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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.

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


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleucus I Nikator, 312 - 280 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Seleucus| |I| |Nikator,| |312| |-| |280| |B.C.||obol|
Seleukos (Seleucus) founded the Seleukid Empire and the Seleukid dynasty which ruled Syria until Pompey made it a Roman province in 63 B.C. Seleukos was never one of Alexander the Great's principal generals but he commanded the royal bodyguard during the Indian campaign. In the division of the empire after Alexander's death Seleukos did not receive a satrapy. Instead, he served under the regent Perdikkas until the latter's murder in 321 or 320. Seleukos was then appointed satrap of Babylonia. Five years later Antigonus Monophthalmus (the One-eyed) forced him to flee, but he returned with support from Ptolemy. He later added Persia and Media to his territory and defeated both Antigonus and Lysimachus. He was succeeded by his son Antiochus I.
GS99758. Silver obol, Houghton-Lorber I 134.3; Newell ESM 60; HGC 9 61 (R3); BMC Seleucid p. 4, 42 var. (controls), SNG Spaer 137 var. (same), F, weight 0.541 g, maximum diameter 9.5 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia ad Tigris (Baghdad Governorate, Iraq) mint, c. 295 - 280 B.C.; obverse tripod lebes with dome cover, wreath draped on tops of handles; reverse anchor with flukes upward, ring at both ends, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ΣEΛEYKOY on left, monograms (controls) below flukes left and right; ex Jesus Vico auction 161 (21 Apr 2022), lot 160 (part of); very rare; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00


Kingdom of Persis, Pakor I, 1st Century A.D.

|Kingdom| |of| |Persis|, |Kingdom| |of| |Persis,| |Pakor| |I,| |1st| |Century| |A.D.||obol|
The early kings of Persis were tributaries to the Seleucid rulers, until c. 140 B.C., when the Parthians conquered the region, according to Strabo. The Parthian Empire then took control of Persis under Arsacid king Mithridates I (c. 171 - 138 B.C.), but visibly allowed local rulers to remain, and permitted the emission of coinage bearing the title of Mlk ("King"). The last King of Persis, Artaxerxes V, defeated the Parthians and founded the Sassanian Empire.
GS92196. Silver obol, Klose-Mseler 4/28; Sunrise 609; Alram IP 597 (Pakor II); Tyler-Smith 178 (Pakor II), BMC Arabia -, VF, very broad flan, toned, light marks, weight 0.980 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, 1st century A.D.; obverse bearded bust left, wearing diadem, thick wavy hair behind; reverse triskeles, uncertain Aramaic legend around, slightly concave; ex Marc Breitsprecher; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00


Parthian Empire, Pakoros I, c. 78 - 120 A.D.

|Parthian| |Empire|, |Parthian| |Empire,| |Pakoros| |I,| |c.| |78| |-| |120| |A.D.||drachm|
Traditionally this king has been called Pakoros II (or Pacorus II); however, the latest research indicates there was only one Parthian king named Pakoros. Beardless portraits on his earliest coins indicate Pakoros began his rule very young. After many years of civil war with many rivals, including Vologases II, Artabanus III and others, Pakoros eventually reclaimed the whole of the empire. According to Cassius Dio, he sold the kingdom of Osroene to Abgar VII, and according to Ammianus Marcellinus he enlarged the Parthian capital Ctesiphon and built its walls. He maintained close contact with the Dacian ruler Decebalus. In 101, Pacorus sent an embassy to the Han Dynasty of China. He disappeared from coinage around 105 A.D.

Although the reverse legend bears little resemblance to the original Greek, the barbaric letter forms and spellings on Pakoros I types are remarkably consistent.
GS96043. Silver drachm, Sellwood 78.3 (Vologases III), Shore 413 (Vologases III), BMC Parthia p. 187, 72 (Vologases I), SNG Cop 195 (Vologases I), Sunrise -, gVF, light toning, flow lines, oval flan, small edge split, weight 3.737 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, c. 95 - 120 A.D.; obverse diademed and draped bust left, long pointed beard, hoop earring visible, no wart, hair in three waves, three diadem bands and three diadem ends; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / BAΣIΛEΩN − APΣAKOY − ∆IXAIOY / EYEPΓETOY − EΠIΦANOYΣ / ΦIΛEΛΛHNOΣ (blundered), archer (Arsakes I) seated right, bow in extended right hand, cross under legs, (Ecbatana control monogram) below bow, squared seven-line blundered Greek legend around; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00 ON RESERVE


Parthian Empire, Vologases VI, 208 - 228 A.D.

|Parthian| |Empire|, |Parthian| |Empire,| |Vologases| |VI,| |208| |-| |228| |A.D.||drachm|
Soon after Vologases VI succeeded his father to the throne, his brother Artabanus V rebelled against him and became master of the greater part of the empire. Vologases VI retained a part of Babylonia. Meanwhile, in 224, Ardashir I, the founder of the Sassanid Empire, defeated and killed Artabanus V and conquered the eastern provinces. Over the following years, Ardashir I expanded his new empire, and must have defeated Vologases VI in 228 or 229.
GS96048. Silver drachm, Sellwood 88.18; Shore 455; BMC Parthia p. 243, 20 (Vologases V); Sunrise 459 var. (monogram variant); SNG Cop 246 var. (same, Vologases V), gVF, toned, flow lines, off center, weight 2.983 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, 208 - 228 A.D.; obverse bust left with long pointed beard extending past beaded border, wearing tiara with ear flaps, crest of dotted lines, dotted lines to left of line down side, abbreviated king's name in Aramaic lↄ (wz = Wlgy= Vologases) upper right; reverse archer (Arsakes I) seated right on throne, bow in extended right hand, cross under legs, (Ecbatana control monogram) below bow, squared five-line legend around, Aramaic Wlgy MLK' (King Vologases) at the top, the other four lines blundered Greek; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00


