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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Syria||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of Syria
Seleukid Kingdom, Demetrius III, c. 96 - 87 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Demetrius| |III,| |c.| |96| |-| |87| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
The inscription on the reverse of this coin translates, "King Demetrios, the god, father-loving, savior." He was nicknamed Eucaerus ("the Timely") by the Syrian Greeks but was called Acaerus ("the Untimely) by the Jews. He defeated the Hasmonaean priest king Alexander Jannaeus but was forced to withdraw from Judaea by the hostile population. While attempting to dethrone his brother, Philip I Philadelphus, he was defeated by the Arabs and Parthians, and taken prisoner. He was held in confinement in Parthia by Mithridates II until his death in 88 B.C.
SL94920. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber 2450(2); HGC 9 1305; cf. BMC Seleucid p. 101, 1 (SE 217, same controls); SNG Spaer 2863 (SE 219, different controls), NGC Ch XF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (5771210-005), weight 16.501 g, maximum diameter 30.10 mm, die axis 0o, Damaskos (Damascus, Syria) mint, 97 - 96 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Demetrios III right, fringe of curly beard at jawline, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩS / DHMHTPIOY / ΘEOY - ΦIΛOΠATOPOΣ / ΣΩTHPOΣ, cult image of Atargatis standing facing, holding flower, barley stalk behind each shoulder, two monograms (controls) outer left, date CIS (Seleucid Era year 216) in exergue, ∆H monogram (control) in exergue on right, laurel wreath border; from the Ray Nouri Collection, NGC| Lookup; scarce; $1000.00 (€920.00)


Seleukid Kingdom, Demetrius III, c. 96 - 87 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Demetrius| |III,| |c.| |96| |-| |87| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
The inscription on the reverse of this coin translates, "King Demetrios, the god, father-loving, savior." He was nicknamed Eucaerus ("the Timely") by the Syrian Greeks but was called Acaerus ("the Untimely) by the Jews. He defeated the Hasmonaean priest king Alexander Jannaeus but was forced to withdraw from Judaea by the hostile population. While attempting to dethrone his brother, Philip I Philadelphus, he was defeated by the Arabs and Parthians, and taken prisoner. He was held in confinement in Parthia by Mithridates II until his death in 88 B.C.
SL94921. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber 2450(3); Newell LSM 116a corr. (control ex. in error); Cohen DCA 303; HGC 9 1305; BMC Seleucid p. 101, 1 var. (different controls), NGC Ch XF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (5771210-004, in error has date yr. 218, 95/4 BC), weight 16.852 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Damaskos (Damascus, Syria) mint, 96 - 95 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Demetrios III right, fringe of curly beard at jawline, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩS / DHMHTPIOY / ΘEOY - ΦIΛOΠATOPOΣ / ΣΩTHPOΣ, cult image of Atargatis standing facing, holding flower, barley stalk behind each shoulder, A over N (controls) outer left, date ΞIC (Seleucid Era year 217) in exergue, laurel wreath border; from the Ray Nouri Collection, NGC| Lookup; scarce; $1000.00 (€920.00)


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus, 113 - 95 B.C

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |IX| |Cyzicenus,| |113| |-| |95| |B.C||tetradrachm|
After Antiochus IX's father died, his uncle Demetrius II Nicator took the throne. For his safety, his mother, Cleopatra Thea, sent him to Cyzicus (leading to his nickname). He returned to Syria in 116 B.C. to claim the throne from his half-brother Antiochus VIII Grypus, with whom he eventually divided Syria. He was killed in battle by the son of Grypus, Seleucus VI Epiphanes.
GY95956. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2384; Houghton CSE 725; Babelon Rois 1467; BMC Seleucid p. 92, 6; HGC 9 1288k (R2), gVF, well centered, dark old cabinet toning, old scratches, light deposits, weight 15.977 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, 2nd reign, 113 - 112 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochos right; reverse Athena standing left, Nike in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield, spear behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two lines downward on right, ΦIΛO−ΠATOPOΣ downward on left, ΣI∆Ω/IEP / AΣY in 3 lines over outer left, Σ (year 200) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $700.00 (€644.00)


