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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Hellenistic Monarchies| ▸ |Seleucid Kingdom||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of the Seleucid Kingdom

The Seleucid Kingdom, ruled by the Hellenistic Seleucid dynasty, existed from 312 B.C. to 63 B.C. Seleucus I Nicator received Babylonia in the division of Alexander the Great's empire in 321 B.C. He expanded his domain, and at the height of its power, the Seleucid Empire included central Anatolia, Persia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and what is now Kuwait, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan and Turkmenistan. They were defeated by the Roman Republic and their Greek allies in 190 B.C. The subsequent Treaty of Apamea in 188 B.C. required costly war reparations and loss of territory west of the Taurus Mountains. The Parthians conquered much of the remaining empire in the mid-2nd century B.C. The Seleucid kings continued to rule a smaller state from Syria until the invasion by Armenian king Tigranes the Great in 83 B.C. and their ultimate overthrow by the Roman general Pompey in 63 B.C.

Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos II Kallinikos, 246 - 226 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Seleukos| |II| |Kallinikos,| |246| |-| |226| |B.C.||AE| |20|
Babelon attributed this type to Seleukos I and identified the head on the obverse as Zeus. Newell believed the "late and poor style" suggests Seleucus IV. Houghton and Lorber note the trident behind the obverse head, visible on a better specimen, identifies the head as Poseidon. They also note an Afyon museum specimen and close typological relationship to Houghton-Lorber 738, as well as the oblate flan and irregular die axis suggest they both share the same mint and are both issues of Seleucus II.
GY95574. Bronze AE 20, Houghton-Lorber Ad28, Babelon 98 (Seleukos I, obv. Zeus), Newell WSM p. 378, SNG Spaer -, Houghton -, BMC Seleucid -, HGC 9, F, dark brown tone, oblate flan, weight 5.361 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 30o, Anatolia, uncertain mint, 246 - 226 B.C.; obverse Head of Poseidon right, crowned with kelp, tiny trident behind head; reverse Nike in a fast quadriga right, BACIΛEΩΣ above, ΣEΛEYKOY in exergue, no controls; extremely rare; $200.00 SALE PRICE $160.00


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Euergetes Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |VII| |Euergetes| |Sidetes,| |138| |-| |129| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
After his brother Demetrius was captured by the Parthians, Antiochus VII was made king. He married Demetrius' wife Cleopatra Thea. He defeated the usurper Tryphon at Dora and laid siege to Jerusalem in 134. According to Josephus, the Hasmonean king John Hyrcanus opened King David's sepulcher and removed three thousand talents, which he then paid Antiochus to spare the city. Sidetes then attacked the Parthians, supported by a body of Jews under Hyrcanus, and briefly took back Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Media before being ambushed and killed by Phraates II. His brother Demetrius II had by then been released, but the Seleucid realm was now restricted to Syria. Antiochus VII was the last Seleucid king of any stature.
GY110248. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2109(5)a; Houghton CSE 759; SNG Spaer 2021; Newell Tyre 121; BMC Seleucid p. 70, 7; HGC 9 1074; Cohen DCA 198, aVF, dark toning, bumps and marks, weight 12.703 g, maximum diameter 27.8 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre (Lebanon) mint, 136 - 135 B.C.; obverse Antiochos VII diademed head right; reverse ANTIOXOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on prow, palm branch behind, A/PE monogram above (Tyre monogram) over club left, AvΣ monogram over ZOP (year 177, Z appears as I) right, (control monogram) between legs; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus II Theos, 261 - 246 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |II| |Theos,| |261| |-| |246| |B.C.||AE| |19|
Before Alexander's conquest, Ecbatana was a summer residence for the Persian kings. Later it was a capital of the Parthian Empire.
GB110472. Bronze AE 19, Houghton-Lorber I 522(2); Newell WSM 1391; BMC Seleucid p. 15, 15; HGC 9 253, gVF, green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, attractive style, scratches, weight 3.733 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Lydia, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, 261 - 246 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, with curly hair failing down neck; reverse tripod lebes, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on left, anchor flukes right below, Σ low outer left, ∆I low outer right; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00


Kings of Thrace, Adaios, c. 255 - 245 B.C.

|Kingdoms| |of| |Thrace|, |Kings| |of| |Thrace,| |Adaios,| |c.| |255| |-| |245| |B.C.||AE| |22|
Adaios probably served as a Seleukid strategos (military governor) of Thrace under the King Antiochos II Theos. Antiochos II took Thracian territory from Ptolemy II Philopator, c. 255 - 253 B.C., during the Second Syrian War. After Antiochos II and Ptolemy II made peace. Adaios continued to rule southern Thrace, making Kypsela his capital. Adaios was executed at Kypsela by Ptolemy III Euergetes after Ptolemy advanced into southern Thrace, c. 246 - 241 B.D., during the Third Syrian War.

