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Mazaios, Satrap of Cilicia AR Stater
CILICIA, Tarsos. Mazaios. Satrap of Cilicia, 361/0-334 BC., 10.78g. AR Stater
O: Baaltars seated left, head and torso facing, holding eagle, grain ear, and grape bunch in extended right hand, lotus-tipped scepter in left; TN (in Aramaic) to left, M (in Aramaic) below throne, BLTRZ ("Baal of Tarsos" or "Baaltars" in Aramaic) to right
R: Lion attacking bull left; MZDY (Mazaeus in Aramaic) above, monogram below.
- Casabonne Series 2, Group C; SNG France ; SNG Levante 106.

The obverse of this coin depicts the Baal of Tarsos.

"Baal" is a Semitic word for "Lord" or "God." The symbols of an eagle, wheat stalk, grapes, and a scepter may represent Baals capacity as a god involved in the seasonal cycles of life and death.

The reverse features a lion-and-bull motif as did earlier Anatolian coins of Kroisos/Croesus. But here, on the reverse, the full bodies of both lion and bull are shown, and the lion is ferociously jumping on the back of the bull, who's kneeling.

If you assume that a kneeling bull (without a lion) on the scores of later Greek and Roman coins is symbolic of Zeus, a position that Marvin Tameanko has persuasively argued for (Celator, Jan. 1995, pp. 6-11), and that the lion is symbolic of the supreme god, or Baal, of the Celicians, the symbolism of this coin, may be direct and simple: Our god is more powerful than your god.

The Baal obverse of Mazaios' coinage may have been used as the model for the Zeus reverse of Alexander the Great's huge output of silver coinage, though Martin Price believed that both coinages were based on similar models. Price did feel, however, that the celator who engraved the latter Mazaios staters also engraved Alexander III's Tarsos tetradrachms.

Mazaios (also referred to as "Mazaeus" and "Mazday") was the Persian satrap of Celicia beginning c. 361 BC, then the satrap of both Celicia and the larger territory of Transeuphratesia/Transeuphrates (Syria and Palestine, also known as Abar Nahara) beginning c. 345 BC.

Mazaios fought Alexander the Great at the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC. After this loss, he fled to Babylon. With the Great King Darius III of Persia also fleeing Alexander's army, Mazaios was the person who surrendered the capital of the Persian Empire, Babylon, to Alexander later in 331 BC, which prevented the sack of the city. For doing this without a fight, Alexander appointed him governor of Babylon, which at the time was the world's largest city. Mazaios died in 328 BC.
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NORMAN K  [Dec 23, 2015 at 01:45 AM]
Beautiful coin with a strong strike.
Matt Inglima  [Dec 23, 2015 at 11:37 AM]
n.igma  [Dec 24, 2015 at 06:54 PM]
Exceptional strike from fresh dies - wonderful detail!
Molinari  [Dec 24, 2015 at 07:10 PM]
They don't get better than this!
Enodia  [Dec 24, 2015 at 07:36 PM]
wonderful coin with stunning detail. congratulations!
Jaimelai  [Dec 24, 2015 at 09:17 PM]
Arados  [Dec 25, 2015 at 06:22 AM]
Truly stunning and mesmerising.
quadrans  [Dec 26, 2015 at 03:47 AM]
Beautiful specimen...
Sam  [Jan 17, 2016 at 05:13 PM]
Extraordinary !!!
*Alex  [Aug 08, 2016 at 07:32 AM]
All coins are guaranteed for eternity
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