Greek portraits

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Valentinian, Oct 23, 2020.

  1. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    @DonnaML , I love to see your extensive list of references. It shows you have put the research in to find out all about your coins. Good for you!!
    Carl Wilmont, Edessa and DonnaML like this.
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  3. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks. I like to try to include the full names of sources in my coin descriptions for my personal catalog, to remind myself of what all the abbreviations -- Svoronos, Geissen, the various SNG and BMC publications, etc. -- mean. Also, to the extent the references are available online, in whole or in part, I like to check them personally to make sure they're accurate, rather than relying on someone else's citation of them. The easiest way I know of to find such sources online is to look them up in Numiswiki, which usually has links if they're available.
  4. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Cilicia. Stater. 21 mm. 10.28 grams.
    bare head right of Hercules with curly hair, lion's skin around neck (which is how we know it is Hercules)
    head of satrap right in Persian tiara.
    Possibly Tiribaze = Tiribazos, 386-380 BC.
    Sear Greek 5565 variety "375-360" (His has MAΛΛ for the city of Mallos on the reverse behind the head. This basic type was issued at Tarsos, Soloi, and Mallos, so without lettering we cannot be sure which city is the mint city.) SNG Levante 153 "c. 385-333". SNG France 2: 395 "386-380". SNG France 2 was also written by Levante, but later, so the dates have been updated.
    von Aulock 5716.
    ex CNG 39 lot 642 (Sept. 1996).

    The coin lacks a legend to let us know for sure who it is, but the reverse portrait looks like it is of an individual. If the attribution of the type to Tiribazos is correct, the portrait is likely that of Tiribazos, making the coin an extremely early portrait piece.

    [EDIT: Michael Alram, in Iranisches Personennamenbuch, volume IV, in two volumes, has an example, number 324, of this type with the name before the satrap's bust. So, it is Tiribaos.]
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
  5. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    Hellenic portraits have something that I find attractive, eventhough they are not that artistic compared to the Classical art.

    Here some of my better portraits:

    With number 1 my profile picture, wonderful engravers there were in Tyre
    Seleukid Empire. Alexander I (Balas), 152/1-145 BC. AR Tetradrachm. Tyre mint. Dated SE 167 (146/5 BC).
    Diademed and draped bust of Alexander Balas right.
    Reverse: Eagle standing left on prow of galley, palm-branch over right shoulder; club surmounted by monogram to left, ΙΞΡ (date) and monogram to right.
    Reference: SNG Spaer 1545-1546; Newell, Tyre 79; Houghton 749.
    13.73g (Phoenican standard)

    A great portrait of the Megas himself (well not Alexander, but the Megas of the Seleukids after Seleukos I).
    Antiochos III Megas (223 - 187 B.C.). AR Tetradrachm. Antioch mint. Series 3, circa 204–197 B.C.
    Diademed head of Antiochos III to right.
    Reverse: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ANTIOXOY. Apollo seated left on omphalos, holding arrow in his right hand and resting his left on grounded bow; to outer left, bow in bowcase.
    Reference: SC 1044.5a; Le Rider series 3-4, obv. A12; BMC 27; HGC 9, 447u.

    A wonderful portrait of Mithridates VI Eupator, one that is affordable for me compared to his tetradrachms.
    Ariarathes IX Eusebes Philopator (circa 100-85 B.C.) AR Drachm. Mint B (Eusebeia-Mazaka). Dated RY 13 or 15 (88/7 or 86/5 BC).
    Diademed head right, with Mithradatic style portrait.
    Reverse: BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ APIAPAΘOY EYΣEBOYΣ, Athena Nikephoros standing left; monogram to inner left, [date in exergue].
    Reference: Callataÿ p. 181, obv. die D37 var. (slightly different monogram);

    An extremely rare drachm from Soloi minted under the reign of Antiochos VII, a very nice engraved portrait.
    Antiochos VII Euergetes (138-129 B.C.). AR Drachm, Soloi mint.
    Obverse: Diademed head of Antiochos VII right.
    Reverse: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ / ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ. Tyche seated left on throne, holding sceptre and cornucopia. Controls: Two monograms in exergue.
    Mint: Soloi mint. Date Range: 138-129 B.C. Reference: SC 2051; HGC 9, 1079.
    3.81g; 19mm

    A girlish, yet nicely engraved Alexander II Zabinas
    Alexander II Zabinas (128 B.C. - 122 B.C.) AR Drachm. Toned.
    Diademed head of Zabinas right
    Reverse: BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞANΔPOY, Athena standing left, resting hand on shield, spear propped in left elbow, extending right hand beyond legend and holding Nike left, in left field Δ, monogram above.
    Reference: SC 2222a; HGC 9, 1155.

    A portrait of Antiochos VII Epiphanes:
    Antiochos VIII Epiphanes (Grypos) (121/0-97/6 B.C.) AR Tetradrachm. 2nd reign at Antioch. Antiochia on the Orontes mint, 112-111/10 B.C.
    Diademed head of Antiochos VIII to right.
    Reverse: BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY - EΠIΦANOYΣ Zeus Ouranios standing front, head to left; holding star in his right hand and long scepter in his left; above, crescent; to left, monogram above A; to inner right, Δ; all within laurel wreath.
    Reference: SC 2302.1f.
    16.26g; 27mm
    IanG, PeteB, Sulla80 and 10 others like this.
  6. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    While not a portrait of a ruler, this portrait of Zeus on a drachm of Ptolemy IV shows definite Hellenistic influences.

