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Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)

ΑΡΤΑΒΑΝΟΣ

King of Media Atropatene and an Arsacid on his mother's side. He was selected to replace Vonones I, whose Roman lifestyle did not appeal to Parthian nobles. His attempts to wrest the throne were at first defeated -- as one competing issue of Vonones' coins attests -- but he eventually emerged victorious. During his reign he sent a letter to Susa which was inscribed on marble, and is now preserved at the Louvre. See the genealogy chart.

See the article, "Identifying Look-alike Parthian Drachms : Differentiating the Drachms of Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38), Gotarzes II (c. A.D. 40 - 51) and Artabanus III (c. A.D. 80 - 90)."

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


Coins Attributed to Artabanus 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:

See the fourrée tetradrachm attributed to Artabanus II.

Sellwood Type 61

Note that the tetradrachms of Artabanus have two distinct variants:
     Sellwood 61.1 = hair is in four formal rows of curls
     Sellwood 61.2-6 = these have two broad waves or "hair flowing", as described by Wroth in BMC Parthia, the same hair style as on type 62

PDC 2269Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
Billon tetradrachm, 14.25 g
Mint/ Seleucia, date unreadable
Obv/ bust left with long beard wearing diadem and spiral torque with no visible end; four formal rows of curls with no ear or earring visible, hair above diadem as ringlets; no wart; circular border of dots
Rev/ male wearing diadem seated right on throne, extending right hand; to his right, Tyche stands left presenting palm branch in right hand, and holding cornucopia in left; above her arm, Greek letters [ΒΚΤ] (vertical); in exergue, Greek letters (?); seven-line Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΑΡΣΑΚ[ΟΥ] / [ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣ] / [Ε]ΠΙΦΑΝ[ΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ], the date above arm is present but unreadable and the exergue date is off flan; no border
Photo/ by permission Henri Delger, Old Roman Coins for Special Collectors
- Sellwood 61.1 variant (year ΒΚΤ)
- BMC Parthia cf. p.146, 1-3 and plate XXV, 1

PDC 12878Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
Billon tetradrachm, 14.12 g
Mint/ Seleucia, month August
Obv/ bust left with long beard wearing diadem and spiral torque with no visible end; four formal rows of curls with no ear or earring visible, hair above diadem as ringlets; no wart; circular border of dots
Rev/ male wearing diadem seated right on throne, extending right hand; to his right, Tyche stands left presenting palm branch in right hand, and holding cornucopia in left; above her arm, Greek letters ΓΟΡ (vertical); in exergue, Greek letters (?); seven-line Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ / ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣ / ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ, but the year date in exergue is off flan
Photo/ by permission Malter Galleries
- Sellwood 61.1 variant (year ΒΚΤ)
- BMC Parthia cf. p.146, 1-3 and plate XXV, 1

PDC 9464Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
Billon tetradrachm, 12.48 g
Mint/ Seleucia, A.D. 12
Obv/ bust left with long beard wearing diadem and spiral torque with no visible end; hair in two rows of flowing waves with ear and earring visible, hair above diadem as ringlets; no wart; circular border of dots
Rev/ male wearing diadem seated right on throne, extending right hand; to his right, Tyche stands left presenting palm branch in right hand, and holding cornucopia in left; above her arm, Greek letters ΓΟΡ (vertical); in exergue, Greek letters ΕΤΟΥΣ ΓΚ[Τ]; seven-line Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ / ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣ / ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ; no border
Photo/ of the original Petrowicz plaster cast by Chris Hopkins
- Sellwood 61.2
- BMC Parthia p.149,28
- Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna 35817 (this coin)
- Samm. Petrowicz pl. XVI-4 (this coin)

ObverseArtabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm, 3.7 g, 29 mm
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Additional images/ [study image obv]
Obv/ bearded bust of king left, wearing diadem, diadem ends as three lines, long hair with no earring or ear visible; border of dots
Rev/ beardless archer seated right on throne wearing kyrbasia and cloak; in right hand, bow, below bow monogram 26; Greek inscription Sellwood ii
Location/ V. Kucherov collection
Photo/ E. Rtveladze, The Ancient Coins of Central Asia (1987)
- Sellwood 61.7
- Rtveladze 16 (this coin)

ObverseArtabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm, 3.69 g
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bearded bust of king left, wearing diadem, diadem ends as three lines, long hair with no earring or ear visible; border of dots
Rev/ beardless archer seated right on throne wearing kyrbasia and cloak; in right hand, bow, below bow monogram 26; Greek inscription Sellwood ii
Photo/ by permission Henri Delger, Old Roman Coins for Special Collectors
- Sellwood 61.7

