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Parthian Empire

This page includes coins of the Parthian Empire and Roman coins that refer to Parthia.

Click here to read about Parthia in the Historia Numorum and Numiswiki.
Click here for the "Parthian Calendar" article in Numiswiki. 
Click here to go to Parthia.com the best Parthian Empire website.

Judean Kingdom, Mattathias Antigonus (Mattatayah), 40 - 37 B.C.

|Mattathias| |Antigonus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Mattathias| |Antigonus| |(Mattatayah),| |40| |-| |37| |B.C.||eight| |prutot|
This coin was "professionally cleaned and conserved" in Israel. Although it is beautiful, to the educated eye, the patina does not look natural. It is "enhanced" or "applied." Enhanced or applied patinas are not tragic. Coins with enhanced or applied patinas often sell for very high prices. We prefer a beautiful natural patina, but mother nature does not always comply. At Forum Ancient Coins, if we believe a patina has been enhanced or applied, we will include that in the coin's description.
JD97652. Bronze eight prutot, Meshorer TJC 36; Hendin 1162; Sofaer 418 ff; SNG ANS 183 ff.; BMC Palestine p. 212, 2 ff.; SNG Cop 64; HGC 10 646 (S), VF, enhanced/applied desert patina, reverse a little off center and weakly struck, weight 13.727 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Mattatayah the High Priest and Council of the Jews, around and between the horns of a double cornucopia; reverse BACIΛEΩC ANTIΓONOY (of King Antigonus), ivy wreath tied at the top with ribbons hanging down; from an Israeli collection; scarce; $270.00 SALE PRICE $243.00
 


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

|Lucius| |Verus|, |Lucius| |Verus,| |7| |March| |161| |-| |February| |169| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
In 165, the Parthians sued for peace after the Roman captured Artaxata, Seleucia on the Tigris, and Ctesiphon. The Parthians left Armenia and eastern Mesopotamia, which both became Roman protectorates. Unfortunately the Antonine plague (perhaps smallpox) came from the East with the returning soldiers. It spread throughout the Empire, lasted for roughly twenty years, and killed about 5 million people, probably including Lucius Verus.
RS97929. Silver denarius, Hunter II 25 (same dies), RIC III 548 var., RSC II 286 var., BMCRE IV 413 var., SRCV II 5358 var. (all var. laureate head right), aVF, well centered, flow lines, toned, holed with closed crack to edge, small punch above head, marks, small edge cracks, weight 2.996 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec 165 - Dec 166 A.D.; obverse L VERVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX, laureate and cuirassed bust left; reverse TR P VI IMP III COS II, Parthian captive seated right on ground, wearing pointed cap, tunic, and breeches to ankles, hands bound behind back, quiver, bow, and shield at his feet; zero sales of this left facing bust variety listed on Coin Archives in the last two decades; extremely rare bust; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00
 


Judean Kingdom, Mattathias Antigonus (Mattatayah), 40 - 37 B.C.

|Mattathias| |Antigonus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Mattathias| |Antigonus| |(Mattatayah),| |40| |-| |37| |B.C.||prutah|
Parthia took Judaea in 40 B.C. and made Mattathias Antigonus their vassal King. Antigonus bit off Hyrcanus II's ears to render him ineligible for High Priest and sent him to Babylon in chains. Herod fled to Rome but returned with Roman support and took Jerusalem in 37 B.C. Dio Cassius says Antigonus was crucified but most accounts say he was beheaded.

On this type the inscription is almost always retrograde. The Paleo-Hebrew inscription reads, in two retrograde lines, from left to right: MTT/(YH) (Mattatayah). On this coin the last two letter, the second line, is ligate (combined like a monogram). See Reading Judean Coins in NumisWiki.
JD97659. Bronze prutah, Meshorer TJC 40a, Sofaer Collection 444, HGC 10 649, Hendin 1164 var. (no ligature), SNG ANS 192 var. (same), BMC Palestine p. 219, 57 var. (same), F, highlighting earthen deposits, a little rough, reverse off center, weight 1.655 g, maximum diameter 12.6 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse retrograde Paleo-Hebrew inscription in two lines: MTT/(YH) = Mattatayah (last two letters ligate), surrounded by wreath and border of dots; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, barley ear between horns, border of dots; from an Israeli collection; rare variant; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00
 


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

|Lucius| |Verus|, |Lucius| |Verus,| |7| |March| |161| |-| |February| |169| |A.D.||denarius|
In 165, the Parthians sued for peace after the Roman captured Artaxata, Seleucia on the Tigris, and Ctesiphon. The Parthians left Armenia and eastern Mesopotamia, which both became Roman protectorates. Unfortunately the Antonine plague (perhaps smallpox) came from the East with the returning soldiers. It spread throughout the Empire, lasted for roughly twenty years, and killed about 5 million people, probably including Lucius Verus.
RS98637. Silver denarius, RIC III 540, RSC II 273, BMCRE IV 387, Hunter II 22, MIR 18 112, SRCV II 5358, aVF, well centered, flow lines, toned, light marks, slight porosity, edge cracks, weight 3.145 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec 164 - Dec 165 A.D.; obverse L VERVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX, laureate head right; reverse TR P V IMP III COS II, Parthian captive seated right on ground, wearing pointed cap, tunic, and breeches to ankles, hands bound behind back, quiver, bow, and shield(?) at his feet; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00 ON RESERVE


