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Coins of Rome about Parthia:
Crassus (father & son)

Marcus Licinius Crassus (60-53 B.C.)
Publius Licinius Crassus (Moneyer, c. 55 B.C.)

Marcus Licinius Crassus was a member of the 1st Triumvirate, co-ruler with Pompey and Caesar. The wealthy leader died in battle at  Carrhae against the Parthians. His son Publius also died there, most likely leading a cavalry engagement, though some sources suggest he committed suicide. The absolute and convincing defeat of Romans in battle signaled the end of growth-through-expansion policies in the east.


Coins in the Name of Marcus Licinius Crassus

The only coins attributed to Marcus Licinius Crassus are Syrian tetradrachms bearing the immobilized types of Philip Philadelphus with Crassus' monogram, and some Syrian bronzes dated to the 12th and 13th years of the Pompeian era. [Vagi, Coinage and History of the Roman Empire, Vol. 1, pp. 37-38.]

Click on coin catalog links to view images:

Catalog Denom Inscription Reverse Type

Marcus Licinius Crassus (60-53 B.C.)

Vagi 16
RPC 4125
AR
tetradr.
(Antioch)
diademed head of Philip Philadelphus r. Zeus seated l. holding Nike and scepter; Crassus' monogram ΚΡΑ before; Greek inscription at sides, ΚΑΓ in exergue
Vagi 17
BMC none
AE20-23
(Antioch)
laureate head of Zeus r. Zeus seated l. , Greek inscription at sides; date ΙΒ (year 12 of the Pompeian Era = 55/54 B.C.)
Vagi 18
RPC 4212
BMC none
AE18
(Antioch)
laureate head of Zeus r. Zeus seated l. , Greek inscription at sides; date ΙΓ (year 13 of the Pompeian Era = 54/53 B.C.)


Coins in the Name of Publius Licinius Crassus

References to the Parthian campaign are found on denarii struck by Publius Licinius Crassus, moneyer of c. 55 B.C., and son of Marcus Licinius Crassus. These coins were most likely struck in the fund-raising efforts preparing for the war on Parthia. David Vagi states the horse on the reverse is presumably a reference to the 1,000 Gallic horsemen Publius brought to the campaign, or perhaps to a defeated Parthian cavalry. [Vagi, Coinage and History of the Roman Empire, Vol. 1, pp. 37-38.] However, I contend that the knowledge of Parthia's strength and the effectiveness of her cavalry was a lesson subsequently learned at Carrhae, making the reference on early coinage unlikely.

Click on coin catalog links to view images:

Catalog Denom Inscription Reverse Type

Publius Licinius Crassus (Moneyer, 55 B.C.)

Cr. 430/1
BMC 3901
Cr. 430/1
Cr. 430/1
RRC 929
Syd. 929
Bab. 18
denarius Bust of Venus r., draped, laureate and wearing diadem; behind, S C. On reverse, P. CRASSVS M.F Roma with spear leading horse by bridle; shield and cuirass at her feet

The images are used by permission of their copyright owners. See the Coins of Rome about Parthia index page for a listing of these generous individuals, dealers and institutions.


This page last updated 22 Apr 2008

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