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ACHAEMENID EMPIRE 1/3 SIGLOS17 viewsSilver 1/3 Siglos. 10 mm. 1.76 g. Time of Darios I to Xerxes I (505-480 BC).
Obv: Persian king in kneeling-running stance right, drawing bow.
Rev: Incuse rectangular punch.

Carradice Type II; Klein 755.
Artaxerxes II - Darius III191 viewsPersian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Artaxerxes II - Darius III, c. 375 - 340 B.C., Silver siglos, 5.490 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, die axis 0, Carradice Type IV (late) C, 46 ff.; BMC Arabia 172 ff.; SNG Kayhan 1031; SGCV II 4683; Rosen 674; Klein 763; Carradice Price p. 77 and pl. 20, 387 ff.

Following Darius II came Artaxerxes II (called Mnemon), during whose reign Egypt revolted and relations with Greece deteriorated. His reign (dated as from 404 to 359 B.C.E.) was followed by that of his son Artaxerxes III (also called Ochus), who is credited with some 21 years of rule (358-338 B.C.E.) and is said to have been the most bloodthirsty of all the Persian rulers. His major feat was the reconquest of Egypt.
This was followed by a two-year rule for Arses and a five-year rule for Darius III (Codomannus), during whose reign Philip of Macedonia was murdered (336 B.C.E.) and was succeeded by his son Alexander. In 334 B.C.E. Alexander began his attack on the Persian Empire.

Siglos was the Greek transliteration of the Semitic denomination ""shekel"" which became a standard weight unit for silver in the Achaemenid Persian Empire after the conquest of Babylonia by Cyrus the Great in 539 B.C. Ironically, silver sigloi seem to have been struck primarily in the western part of the empire and the standard went on to influence several Greek civic and royal coinages in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. There is endless debate about whether the figure on the obverse represents the Persian Great King or an anonymous royal hero, but since the Greeks regularly referred to the parallel gold denomination as the ""daric"" it seems clear that at least some contemporaries considered it a depiction of the king. Of course, whether this is what the Persian authorities intended or an example of interpretatio Graeca must remain an open question.
4 commentsNemonater
Datames, Satrap of Cilicia and Cappadocia, Stater44 viewsCILICIA, Tarsos. Datames, Satrap of Cilicia and Cappadocia. 384-362 BC. AR Stater (21.3 x 25.6mm, 9.89 gm). Struck 378-372 BC.
O: Baaltars seated right, torso facing, holding grain ear and grape-bunch in left hand, eagle-tipped sceptre in right arm; 'BLTRZ' in Aramaic to left, thymiaterion to right; all within crenellated wall
R: Ana, nude, and Datames standing facing each other, both have their right arms raised; thymiaterion and 'TRDMW' (Datames) in Aramaic between them; all within square dotted border within linear border.
- SNG Levante 83; SNG France 292; BMC Lycaonia pg. 168, 35; SNG Copenhagen 300; SNG von Aulock 5943.

Datames, the son of Kamisares and a Scythian mother, served as a member of the Persian king's bodyguard before he became satrap of Cilicia and Cappadocia upon his father's death in 384 BC. Throughout his early career, he put down a revolt in Lydia, defeated the rebel governor Thyos in Paphlagonia, and briefly occupied the city of Sinope. Because of these successes, the Persian king placed him in charge of the second war against Egypt, along with Pharnabazos and Tithraustes, satrap of Caria.
When Datames' enemies in Artaxerxes' court accused him, perhaps falsely, of intending to revolt against the Great King, he then became, in fact, the first of the Satraps to revolt. His initial success in this endeavor prompted the revolt of other satraps across the empire. Datames' success, however, was short-lived. Distrust among the satraps disintegrated their rebellion and his own son's desertion to Artaxerxes was the beginning of the end. Datames himself was assassinated by Mithradates, the son of Ariobarzanes, satrap of Phrygia, in 362 BC.
1 commentsNemonater
Mazaios Obol, Artaxerxes III / Lion attacking bull 78 viewsCILICIA. Tarsos. Mazaios (Satrap of Cilicia, 361/0-334 BC). Obol. 0.7 g., 12 mm.
O: Artaxerxes III (in the guise of Baaltars) seated right on throne with back terminating in head of swan, holding lotus flower and lotus-tipped sceptre.
R: Lion attacking bull right.
- Ziegler -; Casabonne Series 6; SNG BN 426-8 (Myriandros); SNG Levante 183 (Myriandros).
4 commentsNemonater
Mazaios, Satrap of Cilicia AR Stater275 viewsCILICIA, 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, BíLTRZ ("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 Ė; 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 Baalís 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.
10 commentsNemonater
Persian Empire, Artaxerxes I to Xerxes II 1/4 Siglos37 viewsPERSIA. Achaemenid Empire. Time of Artaxerxes I to Xerxes II (Circa 455-420 BC). 1/4 Siglos. 8mm 1.32g.

O: Persian king in kneeling-running stance right, holding dagger and bow.
R: Incuse punch.

Carradice Type IV.
Persian Empire, Lydia, Darius I 1/6 Siglos49 viewsPERSIA, Achaemenid Empire. temp. Darios I to Xerxes I. Circa 505-480 BC. AR Sixth Siglos (7mm, 0.84 g).

O: Persian king or hero in kneeling-running stance right, drawing bow
R: Incuse punch.