Judean Kingdom, Mattathias Antigonus (Mattatayah), 40 - 37 B.C.

|Mattathias| |Antigonus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Mattathias| |Antigonus| |(Mattatayah),| |40| |-| |37| |B.C.||four| |prutot|
Parthia took Judaea in 40 B.C. and made Mattathias Antigonus their vassal King. After Antigonus bit off his ears to render him ineligible for High Priest, Hyrcanus II was sent to Babylon in chains. Herod fled to Rome but returned with Roman support and took Jerusalem in 37 B.C. Dio Cassius says Antigonus was crucified but most accounts say he was beheaded.
JD97653. Bronze four prutot, Meshorer TJC 37a (but same obv. die as TJC 37), Sofaer Collection 426 (same rev. die), Hendin 1163, SNG ANS 189, SNG Cop 65, HGC 10 647 (S), gF, much of inscriptions legible, highlighting earthen deposits, a little rough/porous, rev. off center, pre-strike casting seam/sprues as normal for the type, weight 7.039 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 270o, Jerusalem mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew legend: Mattatayah the High Priest, single cornucopia tied with ribbons, grapes and grape vine hang; reverse BACIΛ/EΩC ANT/IΓONOY (of King Antigonus) in three lines, within wreath tied on the left side; from an Israeli collection; scarce; $130.00 SALE PRICE $117.00
 


Judean Kingdom, Mattathias Antigonus (Mattatayah), 40 - 37 B.C.

|Mattathias| |Antigonus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Mattathias| |Antigonus| |(Mattatayah),| |40| |-| |37| |B.C.||eight| |prutot|
Parthia took Judaea in 40 B.C. and made Mattathias Antigonus their vassal King. After Antigonus bit off his ears to render him ineligible for High Priest, Hyrcanus II was sent to Babylon in chains. Herod fled to Rome but returned with Roman support and took Jerusalem in 37 B.C. Dio Cassius says Antigonus was crucified but most accounts say he was beheaded.
JD97654. Bronze eight prutot, Meshorer TJC 36; Hendin 1162; Sofaer 418 ff; SNG ANS 183 ff.; BMC Palestine p. 212, 2 ff.; SNG Cop 64; HGC 10 646 (S), gF, dark patina with highlighting deposits, encrustations, off center, uneven strike with weak areas, pre-strike casting seam and sprues (as usual for the type), weight 14.010 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, Jerusalem mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Mattatayah the High Priest and Council of the Jews, around and between the horns of a double cornucopia; reverse BACIΛEΩC ANTIΓONOY (of King Antigonus), ivy wreath tied at the top with ribbons hanging down; from an Israeli collection; scarce; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00
 


Judean Kingdom, Mattathias Antigonus (Mattatayah), 40 - 37 B.C.

|Mattathias| |Antigonus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Mattathias| |Antigonus| |(Mattatayah),| |40| |-| |37| |B.C.||prutah|
Parthia took Judaea in 40 B.C. and made Mattathias Antigonus their vassal King. Antigonus bit off Hyrcanus II's ears to render him ineligible for High Priest and sent him to Babylon in chains. Herod fled to Rome but returned with Roman support and took Jerusalem in 37 B.C. Dio Cassius says Antigonus was crucified but most accounts say he was beheaded.
JD97662. Bronze prutah, Meshorer TJC 40, Hendin 1164, Sofaer Collection 437, SNG ANS 192, HGC 10 649, SNG Cop -, gF, dark patina with highlighting light deposits, obverse off center, double thickness with seam and sprues as usual for the type, weight 2.241 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse retrograde Paleo-Hebrew inscription in two lines: MTT/YH (Mattatayah), surrounded by wreath and border of dots; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, barley ear between horns, border of dots; from an Israeli collection; scarce; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00
 


Judean Kingdom, Mattathias Antigonus (Mattatayah), 40 - 37 B.C.

|Mattathias| |Antigonus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Mattathias| |Antigonus| |(Mattatayah),| |40| |-| |37| |B.C.||prutah|
Parthia took Judaea in 40 B.C. and made Mattathias Antigonus their vassal King. Antigonus bit off Hyrcanus II's ears to render him ineligible for High Priest and sent him to Babylon in chains. Herod fled to Rome but returned with Roman support and took Jerusalem in 37 B.C. Dio Cassius says Antigonus was crucified but most accounts say he was beheaded.