Seleukid Kingdom, Alexander I Balas, 152 - 145 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |I| |Balas,| |152| |-| |145| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Alexander Balas, of humble origin, claimed to be Antiochus IV's son and heir to the Seleukid throne. Rome and Egypt accepted his claims. He married Cleopatra Thea, daughter of King Ptolemy Philometor of Egypt. With his father-in-law's help, he defeated Demetrius Soter and became the Seleukid king. After he abandoned himself to debauchery, his father-in-law shifted his support to Demetrius II, the son of Demetrius Soter. Balas was defeated and fled to Nabataea where he was murdered.
SH95962. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 1782.2c; BMC Seleucid p. 52, 11 var. (outer left monogram); SNG Spaer 1424 var. (same); Newell SMA 142 (same); HGC 9 875a, gVF, fine Hellenistic style, old cabinet toning, edge split, weak area at neck/date, old scratches, weight 16.327 g, maximum diameter 31.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 149 - 148 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander Balas right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY in two downward lines on the right, ΘEOΠATOPOΣ EYEPΓETOY in two downward lines on the left, Zeus seated left on high back throne, himation over left shoulder and around hips and legs, Victory in extended right hand offering wreath, lotus topped scepter in left hand, Θ outer left, PA monogram inner left, date ∆ΞP (Seleucid Era year 164) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $500.00 (€460.00)


Palmyra, Palmyrene, Syria, c. 150 - 225 A.D.

|Other| |Syria|, |Palmyra,| |Palmyrene,| |Syria,| |c.| |150| |-| |225| |A.D.||AE| |12|
Palmyra, a city in a large oasis in the Syrian Desert, 215 km northeast of Damascus, was the vital silk road caravan stop known as "the Bride of the Desert." Atargatis was the chief goddess of northern Syria, primarily a fertility goddess, but, she was also responsible for the protection and well-being of the people. Her chief sanctuary was at Hierapolis, modern Manbij, northeast of Aleppo, Syria. The Romans called her Dea Syria.
GB95894. Bronze AE 12, SNG Munchen 519; BMC Galatia p. 149, 2; Krzyzanowska Monnayage IV; SNG Cop -, gF, dark patina, earthen deposits, weight 1.663 g, maximum diameter 12.0 mm, die axis 0o, Palmyra mint, c. 150 - 225 A.D.; obverse Atargatis bust facing, head left, wearing turreted crown, thin crescent left, star right; reverse radiate bust of young Malakbel (solar deity) left; extremely rare; $300.00 (€276.00)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Laodicea ad Mare, Seleucis and Pieria

|Roman| |Syria|, |Caracalla,| |28| |January| |198| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.,| |Laodicea| |ad| |Mare,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria||tetradrachm|NEW
Laodicea ad Mar was founded by Seleukos Nikator. The site was determined after an eagle snatched a piece of flesh from an altar where Seleukos was sacrificing. The exact site was indicated when he slew a boar following the eagle's flight. Perhaps the eagle on this reverse refers to the city's founding myth, though the ancients did not need a special reason to depict an eagle, the companion of Zeus.
RY92564. Billon tetradrachm, Prieur 1179; Bellinger 72; SNG Cop 364; BMC Galatia p. 195, 364 (Antioch), aEF, dark even toning, areas of minor porosity, scratches, tight flan, weight 13.927 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 180o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 215 - 217 A.D.; obverse AYT•K•M•A•-•ANTΩNEINOC•CEB, laureate head right; reverse ∆HMAPX•EΞ•YΠATOC•TO•∆ (holder of Tribunitian power, consul for the 4th time), eagle standing facing, head left, wings open, wreath in beak, star between legs; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $270.00 (€248.40)


Philip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria

|Roman| |Syria|, |Philip| |II,| |July| |or| |August| |247| |-| |Late| |249| |A.D.,| |Zeugma,| |Commagene,| |Syria||AE| |27|
Zeugma was founded by Seleucus I Nicator who almost certainly named the city Seleucia after himself. In 64 B.C. the city was conquered by Rome and renamed Zeugma, meaning "bridge of boats." On the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China, Zeugma had a pontoon bridge across the Euphrates, which was the long time border with the Persian Empire. The Legio IV Scythica was camped in Zeugma. The legion and the trade station brought great wealth to Zeugma until, in 256, Zeugma was fully destroyed by the Sassanid king, Shapur I. An earthquake then buried the city beneath rubble. The city never regained its earlier prosperity and, after Arab raids in the 5th and 6th centuries, it was abandoned again.
SL89808. Bronze AE 27, Butcher 31c; SNG Cop 35; BMC Galatia p. 128, 35; SGICV 4142, NGC Ch VF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (4094544-007), weight 15.63 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 0o, Zeugma (Belkis, Turkey) mint, 247 - 249 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ZEYΓMATEΩN, tetrastyle temple with peribolos enclosing the sacred grove of trees, below Capricorn right; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins, NGC| Lookup; $200.00 (€184.00)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Samosata, Commagene

