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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 (617.50)


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 (190.00)


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 (114.00)


Parthian Empire, Phraates IV, c. 38 - 2 B.C.

|Parthian| |Empire|, |Parthian| |Empire,| |Phraates| |IV,| |c.| |38| |-| |2| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Soon after Phraates IV was designated the successor to the throne, he murdered his father and all of his thirty brothers. In 36 B.C. he was defeated by Mark Antony and lost most of his army, however, Antony had to abandon his conquests to fight Octavian. Tiridates temporarily usurped the throne in 32 B.C., but Phraates soon defeated him. In 20 B.C., Phraates made peace with Rome. He returned the prisoners and eagles taken from Crassus and Armenia was recognized as a Roman dependency. Augustus gave Phraates an Italian concubine, Musa, whom he made his favored wife. She persuaded him to designate their son Phraataces as his successor and to send his other sons to Rome as hostages. With all rivals out of the way, Musa and Phraataces poisoned the king and took the throne as co-rulers.
GS96025. Silver tetradrachm, cf. Sellwood 51, Cohen DCA 611, Shore 272, Sunrise 388, SNG Cop - (various dates), aVF, toned, porous, scratches, weight 10.931 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia on the Tigris (south of Baghdad, Iraq) mint, c. 26 - 23 B.C.; obverse diademed bust left, wearing ornate robes, wart on forehead, long beard with flat end, hair in four formal rows, spiral neck torque ends in a horse forepart; reverse BACIΛEΩC / BACIΛEΩN − ΛPΣAKOY / EYEIΓETOY − ∆IKAIOY − EΠIΦΛNOYΣ / ΦIΛEΛΛHNOΣ in seven line square around, king enthroned right, wearing tunic and trousers, Tyche standing left before him, wearing kalathos, chiton and peplos, offering palm frond with right hand, cornucopia in left hand, tiny Seleukid Era year (ZΠC?) under seat of throne, uncertain Parthian month in exergue (mostly off flan); from the Errett Bishop Collection; $120.00 (114.00)


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 (114.00)


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 (114.00)


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

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Seleukos| |I| |Nikator,| |312| |-| |281| |B.C.,| |In| |the| |Name| |of| |Alexander| |the| |Great||drachm|NEW
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.
GY110048. Silver drachm, Houghton-Lorber I 97(3), Price 3360, Meydancikkale 2041, VF, toned, oval flan, scratches, weight 3.807 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 315o, Mesopotamia, Babylon (Hillah, Iraq) mint, c. 311 - 305 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus seated left on throne, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on right, anchor flukes up outer left, A inner left, M under throne; $110.00 (104.50)


Parthian Empire, Sinatrukes I, c. 93 - 69 B.C.

|Parthian| |Empire|, |Parthian| |Empire,| |Sinatrukes| |I,| |c.| |93| |-| |69| |B.C.||drachm|
"Sellwood type 33 coins were originally attributed to Sinatruces by Sellwood (1971) but revised to Gotarzes I by Sellwood (1980). Recent research shows the type likely does belong to Sinatruces. See the article on 'Recent Research on Attributions to Sinatruces' by Dr. G. R. Assar." -- https://www.parthia.com
GS96017. Silver drachm, Sunrise 302, Sellwood 33.4 (Gotarzes I), Shore 113 (same), SNG Cop -, BMC Parthia -, aVF, broad flan, toned, scratches, weight 3.458 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rhagae (Ray, part of Tehran, Iran) mint, c. 93 - 69 B.C.; obverse long-bearded bust left, tiara with central horn ornament within three arches of pearls, crest of recumbent stags with heads upwards, ear flaps, diadem with two ends, ornate robe, spiral torc ends in small round knob; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ − MEΓAΛOY − APΣAKOY − ΘEOΠATPOY / NIKATOPOΣ, beardless archer, seated right on throne, bow in right bow, Greek legend inscription forming square, first three lines clockwise from above, the last two downward on left; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $100.00 (95.00) ON RESERVE


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 (85.50)


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 (76.00)




  



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REFERENCES|

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