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Pontos Mints During Time of Mithridates VI


Virgil H:
I posted about a map application in the past and finally got around to creating a map with the free version of Scribblemaps. I love maps and a big component of my coin collecting interests is geographical in nature. One of these interests is the Turkish Black Sea area, particularly Paphlagonia. Pontos plays into this geography in a big way, as do other ancient kingdoms and regions as places changed hands over time. I ran across an article in The Numismatic Chronicle Vol. 168 (2008), pp. 135-139 (6 pages) called A new Mint for Mithradates VI of Pontus? by Stanley Ireland and Peter Cook. Here is a link to the paper: I decided to try to map the mints and it was a very interesting exercise in a variety of ways that I will outline below.

Link to my map that has clickable markers:

I used Pleiades as much as possible for ancient site GPS coordinates. Not all were in their database. A side note is that I think most coin collectors don't really care about specifically where mint cities are, especially as so many mint cities are well known places in the first place. The listing of Pontos mints surprised me, I certainty hadn't previously know how many there were and there were many I had never heard of. Here is the list from the article that includes a footnote of mints identified by De Callatay.

-Cabeira (Kabeira)
-Comana (Comana Pontica/Hierocaesarea)
-Laodiceia (Pontica)
-Sarbanissa (Barbanissa)

I tried to place all the above on the map. Note that I know of at least one other mint supposedly used by Mithradates VI that I did not include. That is Istros in what is today Romania. Forum actually has a gold stater for sale attributed to Mithradates VI (a Lysimachus type). I don't know enough to comment on this mint, but it seems like an outlier as it was minted during the First Mithradatic War. Pontos had far more mints than I imagined and it seems Mithradates VI allowed more cities to mint coins than previous rulers did. As you will see in the notes on the map, I ran into issues actually finding some locations, including the newly identified mint. In addition, in a couple of cases, such as Taulara, I am not sure that this one is not maybe also Gaziura. Not being an expert, I found this exercise to be fun and educational and I by no means am saying my map is 100% accurate.

I like to see where the mints were (and in some cases, I was surprised how close together some of them were) and I learned how hard it can actually be to identify specific geographical coordinates. I also realize there are far more Pontos/Paphlagonia mints than I had any idea of and I thus need more coins.


Even the silver tets still get willy nilly attributed to Pergamun, I wish you luck. How you going to unravell the ae's where most of the tets are un-attribuable!

Virgil H:
I know I opened a can of worms with this little exercise :-)



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