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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Persia & MesopotamiaView Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of Persia and Mesopotamia

Also included on this page are coins minted under Persian rule in other regions of the Persian Empire.


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos I Nikator, 312 - 281 B.C., Babylonia, In the Name of Alexander the Great

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Price dates this type 311 - 305 B.C. Houghton dates it 311 - 300 B.C. Houghton notes that Kritt down-dated the chronology due to the complexity of the emissions and that two hoards independently support the revised dating.
GS87610. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Saroglos 648 (same dies), Houghton-Lorber I 82(4)b, Price 3752, Müller 735, SNG Mün 794 var. (no pellet), SNG Cop 833 var. (same), HGC 9 10f, VF, high relief dies, uneven toning, compact flan, bumps and marks, reverse slightly double struck, weight 16.584 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 45o, Babylon mint, 311 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress forelegs tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back, MI left, MYPT monogram (pellet in P) in wreath below throne, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) in exergue; $270.00 (€237.60)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Philip III Arrhidaeus and Alexander IV, 323 - 317 B.C.

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Struck in the name of King Philip III Arrhidaeus, Alexander the Great's half-brother, under the regent Perdikkas. Philip III and Alexander's infant son, Alexander IV, were made joint kings after Alexander's death. Philip was the bastard son of Philip II and a dancer, Philinna of Larissa. Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, allegedly poisoned her stepson Philip III as a child, leaving him mentally disabled, eliminating him as a rival to Alexander. Neither Philip III nor Alexander IV was capable of actual rule and both were selected only to serve as pawns. The regents held power, while Philip III was actually imprisoned. In 317, Philip was murdered by Olympias to ensure the succession of her grandson.
GS87632. Silver tetradrachm, Price P182, Müller Alexander P103, Demanhur 4601, SNG München 969, SNG Cop 1077, SNG Saroglos –, VF, high relief, centered on a tight flan, rose toning, scratches and marks, some porosity, weight 16.902 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 270o, Babylon mint, c. 323 - 317 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress, forelegs tied at neck; reverse Zeus seated left on throne, feet on footstool, right leg drawn back, eagle in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, ΦIΛIΠΠOY downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) in exergue (off flan), M left, B under seat above strut; struck under Archon, Dokimos, or Seleukos I; $260.00 (€228.80)
 


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

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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 Elymaïs, Persia, in 187 B.C.
GS87609. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 1167(1), Newell ESM 254, SNG von Post 576, VF/F, scratches and marks, pitting, corrosion, minor edge flaking, weight 15.471 g, maximum diameter 29.7 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukia on the Tigris (Bagdad, Iraq) mint, 204 - 187 B.C.; obverse Antiochos' diademed head right, middle aged portrait, horn-like lock of hair above ear; reverse Apollo naked seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on grounded bow behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on left, monogram in exergue; $215.00 (€189.20)
 


Kingdom of Edessa, Mesopotamia, Abgar X with Gordian III, 242 - 243 A.D.

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Abgar X Frahad bar Manu was raised to the throne when Gordian III recovered Mesopotamia from the Persians. His rule and the Kingdom of Edessa both ended with Gordian's assassination and a Sassanid takeover in 244 A.D.
GB88990. Bronze AE 24, BMC Arabia p. 115, 148; Babelon Edessa 97; cf. SNG Cop 225 (draped and cuirassed), SNG Hunterian 2579 (same), aVF, dark patina with red earthen highlighting, tight flan, porous, weight 9.952 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 0o, Mesopotamia, Edessa (Urfa, Sanliurfa, Turkey) mint, 242 - 243 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC CEB, laureate bust of Gordian III right, slight drapery on left shoulder, star lower right; reverse ABΓAPOC BACIΛEYC, draped bust of Abgar right, bearded, wearing a diademed Parthian-style tiara, star behind; ex Dmitry Markov Coins & Medals; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


