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Greek, Seleukos I Nikator (?) on Sophytes Drachm, Baktria
The portrait on the obverse of this coin is may be that of Seleukos I Nikator. It appears that Sophytes submitted to Seleukos I during the latterís eastern anabasis in 306-305 BC and was appointed to the position of Satrap of Baktria. Following the incorporation of Baktria into the Seleukid Empire, the Seleukid administration appears to have sponsored Greek migration into the territory from Asia Minor. The increased demand for coinage would explain the successive emissions of owl, eagle and cock coinage, which culminated in the issue of the epigraphic Sophytes cock emission. The inspiration for the obverse was probably the Hero/Trophy issue of Susa, which commenced ca 301 BC. The frontal profile and features of the portrait on the obverse of Sophytes issues bear a resemblance to the portrait of Seleukos on the later coinage of Philetairos of Pergamon. On allying himself with Seleukos, Philetairos issued coinage bearing the portrait of Seleukos on the obverse the name of Philetairos on a distinctive non-Seleukid reverse. The parallels between the documented circumstances and coinage of Philetairos with the earlier undocumented history and coinage of Sopytes are apparent and suggestive of the circumstances under which Sophytes came to issue coinage bearing his name in Seleukid Baktria.

With growing power and provincial wealth following a decade of Greek immigration to the province, it is possible that Sophytes determined to move on a more independent path and issued coinage in his name, but bearing the image of Seleukos, in anticipation that the latter would pacify any concern that Seleukos may have with the approach. However, the latter strategy appears to have failed and Sophytes rapidly disappears from the scene and numismatic record. This action of Sophytes may have been the trigger for Seleukos to declare Antiochos co-regent and satrap of the eastern provinces. With this appointment, Antiochos was dispatched to Baktria and set about expanding the Seleukid administration and development of the province, including the establishment of Seleukid royal mints at Baktra and Ai Khanoum, commencing around 294 BC.
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Filename:Seleukos_I_on_Sophytes_Drachm.jpg
Album name:Lloyd T / Superb and Masterpiece Portraits Gallery
Rating (1 votes): (Details)
Keywords:Spohytes Seleukos Bactria Baktria
File Size:23 KB
Date added:Oct 12, 2010
Dimensions:297 x 263 pixels
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URL:http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-60706
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