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The Persian Empire

The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire


Persian Empire, Satrapy of Cilicia, 4th Century B.C.

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In antiquity, Cilicia (also spelled Kilikia) was a southern coastal region of Anatolia, extending inland north from the Mediterranean coast, east from Pamphylia, to the Amanus Mountains, which separated it from Syria. The Persian Empire initially allowed tributary native kings to govern. The last king of Cilicia was dethroned after he sided in a civil war with Cyrus the Younger, who was defeated by Artaxerxes II. Cilicia became an ordinary satrapy.Persian Empire

GS91742. Silver obol, Winzer 18.1 (Mazaios); Babelon Peres p. XLVII, fig. 12; SNG BnF -; SNG Levante -, aEF, toning, light scratches, light corrosion, weight 0.630 g, maximum diameter 11.7 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse head of female facing slightly left, wearing stephane and earrings; reverse head of Satrap left, wearing bashlyk; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Persian Empire, Mazaios, Satrap of Cilicia, 361 - 334 B.C., Tarsos, Cilicia

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Mazaios was the Persian satrap of Cilicia beginning about 361 B.C. and in about 345 B.C. he was also made satrap of Transeuphratesia (which included Syria and Judaea). In 331 B.C., Mazaios was defeated by Alexander the Great at the Battle of Gaugamela, after which he fled to Babylon. Later that year Mazaios surrendered Babylon, the capital of the Persian Empire, to Alexander. For surrendering without a fight, Alexander appointed Mazaios governor of Babylon. He died in 328 B.C.
SH91799. Silver stater, cf. SNG BnF 433 (eagle tipped scepter?, Aramaic letter mem under throne), SNG Levante 186 var. (T below throne), SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Delepierre -, VF, a little off center, die wear, weight 10.686 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 180o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 361 - 334 B.C.; obverse Baal of Tarsos enthroned left, lotus tipped scepter in right hand, thymiaterion (incense burner) left, BLTRZ (=Baaltarz) in Aramaic behind, A(?) below throne; reverse lion advancing left, MZDY (=Mazdai) in Aramaic above; $500.00 (€440.00)
 


Persian Empire, Tarsos, Cilicia, Time of Satraps Datames or Pharnabazos, c. 380 - 361 B.C.

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Datames' enemies in Artaxerxes' court accused him, perhaps falsely, of intending to revolt against the Great King. Secretly warned, he then did, in fact, revolt, c. 370 B.C. The revolt appeared to be leading to a breakup of the entire western half of the empire into autonomous states. His own son's desertion to Artaxerxes was, however, the beginning of the end, which came when Datames was assassinated, c. 362 B.C.
SH91744. Silver obol, cf. SNG BnF 303, SNG Levante 89 (monogram behind Ares), Göktürk 21 (dolphins flanking female), SNG Cop 273, Choice VF, well centered, dark toning, attractive style, earthen encrustations, weight 0.533 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 270o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 380 - 361 B.C.; obverse female head (nymph?) facing slightly left, wearing earring and necklace; reverse bearded and helmeted male head (Ares?) left, wearing crested Attic style helmet, ear flaps raised, Aramaic HLK (Cilicia) upper left; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Tarsos, Cilicia, c. 389 - 375 B.C.

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Excavation of the mound of Gözlükule reveals that the prehistorical development of Tarsus reaches back to the Neolithic Period and continues unbroken through Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Ages. The settlement was located at the crossing of several important trade routes, linking Anatolia to Syria and beyond. Because the ruins are covered by the modern city, archaeology has barely touched the ancient city.
GS91745. Silver obol, SNG BnF 239, SNG Levante 65, Casabonne Type K2, Ziegler 606, VF, centered on a tight flan, light toning, light marks, mild die wear, weight 0.512 g, maximum diameter 8.8 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 389 - 375 B.C.; obverse woman seated left casting astragaloi; reverse youthful male head right; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73 (6 Jan 2019), lot 229; $200.00 (€176.00)
 


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Xerxes I - Darius II, c. 485 - 420 B.C.

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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' 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, 485 - 465 B.C. 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.
MA93713. Silver siglos, Carradice type IIIb (early); Carradice NC 1998 pl. 7, 155 ff.; Rosen 673; SGCV II 4682; Winzer 1.11; Sunrise 25, F, uneven toning, scratches, punch on obverse, weight 5.080 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 485 - 420 B.C.; obverse Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand, bearded, crowned; reverse irregular rectangular punch; $14.00 (€12.32) ON RESERVE


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Darius II - Artaxerxes II, c. 420 - 375 B.C.

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This type was minted in Lydia, Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire
MA93714. Silver siglos, Carradice Type| IV (middle) B; Carradice Price p. 73 and pl. 19, 223; BMC Arabia p. 171, 172 ff., pl. XXVII, 7 ff.; Rosen 678; SGCV II 4683, F, banker's marks, punches, uneven toning, earthen deposits, marks, scratches, weight 5.213 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 420 - 375 B.C.; obverse Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, bearded, crowned, dagger in right hand, bow in left hand; reverse irregular oblong punch; $12.00 (€10.56)


Persian Achaemenid Empire, Magnesia ad Maeandrum, Ionia, Archepolis, c. 459 - 412 B.C.

