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

Ancient Coins of Syria
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


Maximinus I Thrax, 20 March 235 - late May 238 A.D., Philadelphia, Cilicia Trachea

|Cilicia|, |Maximinus| |I| |Thrax,| |20| |March| |235| |-| |late| |May| |238| |A.D.,| |Philadelphia,| |Cilicia| |Trachea||AE| |34|
Philadelphia (Greek: brotherly love) in ancient Cilicia Trachea (later of Isauria) was on the river Calycadnus, above Aphrodisias. Its site is tentatively located near Imsi ren in Asiatic Turkey. Neither Philadelphia in Lydia (Alasehir, Turkey today) nor Philadelphia, in the Decapolis, later Arabia Petraea (Amman, Jordan today) struck coins for Maximinus Thrax.
RB98739. Bronze AE 34, SNG BnF 760, SNG Levante 580, SNGvA 5804, SNG Leypold 2580, Lindgren-Kovacs 786, RPC Online VI T6889, EF, dark patina, pitting, a little off center, weight 14.930 g, maximum diameter 34.1 mm, die axis 0o, Cilicia, Philadelphia (near Imsi ren, Turkey) mint, 20 Mar 235 - late May 238 A.D.; obverse AVT K Γ IOVH MAΞIMEINOC, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse ΦILALELFFEΩN KHTIΛOC, Tyche standing left, kalathos on head, grounded rudder in right hand held by tiller, cornucopia in left hand; from the CEB Collection, ex Edward J. Waddell, big 34mm!; $270.00 SALE PRICE $243.00


Volusian, c. November 251 - July or August 253 A.D.

|Antioch|, |Volusian,| |c.| |November| |251| |-| |July| |or| |August| |253| |A.D.||tetradrachm|
Gaius Vibius Afinius Gallus Vedumnianus Volusian was the son of Trebonianus Gallus and was given the rank of Caesar when his father became emperor. After emperor Hostilian was killed, he was raised to the rank of Augustus. He was assassinated along with his father in 253 A.D.
RY99417. Silver tetradrachm, RPC online IX 1795; McAlee 1187b; Prieur 695 (rare); SNG Hunterian 3125; BMC Galatia p. 230, 658; Dura 614, gVF, toned, tight flan, light corrosion/porosity, weight 10.901 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 1st issue, late 251 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K Γ AΦIN ΓAΛ OYEN∆ OYOΛOYCCIANOC CEB, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front, (2nd officina) below; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (holder of Tribunitian power), eagle standing slightly right on line, wings open, head left, wreath in beak, B (2nd officina) between legs, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; scarce; $135.00 SALE PRICE $122.00


Seleukid Kingdom, Alexander II Zabinas, 128 - 122 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |II| |Zabinas,| |128| |-| |122| |B.C.||unit|
Zabinas claimed to be an adoptive son of Antiochus VII, but may have been the son of an Egyptian merchant. He was used as a pawn by the Egyptian king Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (Physcon). Zabinas managed to defeat Demetrius II and thereafter ruled parts of Syria, but soon ran out of Egyptian support and was defeated by Demetrius' son Antiochus VIII Grypus. As a last resort, Zabinas plundered the temples of Antioch. He is said to have joked about melting down a statuette of the goddess of victory, Nike, which was held in the hand of a Zeus statue, saying "Zeus has given me Victory." Enraged by his impiety, the Antiochenes expelled Zabinas, who was captured and executed soon after. "Zabinas" is a derogatory name meaning "the bought one," implying he was Ptolemy's slave.
GY98892. Bronze unit, Houghton-Lorber II 2231(1)d var. (controls inner left), HGC 9 1162, aVF, highlighting earthen deposits, centered, shallow pit on rev., edge cracks, obv. edge beveled, weight 6.707 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 30o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 126 - 125 B.C.; obverse head of Alexander II right, wearing lion-scalp headdress; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Nike walking left, wreath extended in right hand, palm-branch over shoulder in left hand, over palm frond (controls) outer left; the only specimen known to FORVM with controls outer left vice inner left; very rare variant; $130.00 SALE PRICE $104.00


Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria, 128 - 129 A.D.

|Antioch|, |Antioch,| |Seleukis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria,| |128| |-| |129| |A.D.||trichalkon|
Michael Molnar, an astronomer, believes this coin depicts Jupiter's occultation of Aries in 6 B.C., the most probable "Star of Bethlehem." We think it is unlikely; nevertheless, the type is very popular and somewhat expensive.
GB90244. Bronze trichalkon, RPC Online III 3729, Butcher CRS 266, McAlee 125(d), SNG Hunterian II 2950, F, dark near black patina, highlighting red earthen deposits, weight 5.145 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, reign of Hadrian, 128 - 129 A.D.; obverse ANTIOXEΩN THC MHTPOΠOΛEWC, veiled and turreted head of Tyche right, weak countermark at chin; reverse ram leaping right, looking back, star within crescent above, ET ZOP (year 177 of the Caesarean Era) below; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