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

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Antiochus IV took the name "Epiphanes," meaning "Select of God." His subjects made a pun on his name, calling him "Epimanes" or "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.
GY87389. Bronze AE 19, Houghton-Lorber II 1499e; BMC Seleucid p. 41, 74; Babelon 609; HGC 9 672 (R1-2), VF, mostly black patina, light deposits, porous, weight 6.058 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch on the Kallirhoe (Edessa; Urfa, Turkey) mint, c. 168 - 164 B.C.; obverse radiate and diademed head of Antiochos IV right; reverse Zeus standing left, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, ANTIOXEΩN downward on right, TΩN / EΠI KAΛΛIPOHI in two downward lines on left, CΩ (control) outer left; rare; $70.00 (€61.60)
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Edessa, Mesopotamia

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Even before 190 A.D. Christianity had spread vigorously within Edessa and its surroundings and that shortly after the royal house joined the church. Under Abgar IX (179–214) Christianity became the official religion of the kingdom. A Christian council was held at Edessa as early as 197. In 201 the city was devastated by a great flood, and the Christian church was destroyed. Many martyrs suffered at Edessa under Decius and Diocletian. Atillâtiâ, Bishop of Edessa, assisted at the First Council of Nicaea. The Peregrinatio Silviae (or Etheriae) gives an account of the many sanctuaries at Edessa about 388.
RP91396. Bronze AE 26, cf. BMC Arabia p. 108, 112 (bust), SNG Cop 217 var. (bust), Babelon Edessa 75 (bust), aVF, well centered, light corrosion (removed PVC damage?), weight 10.648 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 180o, Mesopotamia, Edessa (Urfa, Sanliurfa, Turkey) mint, 232 - 235 A.D.; obverse AVT K M A CEV AΛEΞA∆POC CEB, laureate and draped bust right, seen from behind; reverse MHT KOΛ E∆ECCHNWN (Metropolis Colony of the Edessans), Tyche seated left on seat on rocks, wearing turreted crown, veil, mantle, and chiton, holding fruits in right hand, left hand resting on seat behind, half-figure of river-god swimming at her feet, flanked by star over small flaming altar both before and behind; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; scarce; $60.00 (€52.80)
 


Kingdom of Persis, Darios (Darev) II, 1st Century B.C.

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Persis was located in what is now southern Iran. "Persians" settled the area as early as the 8th century B.C. From the time after its conquest by Alexander the Great, Persis was most often quasi-independent, under the hegemony of a Seleukid or Parthian king. Immediately following Alexander's death, Persis was subject to the Seleucid Kingdom. About 290 B.C., Persis regained independence. The coins produced during this period were Greek-inspired, but inscriptions were Aramaic, symbolic of Persis' rejection of the Greek ruling class. Sometime between c. 250 and 223 B.C., the Seleucids regained control. Mithradates II later incorporated Persis as a sub-kingdom of Parthia. Under Parthian domination, the coins and appearance of the kings depicted on them assumed the Parthian style. The last King of Persis, Artaxerxes, defeated the Parthians and founded the Sassanian Empire.
GS65699. Silver hemidrachm, cf. Alram IP 565; Tyler-Smith 17; Sunrise 591; BMC Arabia p. 218, 16, F, toned, crude reverse, weight 1.778 g, maximum diameter 13.6 mm, die axis 90o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, 1st century B.C.; obverse bearded bust left, wearing diadem and Parthian-style tiara with one row of pellets and crescent; reverse king standing on right, standing left before altar on left, holding scepter; $50.00 (€44.00)
 


Kingdom of Persis, Second Unknown King, 1st Century A.D.

