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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Persia & Mesopotamia||View 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.

Parthian Empire, Phraates III, c. 70 - 57 B.C.

|Parthian| |Empire|, |Parthian| |Empire,| |Phraates| |III,| |c.| |70| |-| |57| |B.C.|, |drachm|
When Phraates III came to the throne, the Roman general Lucullus was preparing to attack Tigranes the Great, king of Armenia. Since Tigranes had wrested Mesopotamia and several vassal states from Parthia, Phraates declined to assist Tigranes and, in 65 B.C., Phraates III allied with Pompey against Tigranes. As a reward, Rome returned Mesopotamia to Parthia. Pompey soon disregarded the treaty, returned Tigranes to his throne, took the vassal states Gordyene and Osroene for Rome, and denied Phraates III the title of "king of kings." About 57 B.C., Phraates III was murdered by his two sons, Orodes II and Mithridates III.
GS96067. Silver drachm, Sunrise 326; BMC Parthia p. 56, 2 (unknown king); Sellwood 35 var. (Darius?); Shore -; Mitchiner ACW -, VF, nice portrait, toned, centered on a tight flan, scratches, marks, weight 3.397 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, c. 62 B.C.; obverse diademed, draped, bearded bust facing, short beard, wearing necklace with central medallion; reverse archer (Arsakes I) seated right on throne, wearing bashlyk and cloak, bow in right hand, AΓ monogram below bow; squared six-line Greek inscription BAΣIΛEΩΣ / MEΓAΛOY above, APΣAKOY on right, ΘEOΠATOPOΣ / EYEPΓETOY below, EΠIΦANOYΣ / ΦIΛEΛΛHNOΣ on left; from the Robert| L3 Collection; Stack's Bowers Baltimore Auction 159 (2 Apr 2011), lot 10036; rare; $1350.00 SALE |PRICE| $1215.00
 


Parthian Empire, Vologases V, c. 191 - 208 A.D.

|Parthian| |Empire|, |Parthian| |Empire,| |Vologases| |V,| |c.| |191| |-| |208| |A.D.|, |drachm|
Vologases V supported Pescennius Niger in the Roman Empire's civil war. After defeating Niger, Septimius Severus marched his legions into Babylonia in 198 A.D. While he achieved some success, Severus was forced to withdraw his forces from Parthia.
GS96065. Silver drachm, Sellwood 86.3; Shore 448; Sunrise 455; BMC Parthia p. 239, 17, EF, toned, flow lines, die wear, marks, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 3.727 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, c. 191 - 208 A.D.; obverse diademed and draped bust facing, oval bunches of hair at sides and on top of head, vertical lines divide the top bunch of hair into thirds, long pointed beard engraved with straight lines; reverse archer seated right, blundered Aramaic and Greek legend forming square around, AT monogram (Ecbatana mintmark) under bow; from the Robert| L3 Collection; ex Ponterio & Associates, C.I.C.F. auction 146 (25 Apr 2008), lot 1310; first specimen of this type handled by FORVM; rare; $900.00 SALE |PRICE| $810.00
 


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

|Kingdom| |of| |Persis|, |Kingdom| |of| |Persis,| |Darios| |(Darev)| |II,| |1st| |Century| |B.C.|, |drachm|
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.
SH92774. Silver drachm, Sunrise 590, Klose-Müseler 4/4, Alram 564, Tyler-Smith -, VF, well centered and struck on a tight flan, light toning, weight 4.027 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 315o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, 1st century B.C.; obverse bearded bust left, wearing diadem and Parthian-style tiara with three rows of pellets surrounding crescent; reverse Aramaic inscription: King Darev son of King Vadfradad, king on right, standing left, holding scepter, facing altar on left; ex Harlan J. Berk; $250.00 SALE |PRICE| $225.00
 


Kingdom of Elymais, Uncertain King (Kamnaskires VI?), c. 1st Century A.D.

|Kingdom| |of| |Elymais|, |Kingdom| |of| |Elymais,| |Uncertain| |King| |(Kamnaskires| |VI?),| |c.| |1st| |Century| |A.D.|, |tetradrachm|
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; $220.00 SALE |PRICE| $198.00
 


Parthian Empire, Orodes II, 57 - 38 B.C.

|Parthian| |Empire|, |Parthian| |Empire,| |Orodes| |II,| |57| |-| |38| |B.C.|, |drachm|
The severed head of the Roman general Crassus was presented to Orodes II during a performance of Euripides' tragedy, The Bacchae. It was used as a prop, carried by one of the actors in the play. In Rome it was said the Parthians poured molten gold into his mouth as a symbol of his thirst for wealth.
GS89569. Silver drachm, Sellwood 47.5, Shore 239, Sunrise -, VF, toned, nice portrait, reverse off center, weight 3.935 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, obverse diademed and draped bust left with short beard, top of head flat, torque ending with pellet, no wart, wavy hair covering ear, star upper left, crescent horns up upper right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / BAΣIΛEΩN − APΣAKOY − EYEPΓET / ∆IKAIOY − EΠIΦANOYΣ / ΦIΛEΛΛHNOΣ squared legend around, beardless archer (Arsakes I) seated right on throne, wearing bashlyk and cloak, bow in extended right hand, K (mintmark) below bow, squared seven-line legend around; ex Ancient Imports (Marc Breitsprecher); ex Michigan State Numismatic Society Auction (Nov 1998), part of the Parthian Collection lot; first specimen of this type handled by FORVM; $125.00 SALE |PRICE| $113.00
 


