series struck by the Cappadocian Kings during the internecine wars for power that plagued the region in the early first century BC. The exact reason as to why coinage imitating that of the deceased Seleukid Syrian ruler Antiochos VII was struck is unknown. However, the utilization of the coinage to pay Syrian mercenaries in familiar coin appears most likely. This coin is most significant in that the obverse die from which it was struck was used to strike a unique coin of similar iconography and with identical mint controls, bearing the name Ariarathes VII in the legend ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ APIAPAΘOY ΦIΛOMHTOPOΣ (image below). This die linkage (only recognized in 2002) confirmed that many of the Antiochos VII issues previously attributed to Syria were posthumous issues made by the Cappadocian Kings commencing with Ariathes VI and continuing through the reigns of Ariarathes VII – IX and Ariobazanes I.

Ariarathes VII who was responsible for the striking of this coin was a hapless pawn in the power struggle for control of Cappadocia between Mithradates VI of Pontus and Nikomedes III of Bithynia. Ariarathes VII was the product of the marriage of Mithradates older sister Laodike to Ariarathes VI. When the latter began to exhibit a degree of independence, Mithradates had him murdered, then appointed Laodike as regent for her young son Ariarathes VII. When Laodike married Nikomedes III of Bithynia, Mithradates expelled her and the Bithynian army from Cappadocia and placed his young nephew Ariarathes VII directly on the throne of Cappadocia. Later, when Ariarathes VII rejected Mithradates offer of his confidant Gordius as an advisor, Mithradates moved with his army to depose Ariarathes VII. The armies of Mithradates and Ariarathes met prepared for battle. At this point Mithradates called for an unarmed discussion meeting with his nephew Ariarathes in the middle ground of the battlefield. In front of the two assembled armies, Mithradates drew a concealed blade and slit his nephew’s throat, thus avoiding battle and clearing the way for a new puppet, his stepson, to be appointed as King Ariarathes VIII.
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Album name:Lloyd T / Historical Coins
Rating (2 votes): (Details)
Keywords:Cappadocia Antiochos VII Ariarathes VII tetradrachm
File Size:395 KB
Date added:Mar 05, 2012
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URL:http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-78222
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Steve E  [Mar 28, 2012 at 03:49 PM]
An important coinage connection! Very nice specimen as well!
n.igma  [Feb 01, 2014 at 10:21 PM]
Excellent!