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Archeptolis was a satrap of Magnesia on the Maeander, Ionia for the Persian Achaemenid Empire, c. 459 to 412 B.C. He succeeded his father, the Athenian general Themistocles, and the rule of this father and son has been called "a Greek dynasty in the Persian Empire." Archeptolis is said to have married his half-sister Mnesiptolema (daughter of Themistocles from his second wife). Archeptolis had several sisters and three brothers. One brother, Cleophantus, was possibly the ruler of Lampsacus. Pausanias later wrote that the sons of Themistocles returned to Athens where they dedicated a painting of Themistocles in the Parthenon and erected a bronze statue to Artemis Leucophryene, the goddess of Magnesia, on the Acropolis. They may have returned from Ionia in old age, after 412 B.C., when the Persians took firm control of the Greek cities of Asia. They may have been expelled by the Achaemenid satrap Tissaphernes sometime between 412 and 399 B.C.
GS92802. Silver tetartemorion, apparently unpublished in this denomination but more than 20 specimens known from auctions, cf. Nollé-Wenninger 2A (trihemiobol), aVF, well centered, toned, struck with worn dies, weight 0.208 g, maximum diameter 6.2 mm, die axis 45o, Ionia, Magnesia ad Maeandrum (near Tekin, Turkey) mint, c. 459 - 412 B.C.; obverse diademed and bearded male head right; reverse eagle flying left within linear square border within incuse square; rare; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Xerxes I - Darius II, c. 485 - 420 B.C.

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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' 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, 485 - 465 B.C. 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.
GA92803. Silver siglos, Carradice type IIIb (early); Carradice NC 1998 pl. 7, 155 ff.; Rosen 673; SGCV II 4682; Winzer 1.11; Sunrise 25, aVF, reverse test cut, weight 5.491 g, maximum diameter 14.8 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 485 - 420 B.C.; obverse Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand, bearded, crowned; reverse irregular rectangular punch; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


Persian Empire, Sidon, Phoenicia, Ba'Alshillem II, c. 401 - 366 B.C.

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Sidon, named for the "first-born" of Canaan, the grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:15, 19), is frequently referred to by the prophets (Isaiah 23:2, 4, 12; Jeremiah 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Ezekiel 27:8; 28:21, 22; 32:30; Joel 3:4). The Sidonians long oppressed Israel (Judges 10:12) but Solomon entered into a matrimonial alliance with them, and thus their form of idolatrous worship found a place in the land of Israel (1 Kings 11:1, 33). Jesus visited the "coasts" of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21; Mark 7:24) where many came to hear him preach (Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17). After leaving Caesarea, Paul's ship put in at Sidon, before finally sailing for Rome (Acts 27:3, 4).
GF91986. Silver 1/16 shekel, Elayi 2004 851 ff.; HGC 10 240; Betlyon 27 (Abd'astart, Straton I); BMC Phoenicia p 146, 36 (same); SNG Cop 197 ff. (same), F, dark toning, tight flan, tiny edge splits, weight 0.953 g, maximum diameter 9.8 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, c. 371 - 370 B.C.; obverse war galley left with oars, row of shields along bulwarks, two lines of waves below, Phoenician letter bet(?) above; reverse Great king advancing right reaches with left to grab lion, draws back a dagger in his right, Phoenician letter ayin in center, all in incuse square; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Artaxerxes II - Darius III, c. 375 - 340 B.C.

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This type was minted in Lydia, Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire
GA92206. Silver siglos, 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., VF, toned, tight flan, porous, banker's mark, weight 5.425 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 375 - 340 B.C.; obverse Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, bearded, crowned, dagger in right hand, bow in left hand; reverse irregular oblong punch; $150.00 (€132.00)
 




  






REFERENCES|

Ashton, R., et al. "The Pixodarus Hoard" in Coin Hoards IX (2002).
Babelon, E. Traité des Monnaies Grecques et Romaines. (Paris, 1901-1932).
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Carradice, I. "The Dinar Hoard of Persian Sigloi" in Studies Price. (London, 1998).
Deutsch, R. & M. Heltzer. "Numismatic Evidence from the Persian Period from the Sharon Plain" Transeuphratene, Vol. 13, 1997, pp. 17-20.
Elayi, J. & A.G. Elayi. Le monnayage de la cité phénicienne de Sidon ŕ l'époque perse (Ve-IVe s. av. J.-C.). (Paris, 2004).
Elayi, J. & A.G. Elayi. The Coinage of the Phoenician City of Tyre in the Persian Period (5th-4th cent. BCE). (Leuven-Paris-Walpole, MA, 2009).
Hendin, D. Guide to Biblical Coins, 5th Edition. (Amphora, 2010).
Meshorer, Y. A Treasury of Jewish Coins from the Persian Period to Bar Kokhba. (Jerusalem, 2001).
Mildenberg, L. "Yehud: A Preliminary Study of the Provincial Coinage of Judaea" in Essays Thompson (1979).
Meshorer, Y. & S. Qedar. The Coinage of Samaria in the 4th Century BCE. (Jerusalem, 1991).
Moysey, R.A. "The Silver Stater Issues of Pharnabazos and Datames from the Mint of Tarsus in Cilicia" in ANSMN 31 (1986).
Noe, S.P. Two Hoards of Persian Sigloi. ANSNNM 136. (New York, 1956).
Price, M.J. & N. Waggoner. Archaic Greek Silver Coinage, The "Asyut" Hoard. (London, 1975).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum. (Copenhagen, 1942-1979).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock. (Berlin, 1957-1967).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Finland, The Erkki Keckman Collection in the Skopbank, Helsinki, (Helsinki, 1994-1999).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale. (Paris, 1993 - 2001).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum Switzerland I. Levante-Cilicia. (Zurich,1986).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection. (Istanbul, 2002).
Troxell, H.A. "Orontes, satrap of Mysia" in SNR 60. (1981).
Vismara, N. Monetazione Arcaica della Lycia. (Milan, 1989 -1996).
Waggoner, N. M. Early Greek Coins from the Collection of Jonathan P. Rosen (ANS ACNAC 5). (New York, 1983).
Forrer, L. Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Greek Coins formed by Sir Hermann Weber. (1922 - 1929).

Catalog current as of Monday, October 14, 2019.
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Persian Empire