    Ptolemaic Dynasty, 222-205 BC
    AE Drachm
    Ptolemy IV Philopator
    Obverse: Diademed and horned head of Zeus-Ammon right.
    Reverse: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMAIOY. Eagle standing left on thunderbolt; filleted cornucopia to left, ΣE between legs.
    SNG Copenhagen 205.
    43 mm, 2 h.
    66.15 grams

    D-Camera PTOLEMY IV Philopator AE Drachm, Alexandria mint. 222-205 BC, 66.15  g, 10-24-20.jpg
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  7. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    @Valentinian - great coins & thanks for the references. Here's a cappadocian drachm of Ariarathes V Eusebes whose rule overlapped with your Seleucid brothers:
    Ariarathes V.jpg
    Kings of Cappadocia, Ariarathes V Eusebes Philopator, c. 163-130 BC, AR Drachm, dated CY 33 (130 BC)
    Obv: Diademed head of Ariarathes, right
    Rev: Athena Nikephoros standing left; T to outer left, monogram to inner left, and Δ to outer right; ΓΛ (date) in exergue
    Ref: Simonetta (Ariarathes IV) 28

    Newell describes Ariarathes V as probably the greatest of Cappadocian kings. Ariarathes was a cousin to the Seleucid King Demetrius I, whom he made an enemy after refusing, at Rome's request, to marry Demetrius' sister Laodice V.

    Laodice was also the former wife of Antigonid King Perseus of Macedonia, whom the Romans had defeated. After a tussle with his brother, who was supported by Demetrius I Soter as the king - Ariarathes eventually took back control. This coin from the last year of his reign. After his death, his wife, Nysa poisoned 5 of his children, all boys, and only the infant who would become Ariarathes VI was saved.

    I think this coin has an excellent portrait and a family resemblance with your two Seleucid Kings.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
  8. Salaethus

    Salaethus Well-Known Member

    I've always been fond of this Nomos ΘOYPIΩN and its portrait of Athena:
    Thourioi, Lucania
    AR Nomos (20mm, 7.85g) c. 350-330 BCE
    O: Head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet decorated with Skylla; Φ on neckguard
    R: ΘOΥΡIΩN, Bull butting right; ΘE above, two tunny-fish in exergue
    SNG ANS 1078, SNG München 1199
  9. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    There are quite a few regions with minor kings with portrait coins. They include Kings of Pontus, the Bosporus, Bithynia, Lydian Satraps, Cappadocia, Sophene, Armenia, Kommagene, Parthia, Elymais, and Characene. There are also Sasanian Kings, Kings of Tarbistan, and Kings of the region of Afganistan and India with Iranian names. And, that list does not include many Hellenistic dynasties.

    To broaden the coverage of this thread, here is one different king from a minor kingdom:

    29 mm. 12.48 grams. Tetradrachm.
    King Attambelos I of Characene, 47/6-25/4 BC.
    His diademed head right.
    Naked Hercules seated left holding club nearly vertical.
    Legend in four lines (the fourth off the flan): BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ATTAMBHΛ /ΣΩTHPOΣ KAI EYΕPΓETOY (The deliverer and the benefactor)
    ΠΣ in exergue is year 270 = 43/42 BC.
    ex CNG 218, lot 326, in 2009.

    Let's keep the portraits coming!
  10. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Perhaps a bit further to the east Eukratides I Ar Tetradrachm 170-145 BC Baktra Mint? Obv. Bust right diademed and draped wearing a horned Boiotian helmet Rv. Dioskouroi on horseback charging right. HGC 131 16.92 grms 31 mm Photo by W. Hansen baktria14.jpeg
  11. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    What about a very late Hellenic portrait of a pirate, uhm king.

    Tarkondimotos, king of Eastern Cilicia. AE coin. Anazarbos mint, circa 39-31 B.C.
    Diademed head of Tarkondimotos I to right.
    Reverse: [ΒΑ]ΣΙΛΕΩΣ - ΤΑΡΚΟΝΔΙΜΟ/ΤΟΥ [ΦΙΛΑΝΤΩΝΙΟΥ] Zeus seated left, holding Nike in his right hand and scepter with his left.
    Reference: SNG Paris 1913-1916. Wright, New 1.
    8.05g; 22mm
  12. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    I do not know if there is an earlier portrait and I do not have one of these (ACSearch link provided), but am still hoping to find one mixed in with my change at the supermarket:
    Portrait of Tissaphernes Satrap of Lydia (445 BC – 395 BC)
  13. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Here is a portrait coin from the kingdom of Persis (southwest Iran during the Parthian period).


    Darius II (Darayan II). 1st C. BC.
    Drachm. 17 mm. 3.57 grams.
    van't Haaff 564.1-2.

    van't Haaff writes about coins of Persis, "Based on their coins 34 rulers have been identified, 25 with a name attributed to them."
  14. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    This is my earliest portrait coin

    Ionia, Achaemenid Period. Spithridates, Satrap of Lydia and Ionia, under Darius III. Circa 335-334 BC. AR Tetrobol (14mm, 2.97g). Head of satrap left, wearing Persian headdress / Forepart of Pegasos right, ΣΠI - ΘPI behind and below. BMC 18. Traité II 2, pl. LXXXIX, 1-3. L. Mildenberg, Vestigia Leonis, p. 9, pl. III, 26. W. Wroth, NC (1900), pp. 289-90, no. 23. H.A. Cahn, Revue des etudes anciennes 91 (1989), pp. 97-105. C. Harrison in: Oikistes. Studies in Honor of A.J. Graham (Leiden, 2002), pp. 301-319. J. Bodzek, Israel Numismatic Review 3 (2008). Extremely rare portrait of the satrap Spithridates.
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