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

Kingdom of Bosporus

The Bosporan Kingdom (or Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus) was an ancient Greco-Scythian state in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus, the present-day Strait of Kerch (it was not named after the more famous Bosphorus beside Istanbul at the other end of the Black Sea). Its mixed population adopted the Greek language and civilization. The kingdom's golden age was 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. It was a Roman province from 63 to 68 A.D., under Nero. At the end of the 2nd century A.D., King Sauromates II inflicted a critical defeat on the Scythians and included all the territories of the Crimea in the structure of his state. The Bosporan Kingdom became the longest surviving Roman client kingdom, retaining semi-independent status until it was overrun by the Huns, c. 375 A.D. Bosporan Kingdom

Kingdom of Bosporus, Rheskuporis II, 211 - 228 A.D.

|Bosporan| |Kingdom|, |Kingdom| |of| |Bosporus,| |Rheskuporis| |II,| |211| |-| |228| |A.D.||stater|
Bosporus retained semi-independent status under this line of kings until the 4th century A.D. Some references list this ruler as Rheskuporis III.
SH08302. Electrum stater, Anokhin 635d, Frolova pl. XLVII, 11, SGICV 5483 var, Choice VF, weight 7.35 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, 218 - 219 A.D.; obverse BACIΛEωOC PHCKOYΠOPI∆OC, laureate draped and cuirassed bust right holding trident; reverse laureate draped bust of Elagabalus seen from behind, date EIΦ (= Era of Bosphoros year 515 = 218/219 A.D.); nicely toned, full circle of dots on both obverse and reverse; SOLD


Kingdom of Bosporus, Sauromates II, 174 - 210 A.D.

|Bosporan| |Kingdom|, |Kingdom| |of| |Bosporus,| |Sauromates| |II,| || |174| |-| |210| |A.D.||denarius|
Tiberius Julius Sauromates II Philocaesar Philoromaios Eusebes (his epithets mean, lover of Caesar, lover of Rome, and the Pius) was the Roman Client King of the Bosporan Kingdom. He was of Greek, Iranian and Roman ancestry and was a contemporary of the Roman emperors Marcus Aurelius, Commodus, Pertinax, Didius Julianus, Septimius Severus and Caracalla. Little is known of his life and reign. From his coinage, we know he venerated Aphrodite. From an inscription found in Tanais, we know that he defeated the Scythians and Sirachi tribes in 193.
GB88982. Bronze denarius, MacDonald Bosporus 543/1, Anokhin 616, RPC Online IV 3878, SNG Cop 68 var. (Aphrodite also holds scepter), SNG Stancomb -, VF, dark patina with brass showing on high points, obverse off center,, weight 9.406 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, c. 174 - 196 A.D.; obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣAYPOMATOY, diademed and draped bust of Sauromates right, with long hair and a short beard; reverse Aphrodite enthroned left, wearing crown, apple in extended right hand, X (denarius mark of value) in upper right field; ex Ancient Imports (Marc Breitsprecher), ex German collection; SOLD


Kingdom of Bosporus, Aspurgus, c. 14 - 38 A.D., In the Name of Caligula

|Bosporan| |Kingdom|, |Kingdom| |of| |Bosporus,| |Aspurgus,| |c.| |14| |-| |38| |A.D.,| |In| |the| |Name| |of| |Caligula||12| |units|
This type and similar coins of Tiberius were both struck with this date, with young portraits, about which RPC I notes, "the pieces with the portraits of Tiberius and Caligula were probably made at the end of the reign; the Tiberian pieces are so similar to the Caligulan ones that it seems very likely that both were made within a short space of time."
SH67614. Bronze 12 units, MacDonald Bosporus 302, RPC I 1904, SNG Cop 24, Anokhin 320, Lindgren III 156, VF, weight 6.750 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, Panticapeum mint, c. 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse ΓAIOV KAIΣAPOΣ ΓEPMANICOV, bare head of Caligula right; reverse diademed head of Aspurgus right, IB (denomination) before, BAP monogram behind; SOLD


Kings of Bosporos, Polemo I, c. 14 - 9 B.C.

