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Ancient Coins of Syria

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

Click for a larger photoSeleucid KingdomSeleukid Kingdom, Seleucus I Nikator, 312 - 280 B.C.
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.
GS91686. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 117(1)c (notes ∆ control var. from Hersh coll.), Newell ESM 4 (∆I), HGC 9 12i, VF/aF, superb sculptural high-relief head of Herakles, bumps and scratches, burnishing on reverse, weight 16.805 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 45o, Seleucia I mint, c. 300 - 296 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse Zeus on throne, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, monogram in left field, ∆ (∆I variant) under throne, ΣEΛEYKOY downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; very rare control variant; $300.00 (€270.00)
Seleucid KingdomSeleukid Kingdom, Seleucus I Nikator, 312 - 280 B.C.  Seleucid KingdomSeleukid Kingdom, Seleucus I Nikator, 312 - 280 B.C.


Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 5 - 4 B.C., Legate P. Quinctilius Varus

Click for a larger photoRoman SyriaAntioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 5 - 4 B.C., Legate P. Quinctilius Varus
Publius Quinctilius Varus was a Roman general and politician under Augustus. From 7 or 6 B.C. until 4 B.C. he governed Syria where he was known for harsh rule and high taxes. Josephus mentions the swift action of Varus in 4 B.C., against a revolt in Judaea following the death of Herod the Great. Varus occupied Jerusalem and crucified 2000 rebels. Varus is most infamous for losing three Roman legions in an ambush by Germanic tribes led by Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, at which point he took his own life. Upon hearing the news, Augustus tore his clothes, refused to cut his hair for months and, for years afterward, was heard, upon occasion, to moan, "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my Legions!" (Quintili Vare, legiones redde!).
RY94450. Bronze trichalkon, McAlee 87; Butcher 50c; RPC I 4252; SNG Cop 92; SNG München 640; BMC Galatia p. 159, 59; Cohen DCA 402 (S), VF/F, dark green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, porous, scratches, slightly off center, weight 8.671 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, legate P. Quinctilius Varus, 5 - 4 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse ANTIOXEΩ EΠI OVAPOV, Tyche of Antioch seated right on rocks, turreted, wearing chiton and peplos, palm frond in her right hand, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right below, his head turned facing, ZK (Actian Era year 27) in the right field; scarce; $250.00 (€225.00)
Roman SyriaAntioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 5 - 4 B.C., Legate P. Quinctilius Varus  Roman SyriaAntioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 5 - 4 B.C., Legate P. Quinctilius Varus


Philip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria

Click for a larger photoRoman SyriaPhilip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria
Zeugma was founded by Seleucus I Nicator who almost certainly named the city Seleucia after himself. In 64 B.C. the city was conquered by Rome and renamed Zeugma, meaning "bridge of boats." On the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China, Zeugma had a pontoon bridge across the Euphrates, which was the long time border with the Persian Empire. The Legio IV Scythica was camped in Zeugma. The legion and the trade station brought great wealth to Zeugma until, in 256, Zeugma was fully destroyed by the Sassanid king, Shapur I. An earthquake then buried the city beneath rubble. The city never regained its earlier prosperity and, after Arab raids in the 5th and 6th centuries, it was abandoned again.
SL89808. Bronze AE 27, Butcher 31c; SNG Cop 35; BMC Galatia p. 128, 35; SGICV 4142, NGC Ch VF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (4094544-007), weight 15.63 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 0o, Zeugma (Belkis, Turkey) mint, 247 - 249 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ZEYΓMATEΩN, tetrastyle temple with peribolos enclosing the sacred grove of trees, below Capricorn right; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins; $225.00 (€202.50)
Roman SyriaPhilip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria  Roman SyriaPhilip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria


Gadara, Decapolis, 64 - 63 B.C.

Click for a larger photoDecapolis, Arabia & SyriaGadara, Decapolis, 64 - 63 B.C.
This type and another similar anonymous year one of Rome type, have traditionally been attributed to Gadara. In 64/3 BC Roman troops under Pompey "liberated" the Greek cities conquered by the Judaean king Alexander Jannaeus. Pompey personally supervised reconstruction in Gadara. Commemorating these events, Gadara established the year 64/3 B.C. as the beginning of a new Pompeian era, replacing the previous Seleukid era. Hoover says the attribution to Gadara is in error; that the fabric and style suggest a mint in southern Syria. For now, at least, we retain the traditional attribution.
RP91034. Bronze AE 23, Meshorer City-Coins 217, Spijkerman 1, Rosenberg IV 1, HGC 10 381 (S), RPC I -, aVF, weight 11.043 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, Gadara (Um Qais, Jordan) mint, 64 - 63 B.C.; obverse bust of Herakles left, draped with lion's skin, club on left shoulder, anepigraphic; reverse galley ram right, L A / PΩMHS (year 1 of Rome [Pompeian Era]) in two lines above, all within wreath; rare; $225.00 (€202.50)
Decapolis, Arabia & SyriaGadara, Decapolis, 64 - 63 B.C.  Decapolis, Arabia & SyriaGadara, Decapolis, 64 - 63 B.C.


