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Arsaces II (c. 211 - 191 B.C.)

ΑΡΣΑΚΗΣ

Son of Arsaces I and the nephew of Tiridates, he was the second king of Parthia.  He was frequently called Artabanus I by earlier scholars and, following Justin, Arsaces II could be assigned that name but it is not attested for the second or third ruler of the Arsacid dynasty.1 The usage of Artabanus mostly predates the finding of the ostraca of Nisa and Koshelenko's revised chronology. See the genealogy chart.

After the death of Arsaces I, the Seleucids evidently found opportunity to retake former territory and in 211 B.C. Antiochus III secured the allegiance of Artabazanes, ruler of Media Atropatene, then advanced to Ecbatana where he replenished his treasury by looting the temple of Anahita.2 In 209 B.C., Antiochus moved his army eastward toward Hecatompylos almost unopposed. The army moved forward to Tagae (Tak?) near Damghan, then defeated Arsaces II at Mount Labus (Lamavu), and entered Hyrcania where he occupied Tambrax. Syrinx was then taken by siege.3

We know nothing more of Arsaces II following his defeat except that Antiochus III made peace and an alliance with the Parthians, and that Arsaces II was succeeded by Phriapatius in 191 B.C. Frye notes that Parthia and Bactria may well have maintained allegiance to Antiochus until he was defeated by the Romans at Magnesia in 189 B.C., and that it was a revival period for Greek influence in Iran.4

Click here to view the inscriptions on this king's coins.

____________________
Notes:
1. Frye, History (1984), p. 210
2. Polybius X. 27
3. Debevoise, Political History, 18
4. Frye, Heritage (1963), p. 173

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Coins in the name of Arsaces attributed to Arsaces II

The attributions and cataloging of Parthian coins used throughout this web site follow David Sellwood's An Introduction to the Coinage of Parthia (1980, 2nd edition) for consistency. The few exceptions to this policy are explained here.

Click on coin images to enlarge:

Sellwood Type 5

See Sellwood Type 6 for a "mule" example of a Sellwood type 6.1 reverse on a type 5.1 obverse

PDC 5794 Arsaces II (211-191 B.C.)
AR Drachm 4.04g (PDC 5794)
Mint: Hekatompylos?
Obv: beardless head left, wearing bashlyk; circular border of pellets
Rev: beardless archer wearing bashlyk and cloak seated right on backless throne, holding bow in left hand; below bow, monogram A; circular border of pellets; behind archer, single-word Greek inscription read from outside = ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ
Previous collection: Rian Thum
Photo by Rian Thum
- Sellwood 5.1 [41 in db]
- Rian Thum Sep 2000, lot 2 (this coin)
- Harlan J. Berk 20th CICF Auction (23 Mar 1995), lot 58 (this coin)
- Shore 3
PDC 21516 Arsaces II (211-191 B.C.)
AR Drachm 3.77g (PDC 21516)
Mint: Hekatompylos?
Obv: beardless head left, wearing bashlyk; circular border of pellets
Rev: beardless archer wearing bashlyk and cloak seated right on backless throne, holding bow in left hand; below bow, monogram A; circular border of pellets; behind archer, single-word Greek inscription read from outside = ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ
Previous collection: Bellaria
Photo by Classical Numismatic Group
- Sellwood 5.1 rev/S4.1 obv (mule) [4 in db]
- Triton VII (12 Jan 2004), lot 391 (this coin)
- Abgarians & Sellwood, NC 1971, "A Hoard of Early Parthian Drachms", Type 5 (obverse die of Type 3, 3/3, unrecorded reverse die)
- Shore not listed

Sellwood Type 6

PDC 6178 Arsaces II (211-191 B.C.)
AR Drachm 3.98g 12h (PDC 6178)
Mint: Rhagae-Arsacia?
Obv: beardless head left, wearing bashlyk; circular border of pellets
Rev: beardless archer wearing bashlyk and cloak seated right on backless throne, holding bow in left hand; below bow, eagle stands facing, head left; circular border of pellets; behind archer, single-word Greek inscription = ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ
Current collection: Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, 1968/8
Photo by Chris Hopkins
- Sellwood 6.1 [115 in db]
- Shore 4
PDC 23637 Arsaces II (211-191 B.C.)
AR Drachm 4.27g (PDC 23637)
Mint: Rhagae-Arsacia?
Obv: beardless head left, wearing bashlyk; circular border of pellets
Rev: beardless archer wearing bashlyk and cloak seated right on backless throne, holding bow in left hand; below bow, eagle stands facing, head left; circular border of pellets; behind archer, single-word Greek inscription = ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ
Note: one of two known
Photo by Chris Hopkins
- Sellwood 6.1 rev/5.1 obv (mule) [2 in db]
- Numismatic Chronicle, 1971 cf. pl.22, no. 6/59
- Shore not listed
PDC 25199 Arsaces II (211-191 B.C.)
AE Dichalkous 17mm (PDC 25199)
Mint: Rhagae-Arsacia?
Obv: beardless head left, wearing bashlyk; circular border of pellets
Rev: bow in case; circular border of pellets; single-word Greek inscription in field right read from outside = ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ
Photo by an anonymous collector in Iran
- Sellwood 6.2 [2 in db]
- Lanz 102 (28 May 2001), cf. lot 310
- Shore not listed
PDC 30124 Arsaces II (211-191 B.C.)
AE Dichalkous 3.28g 15mm (PDC 30124)
Mint: Mithradatkart?
Obv: beardless head left, wearing bashlyk; circular border of pellets
Rev: bow in case; monogram M in field left; circular border of pellets; single-word Greek inscription in field right read from outside = ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ
Previous collection: Bellaria
Photo by Anne van't Haaff
- Sellwood 6.2 variant (monogram Μ) [3 in db]
- BMC Parthia not listed
- Mitchiner ACW not listed
- P.-F. Jacquier/Numismatique Antique, Münzliste 16 (Herbst 1994, Kehl/Rhein), cf. lot 204
- Petrowicz not listed
- Shore not listed
- Triton VII, lot 1336 (this coin)
PDC 32356 Arsaces II (211-191 B.C.)
AE Dichalkous 2.69g 1h (PDC 32356)
Mint: Rhagae-Arsacia?
Obv: beardless head left, wearing bashlyk; circular border of pellets
Rev: eagle stands right atop head of bull facing, wings open; in field right, horse head right; circular border of pellets; single-word Greek inscription in field left read from outside = ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ
Photo by Classical Numismatic Group
- Sellwood 6.2 variant (rev eagle standing r. on bull's head with horse head monogram) [8 in db]
- Triton IX (9 Jan 2006), lot 1088 (this coin)
- B. Simonetta, "Brevi note di numismatica Partica: Chalkoi di Arsaces II," SM 144 (Nov 1986), p. 88
- Le Rider, Suse sous les Séleucides et les Parthes (1965), not listed
- Mitchiner ACW not listed
- Shore not listed
PDC 10404 Arsaces II (211-191 B.C.)
AE Dichalkous 3.35g 16mm (PDC 10404)
Mint: Rhagae-Arsacia?
Obv: beardless head left, wearing bashlyk; circular border of pellets
Rev: eagle stands right atop head of bull facing, wings open; circular border of pellets; single-word Greek inscription in field left read from outside = ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ
Photo by Najaf Coins & Collectibles
- Sellwood 6.2 variant (rev eagle standing r. on bull's head) [6 in db]
- Shore not listed

This page last updated 17 Apr 2008

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