This type was the largest of three bronze denominations Adaios issued. References list the lower monogram only as Σ, but on better specimens the AΣ monogram is clear.
GB110080. Bronze AE 22, SNG Tb 971; SNG Cop 1179; SNG BM 324; HGC 3.2 1763 (S); Peter p. 237; AMNG III-2 p. 147, 17 var. (monograms), VF, nice green patina, monograms and inscription not fully struck, weight 8.717 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 315o, Kypsela (near Ipsala, Turkey) mint, c. 255 - 245 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse tripod lebes, HP over AΣ monograms downward on left, A∆AIOY downward on right; scarce; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Euergetes Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |VII| |Euergetes| |Sidetes,| |138| |-| |129| |B.C.||AE| |18|
After his brother Demetrius was captured by the Parthians, Antiochus VII was made king. He married Demetrius' wife Cleopatra Thea. He defeated the usurper Tryphon at Dora and laid siege to Jerusalem in 134. According to Josephus, the Hasmonean king John Hyrcanus opened King David's sepulcher and removed three thousand talents, which he then paid Antiochus to spare the city. Sidetes then attacked the Parthians, supported by a body of Jews under Hyrcanus, and briefly took back Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Media before being ambushed and killed by Phraates II. His brother Demetrius II had by then been released, but the Seleucid realm was now restricted to Syria. Antiochus VII was the last Seleucid king of any stature.
GY110206. Bronze AE 18, Houghton-Lorber II 2067(5)c; Babelon 1097; SNG Spaer 1912; HGC 9 1087; BMC Seleucid p. 74, 55 var. (star vice palm), VF, dark tone, earthen deposits, obverse edge beveled, weight 5.687 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 137 - 136 B.C.; obverse bust of winged Eros right; reverse headdress of Isis, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY in two downward lines on the right, EYEPΓETOY downward on left, outer left, palm frond over ςOP (year 176 of the Seleucid Era) below; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00


Apameia, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 71 - 70 B.C.

|Other| |Syria|, |Apameia,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria,| |71| |-| |70| |B.C.||AE| |23|
In 302 B.C., Seleucus ceded a large part of Afghanistan to Chandragupta for 500 elephants to equip his army. The Seleukids' elephant and horse breeding and training camp was at Apamea. More than thirty thousand brood mares and three hundred stallions were kept. Here instructors taught the methods of fighting in heavy armor, and all the arts of war. In 188 B.C., Rome forced the defeated Antiochus III to sign the Treaty of Apamea, which obligated him to hand over all but 10 of his ships, hostages, 15,000 talents and all his elephants. When this coin was issued, the elephants had long existed only in memory.
GY110201. Bronze AE 23, HGC 9 1419; Cohen DCA 410 (scarce); cf. BMC Galatia, p. 233, 5 (year 243); SNG Munchen 792 (same); Hunter III p. 190, 2 (same); SNG Cop -, aVF, blue-green patina, earthen deposits, oval flan, flan adjustment marks on rev., weight 9.716 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 0o, Syria, Apameia (Qalaat al-Madiq, Syria) mint, 71 - 70 B.C.; obverse laureate bearded head of Zeus right; reverse elephant walking right, AΠAMEΩN / THΣ IEPAΣ in two lines above, KAI AΣYΛOY over ∆I (control letters) below, BMΣ (year 242 of Seleukid era) under trunk; scarcer year; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00


Judaean Kingdom, John Hyrcanus I (Yehohanan), 134 - 104 B.C., For the Seleukid King Antiochus VII

|John| |Hyrcanus| |I|, |Judaean| |Kingdom,| |John| |Hyrcanus| |I| |(Yehohanan),| |134| |-| |104| |B.C.,| |For| |the| |Seleukid| |King| |Antiochus| |VII||prutah|
Hendin lists four varieties of this type AΠP (year 181) below (Hendin 6165), AΠP (year 181) beside the anchor on left (Hendin 6165aa), BΠP (year 182) below (Hendin 6165b), and BΠP (year 182) beside the anchor on left (Hendin 6165c). Houghton and Lorber list a variety without a date (Houghton-Lorber 2123), but the date is probably just off flan, as on this example.
JD110204. Bronze prutah, Houghton-Lorber II 2123, Hendin 6165, HGC 9 1103, Meshorer TJC p. 30, VF, areas of encrustation, flan cracks, reverse edge beveled, weight 2.880 g, maximum diameter 15.7 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 132 - 130 B.C.; obverse lily on stem with two leaves, two pellets above, dot border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY EYEPΓETOY (Greek: of King Antiochus, Benefactor), anchor, upside down, AΠP or BΠP (Greek: year 181 or 182 of the Seleucid Era) below; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleucus I Nikator, 312 - 280 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Seleucus| |I| |Nikator,| |312| |-| |280| |B.C.||obol|
Seleukos (Seleucus) founded the Seleukid Empire and the Seleukid dynasty which ruled Syria until Pompey made it a Roman province in 63 B.C. Seleukos was never one of Alexander the Great's principal generals but he commanded the royal bodyguard during the Indian campaign. In the division of the empire after Alexander's death Seleukos did not receive a satrapy. Instead, he served under the regent Perdikkas until the latter's murder in 321 or 320. Seleukos was then appointed satrap of Babylonia. Five years later Antigonus Monophthalmus (the One-eyed) forced him to flee, but he returned with support from Ptolemy. He later added Persia and Media to his territory and defeated both Antigonus and Lysimachus. He was succeeded by his son Antiochus I.
GS99758. Silver obol, Houghton-Lorber I 134.3; Newell ESM 60; HGC 9 61 (R3); BMC Seleucid p. 4, 42 var. (controls), SNG Spaer 137 var. (same), F, weight 0.541 g, maximum diameter 9.5 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia ad Tigris (Baghdad Governorate, Iraq) mint, c. 295 - 280 B.C.; obverse tripod lebes with dome cover, wreath draped on tops of handles; reverse anchor with flukes upward, ring at both ends, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ΣEΛEYKOY on left, monograms (controls) below flukes left and right; ex Jesus Vico auction 161 (21 Apr 2022), lot 160 (part of); very rare; $200.00 SALE PRICE $160.00