|Roman| |Syria|, |Elagabalus,| |16| |May| |218| |-| |11| |March| |222| |A.D.,| |Samosata,| |Commagene||AE| |32|NEW
Samosata was an ancient city on the right (west) bank of the Euphrates whose ruins existed at the modern city of Samsat, Adiyaman Province, Turkey until the site was flooded by the newly constructed Atatürk Dam. The founder of the city was Sames, a Satrap of Commagene who made it his capital. The city was sometimes called Antiochia in Commagene and served as the capital for the Hellenistic Kingdom of Commagene from c. 160 BC until it was surrendered to Rome in 72. A civil metropolis from the days of Emperor Hadrian, Samosata was the home of the Legio VI Ferrata and later Legio XVI Flavia Firma, and the terminus of several military roads. Seven Christian martyrs were crucified in 297 in Samosata for refusing to perform a pagan rite in celebration of the victory of Maximian over the Sassanids. It was at Samosata that Julian II had ships made in his expedition against Sapor, and it was a natural crossing-place in the struggle between Heraclius and Chosroes in the 7th century.
RY92574. Bronze AE 32, SNG Cop 22, Butcher p. 474, 29, BMC Galatia -; SNG Righetti -, SNG München -, Lindgren-Kovacs -, F, contrasting light and dark tone, porosity, areas of mild corrosion, scratches, weight 14.659 g, maximum diameter 31.5 mm, die axis 0o, Samosata (site now flooded by the Atatürk Dam) mint, 16 Mar 218 - 11 Mar 222 A.D.; obverse AYT K M K AY ANTΩNINOC CEC, laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse CAMOCATEΩN, Tyche seated left on rocks, wearing turreted crown, two stalks of grain in right hand, no eagle perched on wrist, Pegasos below flying left; from the Errett Bishop Collection, BIG 31.5 mm bronze!; very rare; $180.00 (€165.60)


Diadumenian, Mid May - 8 June 218 A.D., Laodicea ad Mar, Seleucia and Pieria, Syria

|Roman| |Syria|, |Diadumenian,| |Mid| |May| |-| |8| |June| |218| |A.D.,| |Laodicea| |ad| |Mar,| |Seleucia| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria||AE| |31|
Laodicea ad Mar (Latakia, Syria) has been inhabited since the second millennium B.C. It was on the Via Maris, a coastal road that ran south from Antioch to Damascus and Beirut. The city was renamed by Seleucus I Nicator in honor of his mother, Laodice and was a major port for the Seleukid Kingdom. Laodicea flourished under Rome and was second only to Antioch in the region. Herod the Great, king of Judaea, furnished Laodicea with an aqueduct, the remains of which stand to the east of the town. The Legio VI Ferrata was probably based in Laodicea.
JD97397. Bronze AE 31, Lindgren-Kovacs 2099, BMC Galatia -, SNG Cop -, SNG Munchen -, SNG Righetti -, aF, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, porosity/corrosion, edge split, weight 13.695 g, maximum diameter 31.4 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, as caesar, 11 Apr 217 - mid May 218 A.D.; obverse IM M OP ANTONINOS NOB CAES, bare headed, draped and cuirassed bust right seen from the front; reverse ROMAE FEL, she-wolf right suckling Romulus and Remus; ex CGB Numismatique Paris; very rare; $160.00 (€147.20)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria

|Roman| |Syria|, |Antoninus| |Pius,| |August| |138| |-| |7| |March| |161| |A.D.,| |Zeugma,| |Commagene,| |Syria||AE| |23|NEW
Zeugma was founded by Seleucus I Nicator who almost certainly named the city Seleucia after himself. In 64 B.C. the city was conquered by Rome and renamed Zeugma, meaning "bridge of boats." On the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China, Zeugma had a pontoon bridge across the Euphrates, which was the long time border with the Persian Empire. The Legio IV Scythica was camped in Zeugma. The legion and the trade station brought great wealth to Zeugma until, in 256, Zeugma was fully destroyed by the Sassanid king, Shapur I. An earthquake then buried the city beneath rubble. The city never regained its earlier prosperity and, after Arab raids in the 5th and 6th centuries, it was abandoned again.
RY92575. Bronze AE 23, RPC IV T8532 (controls A - Θ); BMC Galatia p. 125, 11 var. (control); SNG Hunterian 2628 var. (same); SNG Munchen 416 var. (same); SNG Cop -, VF, nice green desert patina with red highlights, double struck, slightest porosity, a few light scratches, weight 11.871 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Zeugma (Belkis, Turkey) mint, Aug 138 - 7 Mar 161 A.D.; obverse AYTO KAI TIT AIΛ AΛPI ANTWNINONOC CEB EY (or similar), laureate head right; reverse ZEYΓMATEWN (counterclockwise from 9:00), tetrastyle temple with peribolos enclosing the sacred grove of trees (poor use of perspective, as on all examples of this type), crescent above, H (Greek control number 8) in upper left field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $130.00 (€119.60)




  






REFERENCES|

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