On this type the inscription is almost always retrograde. The Paleo-Hebrew inscription reads, in two retrograde lines, from left to right: MTT/YH (Mattatayah). The last letter blundered. See Reading Judean Coins in NumisWiki.
JD97660. Bronze prutah, Meshorer TJC 40, Hendin 1164, Sofaer Collection 437, SNG ANS 192, HGC 10 649, SNG Cop -, gF, dark patina with highlighting buff earthen deposits, reverse off center, clear pre-strike casting seam and sprues (as usual for the type), weight 1.655 g, maximum diameter 12.6 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse retrograde Paleo-Hebrew inscription in two lines: MTT/YH (Mattatayah), surrounded by wreath and border of dots; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, barley ear between horns, border of dots; from an Israeli collection; scarce; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00
 


Judean Kingdom, Mattathias Antigonus (Mattatayah), 40 - 37 B.C.

|Mattathias| |Antigonus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Mattathias| |Antigonus| |(Mattatayah),| |40| |-| |37| |B.C.||prutah|
Parthia took Judaea in 40 B.C. and made Mattathias Antigonus their vassal King. Antigonus bit off Hyrcanus II's ears to render him ineligible for High Priest and sent him to Babylon in chains. Herod fled to Rome but returned with Roman support and took Jerusalem in 37 B.C. Dio Cassius says Antigonus was crucified but most accounts say he was beheaded.
JD97431. Bronze prutah, Meshorer TJC 40, Hendin 1164, Sofaer Collection 437, SNG ANS 192, HGC 10 649, SNG Cop -, gF, nice green patina, light earthen deposits, remains of pre-strike casting sprues and seam, weight 1.608 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, Jerusalem mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse retrograde Paleo-Hebrew inscription in two lines: MTT/YH (Mattatayah), surrounded by wreath and border of dots; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, barley ear between horns, border of dots; from an Israeli collection; scarce; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00
 


Judean Kingdom, Mattathias Antigonus (Mattatayah), 40 - 37 B.C.

|Mattathias| |Antigonus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Mattathias| |Antigonus| |(Mattatayah),| |40| |-| |37| |B.C.||prutah|
Parthia took Judaea in 40 B.C. and made Mattathias Antigonus their vassal King. Antigonus bit off Hyrcanus II's ears to render him ineligible for High Priest and sent him to Babylon in chains. Herod fled to Rome but returned with Roman support and took Jerusalem in 37 B.C. Dio Cassius says Antigonus was crucified but most accounts say he was beheaded.
JD97429. Bronze prutah, Meshorer TJC 40, Hendin 1164, Sofaer Collection 437, SNG ANS 192, HGC 10 649, SNG Cop -, aF, some corrosion and encrustation, large pre-strike casting sprues, weight 1.949 g, maximum diameter 15.7 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse retrograde Paleo-Hebrew inscription in two lines: MTT/YH (Mattatayah), surrounded by wreath and border of dots; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, barley ear between horns, border of dots; from an Israeli collection; scarce; $50.00 SALE PRICE $45.00
 







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REFERENCES|

Abgarians, M. & D. Sellwood. "A Hoard of Early Parthian Drachms" in NC 1971.
Alram, M. Iranisches Personennamenbuch: Nomina Propria Iranica In Nummis. Osterreichischen Akademie Der Wissenschaften. (Wien, 1986).
Assar, G. "Genealogy and Coinage of the Early Parthian Rulers, II" in Parthica 6, 2004.
Assar, G. "Genealogy and Coinage of the Early Parthian Rulers, II" in Parthica 7, 2005.
Assar, G. "A Revised Parthian Chronology of the Period 91- 55 BC" in Parthica 8, 2006.
Assar, G. "Recent Studies in Parthian History: Part II" in The Celator 15, No. 1, January 2001.
Busso Peus. Busso Peus Sale 388, Sammlung Dr. Robert Gonnella, November 1, 2006.
Classical Numismatic Group. CNG Auction 36, Fred B. Shore Collection of Parthian Coins, December 5-6, 1995.
Fröhlich, C. Monnaies indo-scythes et indo-parthes, Catalogue raisonné Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 2008).
Hopkins, E. "Parthia.com: The Coins of Parthia" - www.parthia.com
Nelson, B., ed., Numismatic Art of Persia. The Sunrise Collection, Part I: Ancient - 650 BC to AD 650. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sellwood, D. An Introduction to the Coinage of Parthia. 2nd edition. (London, 1980).
Sellwood, D. "New Parthian coin types" in NC 1989.
Sellwood, D. "The End of the Parthian Dynasty" in NumCirc June 1990.
Shore, F. Parthian Coins and History: Ten Dragons Against Rome. (Quarryville, 1993).
Sinisi, F. Sylloge Nummorum Parthicorum, Volume VII: Vologases I - Pacorus II. (Wein, 2012).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum. Vol. 7: Cyprus to India. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Wroth, W. A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Parthia. (London, 1903).

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