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

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |VI| |Dionysus,| |144| |-| |c.| |142| |B.C.||AE| |23|
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.
GY99029. Bronze serrated AE 23, Houghton-Lorber II 2006(c), SNG Spaer 1774, Houghton CSE 249, Babelon Rois 1011, SNG Cop 304 var. (control), HGC 9 1043 (C-S), aVF, attractive portrait, green patina, light earthen deposits, weight 8.086 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. mid-143 - 142 B.C.; obverse radiate head of Antiochos VI right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse elephant walking left holding torch in trunk, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two lines above, EΠIΦANOYΣ ∆IONYΣOY in two lines in exergue, ΣTA above star (controls) right; $110.00 SALE PRICE $88.00


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

|Antioch|, |Elagabalus,| |16| |May| |218| |-| |11| |March| |222| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria||tetradrachm|
From the Ray Nouri Collection.

This type is traditionally assigned to Antioch but McAlee identifies Laodicea as the most likely mint. McAlee notes, "After Septimius stripped Antioch of its privileges and conferred them on Laodicea-ad-Mare, some coins of Laodicea bear the legend 'Metropolis of the Four Provinces,' and others have a representation of four Tyches. The letters ∆ - E also regularly appear on the coins of Laodicea from the time of Elagabalus to that of Trebonianus Gallus." We attribute the type to Antioch, but clearly that is not certain.
RY94937. Billon tetradrachm, Bellinger Syria 42, SNG Cop 236, McAlee 758, Prieur 249 var. (both ties behind neck), Dura Coins -, F, toned, tight flan cutting off part of legends, reverse legend weak, weight 12.920 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 219 A.D.; obverse AVT K M A ANTWNEINOC CEB, laureate bust right, drapery on left shoulder, one wreath tie on neck; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC YΠ B (holder of Tribunitian power, consul for the second time), eagle standing facing, wings spread, head left, wreath in beak, ∆ - E (∆ EΠAPCEIΩN - of the four eparchies) flanking eagle's head, star between legs; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00


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


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 175 - 164 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |IV| |Epiphanes,| |175| |-| |164| |B.C.||AE| |36|
From the extraordinary "Egyptianizing" coinage of Antiochus IV, celebrating his triumph over the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt by using a reverse type strongly associated with the Lagid dynasty, an eagle perched on a thunderbolt.

The villain of Hanukkah. Antiochos IV assumed divine epithets, which no other Hellenistic king had done, such as Theos Epiphanes (God Manifest). His subjects made a pun on his name, calling him Epimanes (madman). In 168 B.C., Antiochus IV ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. The Temple in Jerusalem was seized and dedicated to Zeus. The Jews revolted and after three years of fighting, Judah Maccabee defeated the Seleukid army. Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, commemorates the rededication of the Temple in 165 B.C. According to the Talmud, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, enough time to prepare and consecrate fresh oil.
GY98882. Bronze AE 36, Houghton-Lorber II 1413; SNG Spaer 979; Newell SMA 59; BMC Seleucid p. 38, 42; Houghton CSE 118; Svoronos 1416; HGC 9 643 (S-R1), aF, rough, central cavities, obverse edge beveled, weight 32.540 g, maximum diameter 35.5 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, autumn 169 - autumn 168 B.C.; obverse laureate and diademed head of Serapis right, taenia diadem with Osiris cap at peak; reverse eagle standing right on thunderbolt, wings closed, head right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two downward lines on the right, ΘEOY EΠIΦANOYΣ in two downward lines on the left; big 36mm bronze!; scarce; $100.00 SALE PRICE $80.00


Seleukid Kingdom, Alexander II Zabinas, 128 - 122 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |II| |Zabinas,| |128| |-| |122| |B.C.||AE| |21|
Zabinas claimed to be an adoptive son of Antiochus VII, but may have been the son of an Egyptian merchant. He was used as a pawn by the Egyptian king Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (Physcon). Zabinas managed to defeat Demetrius II and thereafter ruled parts of Syria, but soon ran out of Egyptian support and was defeated by Demetrius' son Antiochus VIII Grypus. As a last resort, Zabinas plundered the temples of Antioch. He is said to have joked about melting down a statuette of the goddess of victory, Nike, which was held in the hand of a Zeus statue, saying "Zeus has given me Victory." Enraged by his impiety, the Antiochenes expelled Zabinas, who was captured and executed soon after. "Zabinas" is a derogatory name meaning "the bought one," implying he was Ptolemy's slave.
GY98887. Bronze AE 21, Houghton-Lorber II 2237(1)f, Babelon Rois 1309, SNG Spaer 2343, HGC 9 1164 (C-S), aVF, highlighting earthen deposits, reverse edge beveled, weight 8.254 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 45o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 125 - 122 B.C.; obverse radiate and diademed head of Zabinas right, one diadem end flying up behind, the other falling forward over shoulder; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, double cornucopia bound with fillet, A over star in inner left, Π in inner right; $100.00 SALE PRICE $80.00




  






REFERENCES|

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