Carradice type II; Winzer 1.8 (Darios I), this denomination is otherwise unpublished in refs; cf. Klein 756 (1/4 siglos); SNG Kayhan 1027 (1/3 siglos).

"Darius I the Great ruled the Persian Empire at its peak. He is mentioned in the Biblical books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Haggai, and Zechariah. He continued to allow the Jewish people to return to Israel and provided money for the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem, which was completed in his sixth year. Darius invaded Greece to subjugate it and to punish Athens and Eretria for aiding the Ionian Revolt. He subjugated Thrace and forced Macedon to become a client kingdom, but his campaign ended at Marathon, where he was famously defeated by a smaller Greek army." - Forvm
Siglos Artaxerxes I - Darius III28 viewsPersian Empire, Lydia, Artaxerxes I - Darius III, c. 450 - 330 B.C. Silver siglos, SGCV II 4683, banker's marks, 5.153g, 14.75mm, c. 450 - 330 B.C.;
O: Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, dagger in right, bow in left, bearded, crowned.
R: Oblong patterned punch with countermarks

A coin that circulated around the time of King Ahaseurus and Queen Esther. This denomination is 1/3 of a persian Shekel. This amount is probably what Nehemia was refering to when he asked for a 1/3 shekel Temple donation, i.e. 1/3 of a Persian shekel was exactly the same weight as 1/2 of a Judaean shekel (Machazit HaShekel) at the time.
Siglos Xerxes II to Artaxerxes II110 viewsPersian Empire, Xerxes II to Artaxerxes II. Ca. 420-375 B.C. AR siglos (15 mm, 5.43 g).
O: Persian king or hero in kneeling/running stance right, holding dagger and bow
R: Incuse punch; stylized facing lion in reverse punch.

4 commentsNemonater
Siglos Xerxes II to Artaxerxes II Engraved Reverse Die79 viewsPersian Empire, Xerxes II to Artaxerxes II. Ca. 420-375 B.C. AR siglos (14 mm, 5.57 g).
O: Persian king or hero in kneeling/running stance right, holding dagger and bow; bankers marks.
R: Incuse punch; roaring lion left.
- Carradice IV B, pl. XIII, 35.
2 commentsNemonater
Siglos Xerxes II to Artaxerxes II Engraved Reverse Die91 viewsPersian Empire, Xerxes II to Artaxerxes II. Ca. 420-375 B.C. AR siglos (14 mm, 5.57 g).
O: Persian king or hero in kneeling/running stance right, holding dagger and bow; roaring lion left countermark.
R: Incuse punch; stylized facing lion in reverse punch.
3 commentsNemonater
Siglos Xerxes II to Artaxerxes II Engraved Reverse Die76 views
Persian Empire, Xerxes II to Artaxerxes II. Ca. 420-375 B.C. AR siglos (15 mm, 5.67 g).
O: Persian king or hero in kneeling/running stance right, holding dagger and bow; bankers marks.
R: Helmet facing within reverse incuse punch.
- Carradice plate XIII, 34; BMC Arabia p. 165, 124, pl. XXVI, 21.
3 commentsNemonater
Time of Darius I - Xerxes II133 viewsACHAEMENID PERSIAN EMPIRE. Time of Darius I - Xerxes II Circa 485-420 B.C.E. AV daric. 16mm, 8.36g. O:Persian king or hero in kneeling-running stance right, holding spear and bow. R: Incuse punch. Carradice Type IIIb A/B (pl. XIII, 27).

In 550 BC Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Persian Empire by amalgamating the Iranian tribes of the Medes and the Persians. Cyrus then looked to the west. His army defeated the Lydians and their king Croesus in 547 BC and in the following year the Persian army marched into the kingdoms of Ionia, Caria and Lykia, on what is now the west coast of Turkey.

It was there that the Persians first came into contact with coinage. From here it spread over the next century throughout the Persian Empire as far as Afghanistan and Egypt. After conquering Lydia in 547 BC, the Persians adopted the Lydian tradition of minting coins. Soon the local 'lion and bull' croesid coins were replaced by a new Achaemenid coinage.

The gold daric, named after the Persian king Darius I (521-486 BC), and the silver siglos (or shekel) were the main denominations. An archer, representing the Persian king, appeared on the obverse (front) of the coin. The reverse consisted of a rectangular punch. These coins were minted in the western part of the Achaemenid Empire. Their production continued long after the death of Darius, until the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great at the end of the fourth century BC. (Comments from

After the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah, the Jews were taken into the seventy-year Babylonian captivity. When ancient Persia took control of Babylon, Haman, the royal vizier, convinced King Ahasuerus to destroy all the Jews. Esther, Ahasuerus's queen and, unknown to him, a Jew, interceded on behalf of her people. By law the King could not rescind the order to slaughter the Jews, so he issued a second decree that permitted the Jews to defend themselves with armed force.

The King replaced Haman with Mordecai, a palace official, cousin and foster parent of Esther. The Jews defeated Haman, killing his ten sons that were leading the attacks, and then hanged Haman. The day after the battle was designated as a day of feasting and rejoicing. Scholars identify King Ahasuerus as the historical king Xerxes I, 486 - 465 BCE. Xerxes is the Greek version of his name but the Babylonians knew him as Khshayarsha. The Hebrew name Ahasuerus, appears to be derived from Khshayarsha, with the letter A added at the beginning.
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