PDC 6039Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bearded bust of king left, wearing diadem, diadem ends as three lines, long hair with no earring or ear visible; border of dots
Rev/ beardless archer seated right on throne wearing kyrbasia and cloak; in right hand, bow, below bow monogram 26; Greek inscription Sellwood ii
Photo/ by permission Dan Case
- Sellwood 61.7

tkm_par_569_small.jpg (75x75 -- 1252 bytes)Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AE 13 mm, 1.69 gm, die axis = 11h
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bare-headed bust left
Rev/ amphora(?)
Photo/ by permission Thomas K. Mallon, The Coins and History of Asia
- Sellwood 61.12 variant
- Shore 569

Sellwood Type 62

PDC 20895Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Tetradrachm, 12.58 g
Mint/ Seleucia, May, A.D. 23
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with long beard, wearing diadem with loop at the top and four pendants, hair in three distinct rows; border of dots; in front, year ΔΛΤ
Rev/ king enthroned left receiving palm from Tyche holding scepter; between them kneeling man (Vonones?) offering diadem; Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ / ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ / ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ. In exergue ΔΑΙΣΙΟΥ
Photo/ by permission Henri Delger, Old Roman Coins for Special Collectors
- Sellwood 62.3

PDC 13652Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR (debased) Drachm
Mint/ Susa, June, A.D. 24
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with medium square cut beard, wearing diadem with loop at the top and three pendants, hair almost straight, earring visible; border of dots
Rev/ king enthroned left, receiving diadem from kneeling man (Vonones?), year date above ΤΛΕ; Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ / ΔΙΚΑΙΟΥ / ΝΙΚΙΦΟΡΟΥ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ, legend on left read from outside. In exergue, ΠΑΝΗΜ
Photo/ by permission from collection of Sadollah Valavi
- Sellwood 62.8

PDC 24834Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AE (debased), a copper "drachm"
Mint/ Margiane
Obv/ bust left with long square cut beard wearing diadem and spiral torque with no visible end; medium-length straight hair with earring visible, no wart; in front and behind, Nike flying with diadem; border (?)
Rev/ beardless archer wearing bashlyk and cloak seated right on (?), holding bow in right hand; below bow, Greek letter Π; three-line Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ / ΒΑΣΙΛΕ[ΩΝ] / ΑΡΤΑ legend on right read from outside; no border
Photo/ by permission Classical Numismatic Group
- Sellwood 62.12
- CNG E-Auction 90 (26 May 2004), lot 47 (this coin)
- BMC Parthia, p.138, 15 (Phraataces)
- Shore, not listed

Sellwood Type 63

ObverseArtabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Additional images/ [large obv & rev]
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with medium square cut beard, wearing diadem with loop at the top and three ends, hair almost straight, earring visible; border of dots
Rev/ beardless archer, seated right on throne; in right hand, bow; below bow monogram 26; Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ / ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣ / ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ legend on left read from outside
Photo/ by permission Smithsonian Institution, National Numismatic Collection
- Sellwood 63.6

ForgeryArtabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38) Modern Forgery
Click on the coin image at left to see a Sellwood type 63 silver drachm forgery

PDC 8341Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm, 3.72 g
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with medium square cut beard, wearing diadem with loop at the top and three ends, hair almost straight, earring visible; border of dots
Rev/ beardless archer, seated right on throne; in right hand, bow; below bow monogram 26; Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ / ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣ / ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ, legend on left read from outside
Note/ reverse overstrike
Photo/ by permission Henri Delger, Old Roman Coins for Special Collectors
- Sellwood 63.6
- Shore 341

ObverseArtabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm, 3.48 g, 20 mm, die axis = 12h
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with medium square cut beard, wearing diadem with loop at the top and three ends, hair almost straight, earring visible; border of dots
Rev/ beardless archer, seated right on throne; in right hand, bow; below bow monogram 26; Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ / ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣ / ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ, legend on left read from outside
Photo/ by permission Thomas K. Mallon, The Coins and History of Asia
- Sellwood 63.6
- Shore 341

ObverseArtabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm, 18x20 mm
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Additional images/ [large obv & rev]
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with medium square cut beard, wearing diadem with loop at the top and three ends, hair almost straight, earring visible; border of dots
Rev/ beardless archer, seated right on throne; in right hand, bow; below bow monogram 26; Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΑΡΣΑΚΟ[Υ] / [ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ] ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣ / [Ε]ΠΙΦΑΝΟΥ [ΦΙΛΕ]ΛΛΗΝ[ΟΣ], legend on left read from outside
Photo/ by permission David Garstang
- Sellwood 63.6 variant (legend)

ObverseArtabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with medium square cut beard, wearing diadem with loop at the top and three ends, hair almost straight, earring visible; border of dots
Rev/ beardless archer, seated right on throne; in right hand, bow; below bow monogram 26; Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ / ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣ / ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ, legend on left read from outside
Photo/ by permission
- Sellwood 63.6
- Shore 341

ObverseArtabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm, 3.37 g, 20 mm, die axis = 1h
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with medium square cut beard wearing diadem with loop at the top and three ends, earring visible
Rev/ archer seated right on throne holding bow. Somewhat blundered Greek legend; below bow monogram
Photo/ by permission Thomas K. Mallon, The Coins and History of Asia
- Sellwood 63.6
- Shore 341 variant

PDC 7953Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm, 3.6 g, 20x22 mm
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with medium square cut beard wearing diadem with loop at the top and three ends, earring visible
Rev/ archer seated right on throne holding bow. Somewhat blundered Greek legend; below bow monogram
Photo/ by permission Teresa Darling, WCNC
- Sellwood 63.6

ObverseArtabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm, 3.87 g, 20 mm, die axis = 11h
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with medium square cut beard wearing diadem with loop at the top and three ends, earring visible
Rev/ archer seated right on throne holding bow; somewhat blundered Greek legend with extra line on inside of bottom part of legend (see note); below bow monogram 26
Photo/ by permission Thomas K. Mallon, The Coins and History of Asia
Note/ sometimes double- or multi-striking of coins can create difficulties. In Fred Shore's Parthian Coins & History, there are several instances of misidentification of coins as a result of double-striking. These are Shore 344 (this coin) and 345. The extra lines of legend on the reverses of these coins are simply remnants of the under-type which, in the case of this coin, have been slightly mutilated giving the impression that there is what Shore considers to be ΟΠΞΛΥ on the inside of bottom part of legend. These are not variants of the main type, only a bad strike of a known subtype.
- Sellwood 63.6, but double-struck legend on reverse
- Shore 344 (this coin)

PDC 2286Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with medium square cut beard wearing diadem with loop at the top and three ends, earring visible
Rev/ archer seated right on throne holding bow; somewhat blundered Greek legend; extra line on inside of bottom part of legend; below bow monogram 26, legend not like Sellwood 63 ii or iii
Photo/ by permission 
Note/ this is another example where double-striking of coins has created a difficulty. Here is a very clear example of a double-strike creating extra lines of legend on the reverse; on this coin the remnants of the under-type have been slightly mutilated giving the impression that there is a monogram above the bow.
- Sellwood 63.6, but double-struck on reverse

ObverseArtabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with medium square cut beard, wearing diadem with loop at the top and three ends, hair almost straight, earring visible; border of dots
Rev/ beardless archer, seated right on throne; in right hand, bow; below bow monogram 26; Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ / ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣ / ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ legend on left read from outside
Photo/ by permission Fred W. Haumann
- Sellwood 63.6

PDC 3590Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with medium square cut beard, wearing diadem with loop at the top and three ends, hair almost straight, earring visible; border of dots
Rev/ beardless archer, seated right on throne; in right hand, bow; below bow monogram 26; Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩ[Σ] ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ / ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣ / [Ε]ΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ [Φ]ΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ legend on left read from outside
Photo/ by permission
- Sellwood 63.6

ObverseArtabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AR Drachm
Mint/ Rhagae, undated
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with medium square cut beard wearing diadem with loop at the top and three ends, earring visible, hair almost straight
Rev/ archer seated right on throne holding bow; somewhat blundered Greek legend; monogram 29 below bow
Photo/ by permission Elena Stoyanov
- Sellwood 63.7

tkm_par_582_small.jpg (76x75 -- 1249 bytes)Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
AE 10 mm, 1.21 gm, die axis = 12h(?)
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bare-headed bust left with straight beard and hair, wearing diadem
Rev/ amphora(?)
Photo/ by permission Thomas K. Mallon, The Coins and History of Asia
- Sellwood 63.28? variant
- Shore 582

This page last updated 16 Dec 2009

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