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Persis was located in what is now southern Iran. "Persians" settled the area as early as the 8th century B.C. From the time after its conquest by Alexander the Great, Persis was most often quasi-independent, under the hegemony of a Seleukid or Parthian king. Immediately following Alexander's death, Persis was subject to the Seleucid Kingdom. About 290 B.C., Persis regained independence. The coins produced during this period were Greek-inspired, but inscriptions were Aramaic, symbolic of Persis' rejection of the Greek ruling class. Sometime between c. 250 and 223 B.C., the Seleucids regained control. Mithradates II later incorporated Persis as a sub-kingdom of Parthia. Under Parthian domination, the coins and appearance of the kings depicted on them assumed the Parthian style. The last King of Persis, Artaxerxes, defeated the Parthians and founded the Sassanian Empire.
GS65707. Silver hemidrachm, cf. Tyler-Smith, type 1, 210 (with ties); Alram IP 619 var. (same); cf. Sunrise 649 (obol); BMC Arabia p. 238, 16 (same), VF, toned, tight flan, die wear, obverse center weak, light marks, porosity, weight 1.171 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 0o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, 1st century A.D.; obverse bearded bust left, wearing diadem with two-loop tie and Parthian-style tiara with two rows of pellets enclosing crescent and three pellets, no triskeles behind bust; reverse diadem without ties, blundered illiterate imitation of an Aramaic legend around; apparently unpublished as a hemidrachm; rare variety; $50.00 (€44.00)
 


Kingdom of Persis, Second Unknown King, 1st Century A.D.

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Persis was located in what is now southern Iran. "Persians" settled the area as early as the 8th century B.C. From the time after its conquest by Alexander the Great, Persis was most often quasi-independent, under the hegemony of a Seleukid or Parthian king. Immediately following Alexander's death, Persis was subject to the Seleucid Kingdom. About 290 B.C., Persis regained independence. The coins produced during this period were Greek-inspired, but inscriptions were Aramaic, symbolic of Persis' rejection of the Greek ruling class. Sometime between c. 250 and 223 B.C., the Seleucids regained control. Mithradates II later incorporated Persis as a sub-kingdom of Parthia. Under Parthian domination, the coins and appearance of the kings depicted on them assumed the Parthian style. The last King of Persis, Artaxerxes, defeated the Parthians and founded the Sassanian Empire.
GS63285. Silver diobol, BMC Arabia p. 227, 11; cf. Tyler-Smith, type 2, 220 -221 (obol); Alram IP 622 (obol); Sunrise 650 (obol), gVF, well centered, uneven toning, weight 1.077 g, maximum diameter 13.0 mm, die axis 45o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, End of 1st Century A.D.; obverse bearded, draped bust left, wearing turreted crown and diadem, hair with three rows of curls; reverse diadem, formally presented with two ties laid across center; $45.00 (€39.60)


Kingdom of Persis, Ardaxsir (Artaxerxes) II, 1st Century B.C.

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Persis was located in what is now southern Iran. "Persians" settled the area as early as the 8th century B.C. From the time after its conquest by Alexander the Great, Persis was most often quasi-independent, under the hegemony of a Seleukid or Parthian king. Immediately following Alexander's death, Persis was subject to the Seleucid Kingdom. About 290 B.C., Persis regained independence. The coins produced during this period were Greek-inspired, but inscriptions were Aramaic, symbolic of Persis' rejection of the Greek ruling class. Sometime between c. 250 and 223 B.C., the Seleucids regained control. Mithradates II later incorporated Persis as a sub-kingdom of Parthia. Under Parthian domination, the coins and appearance of the kings depicted on them assumed the Parthian style. The last King of Persis, Artaxerxes, defeated the Parthians and founded the Sassanian Empire.
GS65712. Silver hemidrachm, cf. Sunrise 600; Tyler-Smith 62; Alram IP 571; BMC Arabia p. 224, 14, VF, toned, dark encrustations, edge cracks, weight 1.872 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 270o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, 2nd half of 1st century B.C.; obverse bust left, pointed beard, wearing Persepolitan crown with turrets and diadem, torque and cloak, star above symbol, pellet border; reverse king on right facing left, holding raised scepter in left hand, symbols in front and behind, uncertain Aramaic legend around; $45.00 (€39.60)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Monday, July 15, 2019.
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Persia and Mesopotamia