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Coins of the Seleucids about Parthia


The Parthians rose to power in the Seleucid satrapies of Parthia and Hyrcania mid-3rd century B.C. and hotly contested the eastern possessions of the Seleucids until their victory in 129 B.C.  It is perhaps surprising that Arsacid Parthia was little referenced on the coins of the Seleucid monarchs. A notable exception may be found in the victory stater of Antiochus published by Arthur Houghton in 1986.1 In an article accompanying the plate, Houghton notes the victory motif on this coin most likely indicates a Seleucid victory in or shortly before 134/133 B.C., a campaign not known from the literature, and which shows Antiochus' invasion of Judaea must have been launched after that date.

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1. Houghton, A. "A victory coin and the Parthian Wars of Antiochus VII" in Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Numismatics (1986), IAPN Publication #11, plate 6.


Coins of Antiochus VII

Click on coin images to enlarge:

ObverseAntiochus VII (138-129 B.C.)
AV Stater,  8.42 g, 19 mm
Mint/ sim. Antioch, but reverse too crude; perhaps traveling mint?, 134/133 B.C.
Obv/ diademed head right, reel-and-pellet border
Rev/ winged Nike in biga, to the left; inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ (fragmentary) ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ above, ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ below;  the king's name is entirely on flan and the title discernible above it; dated between hooves ΘΟΡ = 179 S.E. (134/133 B.C.)
Photo/ by permission
Note/ Houghton remarks the similarity of the Nike/biga reverse design to several bronzes of Mithradates I (Sellwood types 12.9 and 12.14), and believes there is a political connection between the Seleucid and Arsacid designs
- A. Houghton, IAPN Pub #11, plate 6 (unique coin, otherwise unpublished)


This page last updated 17 Apr 2008

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