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus III the Great, 223 - 187 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |III| |the| |Great,| |223| |-| |187| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
At the age of eighteen, Antiochus III inherited a disorganized state. Much of Anatolia had been lost and the easternmost provinces had revolted and broken away. After some initial defeats, Antiochus took Judaea from Ptolemaic Egypt and then conquered Anatolia, earning him the epithet "the Great." In 192 B.C. Antiochus invaded Greece with a 10,000-man army, and was elected the commander in chief of the Aetolian League. In 191 B.C., however, the Romans routed him at Thermopylae, forcing him to withdraw to Anatolia. The Romans followed up by invading Anatolia and defeating him again. By the Treaty of Apamea 188 B.C., Antiochus abandoned all territory north and west of the Taurus, most of which the Roman Republic gave either to Rhodes or to the Attalid ruler Eumenes II, its allies. Many Greek cities were left free. As a consequence of this blow to the Seleucid power, the provinces which had recovered by Antiochus, reasserted their independence. Antiochus mounted a fresh eastern expedition. He died while pillaging a temple of Bel at Elymas, Persia, in 187 B.C.
GY99759. Silver tetradrachm, Newell ESM 396 (A4/P16), SNG Spaer 727 (same dies), Houghton-Lorber I 1121.2c, HGC 9 447bb, gVF, excellent portrait, light marks, weight 17.001 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 0o, "rose" (Edessa?) mint, 213 - 187 B.C.; obverse Antiochos diademed head right, dotted border; reverse Apollo naked seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on bow grounded behind, cornucopia outer left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ANT-IOXOY downward on left, rose (control) outer left, AT monogram outer right; $650.00 SALE PRICE $585.00


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VI Dionysus, 144 - c. 142 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |VI| |Dionysus,| |144| |-| |c.| |142| |B.C.||AE| |22|
After his father was deposed by Demetrius II, the general Diodotus Tryphon nominated Antiochus VI as king. He gained the allegiance of most of the Seleucid domain, including Judaea, but was actually only a puppet of the general. He died after "ruling" for two years. He was likely assassinated under orders from Tryphon, who then made himself king.
GY99031. Bronze serrated AE 22, Houghton-Lorber II 2006(a), SNG Spaer 1772, Houghton CSE 248, Babelon Rois 1007; SNG Cop 304 var. (star vice cornucopia), HGC 9 1043 (C-S), gF, dark green patina, central dimples, weight 8.055 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. mid-143 - 142 B.C.; obverse radiate head of Antiochos VI right, wreathed in ivy; reverse elephant walking left, holding torch in trunk, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two lines above, EΠIΦANOYΣ ∆IONYΣOY in two lines in exergue, ΣTA over cornucopia (controls) right; who modified this on Sunday 7-24???; $80.00 SALE PRICE $64.00




  






REFERENCES|

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Cohen, E. Dated Coins of Antiquity: A comprehensive catalogue of the coins and how their numbers came about. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
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Macdonald, G. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the Hunterian Collection, University of Glasgow, Vol. III. (Glasgow, 1905).
Macdonald, G. "Early Seleucid Portraits" in Journal Hellenistic Studies, 1903, pp. 92 ff., and 1907, pp. 145 ff.
Nelson, B. "The 2005 'Seleucus I' Hoard" in Coin Hoards X (2010).
Newell, E. Late Seleucid Mints in Ake-Ptolemais and Damascus. ANSNNM 84 (New York, 1939).
Newell, E. Seleucid Coins of Tyre: A Supplement. ANSNNM 73 (New York, 1936).
Newell, E. The Coinage of the Eastern Seleucid Mints. From Seleucus I to Antiochus III. (New York, 1938).
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