|Bosporan| |Kingdom|, |Kings| |of| |Bosporos,| |Polemo| |I,| |c.| |14| |-| |9| |B.C.||tetrachalkon|
The Bosporan Kingdom (or Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus) was in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus, the present-day Strait of Kerch (it was not named after the Bosphorus beside Istanbul). The mixed population adopted Greek language and civilization. The prosperity of the kingdom was based on the export of wheat, fish and slaves. The kingdom's golden age was 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. At the end of the 2nd century A.D., King Sauromates II inflicted a critical defeat on the Scythians and expanded his state to include the entire Crimea. It was the longest surviving Roman client kingdom, lasting until it was overrun by the Huns c. 375 A.D.
GB85937. Bronze tetrachalkon, Frolova-Ireland p. 52, pl. 33/1, pl. 34/1-5, MacDonald Bosporus 229, SNG Stancomb 961, Anokhin 256, HGC 7 347 (R2), RPC I -, SNG BM -, SNG Pushkin -, nice VF, bold strike, slightly off center, attractive near black patina with buff earthen highlighting, scratches, edge cracks, countermark, weight 9.295 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 0o, Pantikapaion (Kerch, Crimea) mint, c. 14 - 9 B.C.; obverse head of gorgon Medusa (or Perseus? - most references say a gorgon) right, winged, snakes (or drapery) around neck, obscure round countermark before; reverse monogram of Polemo I; very rare; SOLD


Kings of Bosporos, Ininthimeus, 234 -239 A.D.

|Bosporan| |Kingdom|, |Kings| |of| |Bosporos,| |Ininthimeus,| |234| |-239| |A.D.||2| |denarii|
The Bosporan Kingdom (or Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus) was in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus, the present-day Strait of Kerch (it was not named after the Bosphorus beside Istanbul). The mixed population adopted Greek language and civilization. The prosperity of the kingdom was based on the export of wheat, fish and slaves. The kingdom's golden age was 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. At the end of the 2nd century A.D., King Sauromates II inflicted a critical defeat on the Scythians and expanded his state to include the entire Crimea. It was the longest surviving Roman client kingdom, lasting until it was overrun by the Huns c. 375 A.D.
GB92205. Bronze 2 denarii, MacDonald 599, Anokhin 697, SNG Stancomb 1015, SNG BM -, aVF, weight 7.325 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 0o, Pantikapaion (Kerch, Crimea) mint, 2nd issue, middle reign, c. 234/235 - 238/239 A.D.; obverse BACIΛEWC ININΘIMEOY, diademed, draped bust of Ininthimeus right (on left) vis-a-vis bust of Aphrodite Apatura left, wearing veil and kalathos (or stephane?); reverse Aphrodite seated left on throne, wearing crown, phiale in left hand, apple in right hand, B - X (mark of value) divided across field; ex Münzhandlung Ritter; SOLD


Kingdom of Bosporus, Rheskuporis IV, 242 - 276 A.D.

|Bosporan| |Kingdom|, |Kingdom| |of| |Bosporus,| |Rheskuporis| |IV,| |242| |-| |276| |A.D.||stater|
SH80244. Billon stater, BMC Pontus p. 76, 5 (Rheskuporis V), gVF, weight 7.117 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Pantikapaion (Kerch, Crimea) mint, obverse BACIΛEWC PHC KOYΠOPI∆OC, diademed bust of Rheskuporis right, trident head before; reverse AΣΦ, laureate and draped bust of Gallienus right, club before; dark toning; SOLD


Kings of Bosporos, Cotys I with Claudius and Agrippina II, 45 - 69 A.D.

|Bosporan| |Kingdom|, |Kings| |of| |Bosporos,| |Cotys| |I| |with| |Claudius| |and| |Agrippina| |II,| |45| |-| |69| |A.D.||12| |nummi|
According to Pliny the Elder, Agrippina was a beautiful and reputable woman. Many ancient historians, however, accuse Agrippina of poisoning Claudius and described her as ruthless, ambitious, violent, and domineering.
RP84697. Bronze 12 nummi, RPC I 1924, MacDonald 325 326, BMC Pontus 6, SNG Mün 3, SNG Cop -, Anokhin 152, 344 and pl. 13, aF, porous, weight 5.527 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 0o, Nikomedia(?) mint, c. 50 - 54 A.D.; obverse TI KΛAV∆IOY - KAICAPOC, laureate head of Claudius right, IB (mark of value) below; reverse IOYΛIAN AΓPIΠΠINAN KAICAPOC, head of Agrippina Junior left, hair falling down back of neck in a plait, BAK monogram before; rare; SOLD


