Featured Hormisdas

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Jochen1, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    Dear Friends!

    Sometimes it is worth to pay attention to Rome's enemies too. Here I share a drachm of the Sassanids, because I came across new and interesting historical stories being worth to be mentioned.

    The coin:
    Sassanid Empire, Hormizd II, AD 302-309.
    AR - drachm, 3.8g, 27.2mm, 90°
    obv. Legend in Pahlevi (abbreviated and bungled, from r. to l.):
    .ly. .KLM n.KLM [ydzmrhw'] ygb nsd [y?]zm
    (= The devotee of Mazdas, the devine Hormizd, the king of kings of Iran, who has descended from the gods)
    Bearded bust r., crown with eagle r., carrying in beak a pearl, above korymbos (Göbl Kronentyp I)
    rev. Fire altar, decorated with taenias, in the flames bearded bust of the Zoroastrian god Ahuramazda l.; at the l. side Hormizd with eagle crown and korymbos l., at the r. side bearded priest with mural crown, both wearing Turkish trousers and holding with both hands a sword (Göbl Revers 1a); on the base of the altar 3 globuli one above the other;
    behind legend in Pahlevi (abbreviated and bungled, clockwise from upper r. to l.): [ydzmrhw'] 'LWN (= The Fire of Hormizd)
    ref. cf. Göbl 83; cf. Mitchener ACW 867; cf. Paruck 176 (all with only 1 globulus)

    (1) The translation of the obv. legend from Pahlevi I owe T. K. Mallon from grifterrec, thanks!
    (2) This king appears too under the name of Hormuzd or Hormazd. I have decided to use Hormizd, because the Kleiner Pauly does it so.
    (3) The korymbos (not globus!) was the typical hairdo of the Sassanian kings. It was a globular binding of the head hair which then was covered by a silk cloth. Each Sassanian king has had his own crown. So it is easily possible to distinguish him from another one.

    Now to the story for which the coin was the entry point:

    We know that the Romans had problems on the northern border of the Empire with Germanic nations and on the south-east border with the Persians. The threat raised when the Sassanids take over the Persian Empire. Under their reign Persia not only grew militarily but it came to a cultural height too. You all know the low point of the Roman Empire when Valerian became captive of the Persian Greatking Shapur I. But like Rome which had to fight on different borders Persia too has enimies in the East, the Kushans and the Huns, which weakened the Empire so much that it became the booty of the Islamic Arabs at last.

    Hormizd was the name of five kings of the Sassanid dynasty - meaning 'given by Ormuzd (Ahuramazda)'. Hormizd II, son of Narseh, ruled seven years and five months, 302-309 AD. There is not much known about his reign. Aftrer his death, his son Adarnases soon was killed by the dignitaries of the Empire because of his cruel character; his second son, Hormizd, was captured and arrested and the throne was held free for one was his children with one of his concubines and who got the name Shapur II.

    Hormizd succeeded to fly from the prison by a trick of his wife and he fled to Constantine I the Great where he got asylum at his court (Zosim. II. 27, Johannes of Antiochia, Fr. r78; Zonar. 13.5). In Roman sources he appears as Hormisdas. Constantius II nominated him as leader of a cavalry regiment and he served in the campaign against the Persians. He accompanied Constantius AD 357 when he appeared in Rome. In AD 363 he was together with Julian II in Antiochia and it is said that Julian has wanted to make him king of Persia in place of his brother Shapur II. During Julian's Persian campaign Hormisdas accompanied him and by his language and the excellent geographical knowledge he was a big help for the Emperor.

    His son, named Hormisdas too, was made Proconsul Asiae by the usurper Procopius in 365 (Ammian. Marc. 26.8.12). He was assigned not only power but military power too and he fighted bravely against Valens. In 366 he was made Roman consul! About 380 he appears as general of emperor Theodosius (Zosim., Amm., Zonar., Joh. Ant., Liban.)

    This short summary shall show that the relations between Rome and his Persian enemy were much more complex than usually suggested! The close connection of these 2 Hormisdas with Rome may explain too why a Pope of the 6th century has shared the same name, a name that is for a Christian somewhat unusual.