Kingdom of Elymais, Orodes V, Late 2nd - Early 3rd Century A.D.

|Kingdom| |of| |Elymais|, |Kingdom| |of| |Elymais,| |Orodes| |V,| |Late| |2nd| |-| |Early| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.|, |drachm|
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.
WA93630. Bronze drachm, cf. vant Haaff 18.1-2A, Alram IP 490, Sunrise 491, VF, brown tone, buff earthen deposits, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 2.498 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 0o, obverse diademed and draped bust left, long beard, tuft of hair on top; reverse draped bust of Artemis left, wearing low tiara with crest of dots, earring and necklace; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $120.00 SALE |PRICE| $108.00
 


Parthian Empire, Mithradates II, c. 121 - 91 B.C.

|Parthian| |Empire|, |Parthian| |Empire,| |Mithradates| |II,| |c.| |121| |-| |91| |B.C.|, |dichalkon|
Mithradates II was the eighth and one of the greatest Parthian kings. He defeated all Seleukid attempts to reclaim their Eastern territories and made Parthia a formidable, unified empire. He adopted the title Epiphanes, "god manifest" and introduced new designs on his extensive coinage. Late in his reign he exerted influence in Armenia, taking as hostage a prince who would become Tigranes the Great. -- www.parthia.com
GB93777. Bronze dichalkon, Sellwood 24.39; Shore 489; BMC Parthia p. 29, 52; Sunrise -; Mitchiner ACW -, F/aF, weight 4.408 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rhagae (Ray, part of Tehran, Iran) mint, c. 119 - 109 B.C.; obverse diademed, cuirassed, bearded bust left, monogram behind; reverse squared legend with guidelines from lower left: BAΣIΛEΩΣ MEΓAΛOY APΣAKOY EΠIΦANOY, head and neck of horse right; from the Errett Bishop Collection, first specimen of this type handled by FORVM; rare; $100.00 SALE |PRICE| $90.00
 


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

|Mesopotamia| |&| |Babylonia|, |Kingdom| |of| |Edessa,| |Mesopotamia,| |Abgar| |X| |with| |Gordian| |III,| |242| |-| |243| |A.D.|, |AE| |24|
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; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00
 


Kingdom of Persis, Nambed (Namopat), 1st Century A.D.

|Kingdom| |of| |Persis|, |Kingdom| |of| |Persis,| |Nambed| |(Namopat),| |1st| |Century| |A.D.|, |hemidrachm|
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.
GS89568. Silver hemidrachm, cf. Alram IP 601; Sunrise 625; BMC Arabia p. 226, 6; Tyler-Smith -, VF, toned, a little rough, weight 1.119 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 180o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, 1st century A.D.; obverse bearded bust left, wearing Persepolitan crown with stepped battlements, diadem, torque and robe; reverse king standing right, holding scepter, before him, star and crescent with horns left, blundered inscription around; ex Ancient Imports (Marc Breitsprecher); $60.00 SALE |PRICE| $54.00
 


Parthian Empire, Mithradates II, c. 121 - 91 B.C.

|Parthian| |Empire|, |Parthian| |Empire,| |Mithradates| |II,| |c.| |121| |-| |91| |B.C.|, |dichalkon|
Mithradates II was the eighth and one of the greatest Parthian kings. He defeated all Seleukid attempts to reclaim their Eastern territories and made Parthia a formidable, unified empire. He adopted the title Epiphanes, "god manifest" and introduced new designs on his extensive coinage. Late in his reign he exerted influence in Armenia, taking as hostage a prince who would become Tigranes the Great. -- www.parthia.com
GB93623. Bronze dichalkon, Sellwood 27.10; Shore 496; BMC Parthia p. 32, 83 ff.; Sunrise -; Mitchiner ACW -, F, centered on a tight flan, porous/rough, weight 3.026 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rhagae (Ray, part of Tehran, Iran) mint, c. 109 - 95 B.C.; obverse diademed and cuirassed bust left with long pointed beard, MI over monogram behind (off flan); reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ above, BAΣIΛEΩN downward on right, APΣAKOY / EΠIΦANOYΣ downward on left, MAΓAΛOY upside down below, head and neck of horse right; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $60.00 SALE |PRICE| $54.00
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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