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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Hellenistic Monarchies| ▸ |Parthian Empire||View Options:  |  |  | 

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.

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

|Parthian| |Empire|, |Parthian| |Empire,| |Mithradates| |II,| |c.| |121| |-| |91| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Mithradates II was the eighth and one of the greatest Parthian kings. He defeated all Seleukid attempts to reclaim territories and made Parthia a formidable, unified empire. He adopted the title Epiphanes, "god manifest" and introduced new designs on his extensive coinage. The ruins of Seleukeia on the Tigris, where this coin was struck, have been identified at Tell Umar, about 30 km south of Baghdad, and 60 north of Babylon. According to Pliny, the city had 600,000 inhabitants and c. 100 A.D. the city still held some Macedonian customs.
SH86429. Silver tetradrachm, Sellwood 24.4, BMC 3, Boston MFA 2216, Sunrise 284, Shore 67 var., EF, fantastic high relief bust, well centered on a tight flan, radiating flow lines, slightest die wear, slightest porosity, weight 15.696 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia on the Tigris (south of Baghdad, Iraq) mint, c. 119 - 109 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Mithradates to left, long beard, wearing torc and elaborate robes; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ MEΓAΛOY APΣ-AKOY EΠIΦANOYΣ / TY (square clockwise, ending in exergue)), Arsakes I seated right on omphalos, bow in right hand, palm branch right; ex Pars (2008), ex Antiqua Inc. (2000); SOLD


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; SOLD


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.

|Marcus| |Aurelius|, |Marcus| |Aurelius,| |7| |March| |161| |-| |17| |March| |180| |A.D.||denarius|
The Roman-Parthian War of 161 - 166 was fought between the Roman and Parthian Empires over Armenia and Upper Mesopotamia. In 166, the Romans made successful campaigns into lower Mesopotamia and Media, and sacked Ctesiphon, the Parthian capital. The Romans were be victorious but the returning army brought back a pandemic known as the Antonine Plague. The plague significantly depopulated the entire Roman Empire.
SH76376. Silver denarius, RIC III 163a, RSC II 878, BMCRE IV 406, Hunter II 33, SRCV II 4933, Choice VF, excellent centering and bold strike, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.079 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, summer - Dec 166 A.D.; obverse M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX, laureate head right; reverse TR P XX IMP IIII COS III, Victory standing slightly left, head right, palm frond vertical in right hand, shield inscribed VIC PAR set on palm tree in left hand; from the Scott Collection; SOLD







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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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