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Euergetes Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.

Click for a larger photoSeleucid KingdomSeleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Euergetes Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.
Oliver Hoover, in Coins of the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton, attributes this type to the Cappadocian Kingdom, c. 130 - 80 B.C. The symbols were used on Cappadocian royal coinage, the coins are found in Cappadocian hoards and a tetradrachm naming the Cappadocian King Ariarathes VII Philometor (116 - 99 B.C.) bears the obverse portrait of Antiochus VII. He notes they may have been struck to pay foreign (Syrian?) mercenaries who preferred the types of Antiochus VII.
GS87618. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2061.1s, Newell SMA 280, SNG Spaer 1852, HGC 9 1067d, VF, well centered on a broad flan, light bumps and marks, small spots of light corrosion on the obverse, weight 16.109 g, maximum diameter 31.7 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 138 - 129 B.C.; obverse diademed head of the Seleukid King Antiochos VII right, fillet border; reverse Athena standing slightly left, head left, right hand extended through inscription to border holding Nike, grounded shield in left hand, spear leaning on left arm, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY in two downward lines on right, EYEPΓETOY downward on left, ligate ∆I over Λ outer left, laurel wreath border; $200.00 (€180.00)
Seleucid KingdomSeleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Euergetes Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.   Seleucid KingdomSeleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Euergetes Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.


Seleukid Kingdom, Achaios, Usurper in Anatolia, 220 - 214 B.C.

Click for a larger photoSeleucid KingdomSeleukid Kingdom, Achaios, Usurper in Anatolia, 220 - 214 B.C.
Achaios (Achaeus) was an uncle of Antiochos III. In 223 B.C., Antiochus III appointed Achaeus to the command of Anatolia on the western side of Mount Taurus. Achaeus recovered all the districts which had been lost; but was falsely accused by Hermeias, the minister to Antiochus, of intending to revolt. In self-defense he assumed the title of king. Antiochus marched against Achaeus after he concluded the war with Ptolemy. After a two-year siege of his capital of Sardes, Lydia, Achaios was captured and beheaded.
GY89996. Bronze AE 17, Houghton-Lorber I 956 corr. (unlisted control symbol), SNG Spaer 834 var. (same), Newell WSM 1442 var. (same), HGC 9 436 (S-R1), VF, green and garnet patina, off center, light deposits, tiny edge split, weight 3.260 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 0o, Lydia, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 220 - autumn/winter 214 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair in formal (corkscrew) curls; reverse eagle standing right, head right, wings closed, wreath in talons, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, AXAIOY downward on left, A (control symbol) outer right; apparently unpublished and only two sales recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; very rare; $180.00 (€162.00)
Seleucid KingdomSeleukid Kingdom, Achaios, Usurper in Anatolia, 220 - 214 B.C.  Seleucid KingdomSeleukid Kingdom, Achaios, Usurper in Anatolia, 220 - 214 B.C.


Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Abila, Decapolis

Click for a larger photoDecapolis, Arabia & SyriaLucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Abila, Decapolis
Abila in the Decapolis, also known for a time as Seleucia, and ancient Raphana, is now called Quwaylibah, a site occupied by two tells (Tell al-Abila and Tell Umm al-Amad). Tell in Arabic means only "hill." The archaeological connotation of "hill of accumulated debris" in this case does not apply. The city was built over two natural hills on the left bank of Wadi ("valley") Qweilibeh, which is, in fact, delineated by hills and escarpments. The largest site is located amidst verdant agricultural fields near the modern Ain Quweilbeh spring. Roman temples, Byzantine churches and early mosques lie amidst olive groves and wheat fields.
RP91008. Bronze AE 24, RPC IV online T6512 (3 spec.), Sofaer 10, Rosenberger IV 9, Spijkerman 9, SNG ANS -, VF, well centered, tight flan, earthen deposits, scratches, weight 9.675 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 45o, Abila in Decapolis (Quwaylibah, Jordan) mint, 162 - 163 A.D.; obverse AYT KAICAP Λ AYPOYHPΩC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse CE ABIΛHNW-N I A A I KOI CY (of the people of Seleucia Abila in Coele-Syria), nude Herakles seated left on rocks, right hand resting on grounded club, left hand on rocks behind, ϖKC (year 226) in exergue; rare; $150.00 (€135.00)
Decapolis, Arabia & SyriaLucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Abila, Decapolis  Decapolis, Arabia & SyriaLucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Abila, Decapolis


Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Abila, Decapolis

Click for a larger photoDecapolis, Arabia & SyriaLucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Abila, Decapolis
Abila in the Decapolis, also known for a time as Seleucia, and ancient Raphana, is now called Quwaylibah, a site occupied by two tells (Tell al-Abila and Tell Umm al-Amad). Tell in Arabic means only "hill." The archaeological connotation of "hill of accumulated debris" in this case does not apply. The city was built over two natural hills on the left bank of Wadi ("valley") Qweilibeh, which is, in fact, delineated by hills and escarpments. The largest site is located amidst verdant agricultural fields near the modern Ain Quweilbeh spring. Roman temples, Byzantine churches and early mosques lie amidst olive groves and wheat fields.
RP91009. Bronze AE 24, RPC IV online T6512 (3 spec.), Sofaer 10, Rosenberger IV 9, Spijkerman 9, SNG ANS -, VF, well centered on tight flan, sage green patina, earthen deposits, weight 11.291 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, Abila in Decapolis (Quwaylibah, Jordan) mint, 162 - 163 A.D.; obverse AYT KAICAP Λ AYPOYHPΩC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse CE ABIΛHNW-N I A A I KOI CY (of the people of Seleucia Abila in Coele-Syria), nude Herakles seated left on rocks, right hand resting on grounded club, left hand on rocks behind, ϖKC (year 226) in exergue; rare; $150.00 (€135.00)
Decapolis, Arabia & SyriaLucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Abila, Decapolis  Decapolis, Arabia & SyriaLucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Abila, Decapolis


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos I Nikator, 312 - 281 B.C.

Click for a larger photoSeleucid KingdomSeleukid Kingdom, Seleukos I Nikator, 312 - 281 B.C.
Seleucia on the Tigris was founded by Seleucus I Nicator either when he visited Babylonia in the second half of 309 or sometime between 304 and 301 B.C. It was explictly designated as the capital of the empire. The city was opposite the ancient city of Opis at the confluence of the river Tigris and the Royal Canal, which connected the new city to the Euphrates. The ruins have been identified at Tell Umar, about 30 km south of Baghdad, and 60 north of Babylon. Excavations have shown that the city was built according to a gridiron plan. As it was a Seleucid city, there will have been the usual, straight main street, perhaps decorated with colonnades. The agora has not yet been identified. The theater may have been on the southern edge of the city.
GY86790. Silver drachm, Houghton-Lorber I 140(1) var. (Θ in ex.), 140(2) var. (monogram under throne); HGC 9 29g (R1), F, bumps, scratches, scrape on obverse, tight flan, anchor weakly struck, weight 4.008 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 135o, 2nd workshop, Seleukeia on the Tigris mint, c. 296/5 - 281 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean lion-skin headdress; reverse Zeus seated left on throne without back, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, anchor flukes up outer left, ΣEΛEYKOY downward on right, ∆ (primary control) under throne, tiny Θ (secondary control) inner left below arm and above knee; $120.00 (€108.00)
Seleucid KingdomSeleukid Kingdom, Seleukos I Nikator, 312 - 281 B.C.  Seleucid KingdomSeleukid Kingdom, Seleukos I Nikator, 312 - 281 B.C.


Kingdom of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C.

Click for a larger photoKingdom of ChalkisKingdom of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C.
Ptolemaios son of Mennaios (also known as Ptolemy I), an Ituraean Arab dynast, established the Kingdom of Chalkis, c. 85 B.C., during the collapse of the Seleukid Empire. The kingdom, with its capitol at Chalcis sub Libano at the foot of Antilibanus, included Heliopolis, the valley of the Marsyas, and the mountainous region of Ituraea. In 64 B.C., he bribed Pompey the Great to forgo annexing his kingdom into the new Roman province of Syria and to allow him to continue ruling his territory as Tetrarch. Ptolemaios was succeeded by his son Lysanias, who was put to death by Marc Antony for supporting Mattathias Antigonus over Herod the Great. Antony gave the tiny kingdom of Chalkis to Cleopatra as a gift.
GB88239. Bronze AE 20, Herman 9.a (same countermark), Lindgren III 1232 (same countermark), HGC 9 1445 (R1), SNG Cop -, SNG München -, BMC Galatia -, aF, well centered, bumps and marks, corrosion, rough, weight 4.162 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis ad Libanon mint, 85 - 40 B.C.; obverse bust of Athena right, draped, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; countermark: male head right in round punch; reverse Dioskouroi standing facing each other, each holding a spear; monograms around; ex Forum (2000), ex Phil DeVicchi Collection; rare; $110.00 (€99.00)
Kingdom of ChalkisKingdom of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C.  Kingdom of ChalkisKingdom of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C.




  



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REFERENCES|

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Catalog current as of Wednesday, February 19, 2020.
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Syria