Kingdom of Persis, Napad (Kapat), 1st Century A.D.

|Kingdom| |of| |Persis|, |Kingdom| |of| |Persis,| |Napad| |(Kapat),| |1st| |Century| |A.D.||obol|
The early kings of Persis were tributaries to the Seleucid rulers, until c. 140 B.C., when the Parthians conquered the region, according to Strabo. The Parthian Empire then took control of Persis under Arsacid king Mithridates I (c. 171 - 138 B.C.), but visibly allowed local rulers to remain, and permitted the emission of coinage bearing the title of Mlk ("King"). The last King of Persis, Artaxerxes V, defeated the Parthians and founded the Sassanian Empire.
GS98454. Silver obol, Klose-Mseler 4/50a; Alram IP 614 var. (tiara ornaments); BMC Arabia 236, 31 var. (same); Sunrise 642 var. (same); Tyler-Smith 199 var. (same), Choice VF, dark toning, well centered, weight 0.440 g, maximum diameter 9.3 mm, die axis 45o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, 1st century A.D.; obverse bust of king wearing Parthian style tiara left, pellet within two rows of pellets, two ties; reverse diademed bust of king left, Aramaic legend around, all in a shallow round incuse; from the Michael Arslan Collection; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00


Kingdom of Persis, Pakor II, 1st Century A.D.

|Kingdom| |of| |Persis|, |Kingdom| |of| |Persis,| |Pakor| |II,| |1st| |Century| |A.D.||hemidrachm|
The early kings of Persis were tributaries to the Seleucid rulers, until c. 140 B.C., when the Parthians conquered the region, according to Strabo. The Parthian Empire then took control of Persis under Arsacid king Mithridates I (c. 171 - 138 B.C.), but visibly allowed local rulers to remain, and permitted the emission of coinage bearing the title of Mlk ("King"). The last King of Persis, Artaxerxes V, defeated the Parthians and founded the Sassanian Empire.
GS65715. Silver hemidrachm, Sunrise 617; Klose-Mseler 4/35; Alram IP 593 (Pakor I); Tyler-Smith 150 (Pakor I); BMC Arabia 230, 8 (Pakur), F, toned, scratches/scrapes, earthen deposits, edge splits/cracks, weight 1.389 g, maximum diameter 12.6 mm, die axis 0o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, 1st century A.D.; obverse bearded bust left, wearing diadem with 2 ties, torque and robe, wavy thick hair behind; reverse bearded bust left, wearing diadem, torque and robe, wavy thick hair behind, concave field; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00


Kingdom of Persis, Pakor II, 1st Century A.D.

|Kingdom| |of| |Persis|, |Kingdom| |of| |Persis,| |Pakor| |II,| |1st| |Century| |A.D.||obol|
The early kings of Persis were tributaries to the Seleucid rulers, until c. 140 B.C., when the Parthians conquered the region, according to Strabo. The Parthian Empire then took control of Persis under Arsacid king Mithridates I (c. 171 - 138 B.C.), but visibly allowed local rulers to remain, and permitted the emission of coinage bearing the title of Mlk ("King"). The last King of Persis, Artaxerxes V, defeated the Parthians and founded the Sassanian Empire.
GS65716. Silver obol, Sunrise 620; Klose-Mseler 4/33; Alram IP 594 (Pakor I); Tyler-Smith 163 (Pakor I); BMC Arabia 230, 11 (Pakur), gVF, dark toning, earthen deposits, edge cracks, weight 0.613 g, maximum diameter 12.8 mm, die axis 135o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, 1st century A.D.; obverse bearded bust left, wearing diadem, neck torque and cloak, no legend or symbols; reverse bearded bust left, wearing diadem, neck torque and cloak, no legend or symbols; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00


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

|Kingdom| |of| |Persis|, |Kingdom| |of| |Persis,| |Second| |Unknown| |King,| |AR| |Hemidrachm,| |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.
GS63317. Silver hemidrachm, cf. Sunrise 646; BMC Arabia, 238, 4; Alram IP 619 (pellet in crescent on tiara); Tyler-Smith 212 (tiara uncertain), aVF, toned, deposits, weight 1.219 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, die axis 0o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, 1st century A.D.; obverse bearded bust left, wearing diadem with 2-loop tie and Parthian-style tiara with 2 rows of pellets enclosing pellet, triskeles flanked by pellets behind bust; reverse diadem, two ties laid across center, uncertain Aramaic legend; $65.00 SALE PRICE $58.50


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

|Kingdom| |of| |Persis|, |Kingdom| |of| |Persis,| |Ardaxsir| |(Artaxerxes)| |II,| |1st| |Century| |B.C.| |AR| |Drachm||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.
GS65691. Silver drachm, Alram IP 570; Klose-Mseler 4/10b; Sunrise 598; BMC Arabia p. 222, 2; Tyler-Smith -, F, toned, edge beveled by hammering, edge cracks, edge chip, weight 3.228 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 270o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, 50 - 1 B.C.; obverse bust left, pointed beard, wearing Persepolitan crown with turrets, diadem with three ends, torque of three segments, and cloak, monogram behind; reverse king on right facing left, holding raised scepter in left hand before a lighted alter, Aramaic legend around.; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00




  



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REFERENCES|

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