Kingdom of Bosporus, King Rhoemetalces, c. 133 - 154 A.D.

|Bosporan| |Kingdom|, |Kingdom| |of| |Bosporus,| |King| |Rhoemetalces,| |c.| |133| |-| |154| |A.D.||48| |nummi|
Obverse countermarked with laureate bust of Septimius Severus right, in irregular punch, 7 x 8.5 mm, Howgego 63 (85 pcs). The countermark was applied to equate older coins with coins issued during Septimius Severus' reign, coins which bore Severus' head as part of the type.
GB23179. Bronze 48 nummi, SGICV 5469 var. (club), VF, weight 10.500 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 0o, c. 117 - 123 A.D.; obverse BACIΛWC POIMHTAΛKOY, diademed and draped bust right, club behind, trident before; reverse MH (= 48 nummi) within wreath; SOLD


Kingdom of Bosporus, Rhoemetalces, c. 131 - 154 A.D.

|Bosporan| |Kingdom|, |Kingdom| |of| |Bosporus,| |Rhoemetalces,| |c.| |131| |-| |154| |A.D.||48| |nummi|
Rhoemetalces, the Roman Client King of the Bosporan Kingdom, was the son and heir King Cotys II. He was of Greek, Iranian and Roman ancestry. His father named him in honor of his ancestor, King Rhoemetalces I from the Odrysian Kingdom of Thrace. During the reign of Antoninus Pius, Rhoemetalces traveled to Rome for a hearing of a dispute with the imperial commissioner. The nature of the dispute is unknown, but after the hearing concluded, the emperor sent Rhoemetalces back to the Bosporan.
GB65897. Bronze 48 nummi, Anokhin 519; SNG Stancomb 989; SNG Cop 58; MacDonald Bosporus 454/2; BMC Thrace, p.64, 9; SGICV 5469, VF, rough, corrosion, weight 5.288 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 45o, obverse BACIΛWC POIMHTAΛKOY, diademed and draped bust right, trident before; reverse MH (48 nummi) within laurel wreath; SOLD


Kingdom of Bosporos, Mithradates III, c. 39 - 45 A.D.

|Bosporan| |Kingdom|, |Kingdom| |of| |Bosporos,| |Mithradates| |III,| |c.| |39| |-| |45| |A.D.||AE| |24|
GB41251. Bronze AE 24, RPC I 1910, SNG Cop 28, VF, glossy green patina, weight 7.941 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 0o, obverse BACIΛEΩC MIΘPA∆ATOY, diademed head right; reverse bow in quiver, lion-skin on club and trident, IB below; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES

Anokhin, V. Monetnoye delo Bospora (The Coinage of the Bosporus). (Kiev, 1986).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry & P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (1992 and supplement).
Frolova, N. The Coinage of the Kingdom of Bosporus AD 69 - 238. BAR International Series 56. (Oxford, 1979).
Lindgren, H & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coinage of Asia Minor and the Levant. (San Mateo, 1985).
Lindgren, H. Lindgren III: Ancient Greek Bronze Coins from the Lindgren Collection. (1993).
MacDonald, D. An Introduction to the History and Coinage of the Kingdom of the Bosporus, Classical Numismatic Studies 5. (Lancaster, 2005).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 4: Bosporus - Lesbos. (New Jersey, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume IX, British Museum, Part 1: The Black Sea. (London, 1993).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume XI, The William Stancomb Collection of Coins of the Black Sea Region. (Oxford, 2000).
Wroth, W. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Pontus, Paphlagonia, Bithynia. (London, 1889).
Zograph, A. Ancient Coinage, Part II, Ancient Coins of the Northern Black Sea Littoral. (Oxford, 1977).

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