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Roman Provincial Coins from Mesopotamia and Babylonia
Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Edessa, Mesopotamia
In 230, the Persian King Ardashir I invaded Mesopotamia. Ancient historians disagree about the success or failure of Alexander's counterattack against Persia in 232, but there is no doubt that Alexander had enough success to recover Edessa and make the town the "Metropolis Colony of the Edessans." No documents mention this event but it is clearly attested on the coins, including this one. Both sides suffered heavy losses and agreed to a truce. In 233, Severus Alexander celebrated a triumph in Rome to observe his "victory."RY92578. Bronze AE 25, SNG Cop 215; SNG Hunterian II 2548; BMC Arabia p. 104, 82; Lindgren I 2578 var. (head bare, etc.), VF, black patina with light earthen highlights, weight 9.755 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 150o, Mesopotamia, Edessa (Urfa, Sanliurfa, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 221 - 222 A.D.; obverse M A AΛEΞN∆EPOC KA, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse M A K AVP E∆ECC, Tyche seated left on rocks, wearing turreted crown, veil, and mantle, sacrificing at flaming altar before her, river-god swimming at her feet; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $160.00 (€131.20)
Kingdom of Elymais, Orodes II, Early - Mid 2nd Century A.D.
Elymais was the biblical Elam and home of the magi. With its capitol at Susa, it was a small kingdom in what is now Iran and Kuwait. The Kingdom of Elymais struck coins from the middle of the 2nd century B.C. until their defeat by the Sasanians in 227 A.D.WA93629. Bronze drachm, vant Haaff 13.1.1-1b; BMC Arabia p. 267, 64; Sunrise -, aVF, dark green patina, earthen highlighting, some porosity, edge crack, weight 3.777 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 0o, Early - Mid 2nd Century A.D.; obverse bearded diademed bust facing, bunches of hair at sides and on top; to right, pellet inside crescent above anchor with double crossbar; reverse Aramaic legend: King Orodes, Son of Orodes, horned facing bust of Belos, large tufts of hair on each side of head, hair tied on top of head; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $75.00 (€61.50)
Kingdom of Elymais, Uncertain King (Kamnaskires VI?), c. 1st Century A.D.
Elymais was the biblical Elam and home of the magi. With its capitol at Susa, it was a small kingdom in what is now Iran and Kuwait. The Kingdom of Elymais struck coins from the middle of the 2nd century B.C. until their defeat by the Sasanians in 227 A.D.WA93624. Billon tetradrachm, vant Haaff (uncertain early Arsacid kings) 10.3.1-2A; Alram IP p. 146, taf. 15, NB1; BMC Arabia p. 250, 17; Le Rider Suse pl. LXXIII, 3 - 4, VF, debased metal, struck with a worn rev. die but less degenerated than many specimens (rev. dies were used until worn almost smooth), porosity/corrosion, edge flaw, weight 13.207 g, maximum diameter 30.0 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia ad Hedyphon (Ja Nishin, Iran) mint, c. 1st century A.D.; obverse diademed, draped bust of king left, torque around neck, wide fringe of hair below diadem, long beard, star (degenerated into a cross) in crescent over anchor behind, anchor with two cross bars and pellet to left of shaft; reverse crude diademed head left, squared blundered legend around; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $195.00 (€159.90)
Kingdom of Elymais, Orodes III, 2nd Century A.D.
Elymais was the biblical Elam and home of the magi. With its capitol at Susa, it was a small kingdom in what is now Iran and Kuwait. The Kingdom of Elymais struck coins from the middle of the 2nd century B.C. until their defeat by the Sasanians in 227 A.D.WA93626. Bronze drachm, vant Haaff 16.4.2-1B(a); BMC Arabia p. 276, 39; De Morgan 28; Alram IP -, Sunrise -, VF/F, crowded on a tight oval flan, porosity, earthen deposits, weight 2.714 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, 2nd century A.D.; obverse long bearded bust left wearing tiara ornamented with anchor; to right, pellet inside crescent above anchor with one crossbar; reverse field of parallel V shaped marks; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $40.00 (€32.80)
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Babelon, E. La collection Waddington au cabinet des médailles. (1897-1898).
Babelon, E. Numismatique d'Edessa. (Paris, 1904).
Bellinger, A. The Syrian Tetradrachms of Caracalla and Macrinus. ANSNS 3. (New York, 1940).
Castelin, K. The Coinage of Rhesaena in Mesopotamia. ANSNNM 108. (New York, 1946).
Hill, G. Catalogue of the Greek Coins in the British Museum: Arabia, Mesopotamia and Persia. (London, 1922).
Lindgren, H. & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coins of Asia Minor and the Levant. (San Mateo, 1985).
Lindgren, H. Lindgren III: Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
Nelson, B., ed. Numismatic Art of Persia. The Sunrise Collection, Part I: Ancient - 650 BC to AD 650. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
Prieur, M. & K. Prieur. The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms and their fractions from 57 BC to AD 258. (Lancaster, PA, 2000). RPC Online - http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982). Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 7: Cyprus to India. (West Milford, NJ, 1982). Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XII, The Hunterian Museum, Univ. of Glasgow, Part 2: Roman Provincial Coins: Cyprus-Egypt. (Oxford, 2008). Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano, Civiche Raccolte Numismatiche, XII. Syria-Bactria et India. (Milan, 1991-1992). Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Schweiz II, Katalog der Sammlung Jean-Pierre Righetti im Bernischen Historischen Museum. (Bern, 1993).
Tyler-Smith, S. "A parcel of Persis drachms, half drachms and obols" in Numismatic Chronicle 164 (2004), pp. 253-271, pls. 29 - 33.
van't Haaff, P. Catalogue of Elymaean Coinage, ca. 147 B.C. - A.D. 228. (Lancaster, PA. 2007).
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