    (1) Der Kleine Pauly
    (2) Page of the Iranian Assembly on the Internet
    (3) Wikipedia

    Best regards
    eparch, Chris B, cmezner and 18 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. LaCointessa

    LaCointessa Supporter! Supporter

    That coin is very cool and so is the history lesson. Do you own one of these? @Jochen ?
  4. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Fun write up and neat-O coin. I don't own any of him, but I do own a coin of his son of another name:
    CollageMaker Plus_2018111018046987.png

    Shapur II
    Sasanian Kingdom AD 309-379. Drachm AR
    23mm., 4,04g.
    Bust of Shapur II right, wearing mural crown with korymbos and inner ribbon / Fire altar with ribbon and bust right in flames, flanked by two attendants, each wearing mural crown with korymbos, legend on altar shaft.
    very fine. Former Savoca
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
  5. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    Dear LaCointessa, usually I write my articles only about coins in my collection. Otherwise I would mention it.

    Best regards
    kaparthy, Alegandron and LaCointessa like this.
  6. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    oa0600bb2927.jpg While we are accustomed to thorough coverage in Jochen's posts, this was a particularly good one due to all the links to Rome it included. I was previously unaware of the links involving Hormisdas the son and Theodosius. I find it particularly interesting how one can fight against Valens in one campaign and be honored by Theodosius. Politics was complicated then as now.
  7. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Fantastic coin @Jochen ! I only have a couple Sassanids, but none are Hormizd II's.

    I do have an AE version, as I always see folks only with AR versions:

    Sassanian Shapur I 240-272 CE AE Tetradrachm 10.78g 27mm Ctesiphon mint phase 1a mural crown korymbos - fire altar type 2 SNS IIa1-1a

    Captured Roman Empire's Valerian I, throwing the Empire into a tizzy...

    However, since I like the Republic's History, I focus on their adversaries also...especially the Carthaginian Empire:

    First Punic War:
    264-241 BCE

    Carthage Zeugitania First Punic War 264-241 BCE Double Shekel 26 mm 13.9 g Wreathed Tanit Horse stndng r star above SNG Cop 185 Rare

    Second Punic War:
    218-201 BCE

    Carthage mint 2nd Punic War 203-201 BCE BI 1½ Shekels 24mm 9.4 g Wrthd Hd Tanit - Horse stndng R hd L, raised foreleg Pellet SNG COP 394

    Third Punic War:
    149-146 BCE

    Carthage Third Punic War Serrate Double Shekel 149-146 BCE 12.8g 26mm Wreathd Tanit-Horse pellet raised leg SNG COP 404
    (Last series of coins minted by Carthage... no, not that Roman Colony called "Carthage" during the Empire, the REAL Carthage, as in the Carthagenian Empire)
    Marsyas Mike, Ryro, Chris B and 8 others like this.
  8. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Very nice write-up @Jochen ! I'm pretty sure a hoard of Hormazd II drachms hit the market a few years ago- I remember them being a lot scarcer than they are today. I don't have a photo of my own Hormazd II drachm, but here is an obol (scarce as is all Sasanian fractional silver) of Shapur II:
    Shahpur II obol.jpg
    Marsyas Mike, Ryro, Pellinore and 4 others like this.
  9. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one step at a time Supporter

    @Jochen it has taken me a while to find your excellent post on the complex Roman-Sassanian relationships. Thank you for sharing, your post adds to my historical context for this recently acquired drachm of Hormizd II.
    Sassanian Empire, Hormizd II, AD 303-309
    AR Drachm
    Obv: Bearded bust right wearing eagle crown surmounted by korymbos
    Rev: Fire altar flanked by attendants, bust left in altar flames
    Size: 3.35g 27.8mm
    Ref: Sunrise-815
  10. Kimberly Cross

    Kimberly Cross New Member

    Pretty sure I have a 2001 penny that's been either struck at mint by the class clown or someone hammered this coin into the penny. That said I have seen only 2 other ppl describe this same error in the same spots. Can anyone give me info plz
  11. LaCointessa

    LaCointessa Supporter! Supporter

    Welcome to CoinTalk @Kimberly Cross.

    You've posted your question in the ancient coin section. Please go on over to this link and post your question. Please do not forget to include well-lit, clear photographs of your coin (front and back). Our CT experts will go and look and give you their opinions.
  12. Kimberly Cross

    Kimberly Cross New Member

    Ty LaCointessa I will surely have to do that soon
  13. Monstermommy

    Monstermommy Member

    I wonder,were concubines common with the elite?I know its not about the coin,except in a round about way
  14. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    The dots on the fire alter can vary. I have seen more than one dot before, though never paid attention to how many Mitchiner or anyone else had.

    This is one of the coins I referred to in another discussion about hoards. About 10 years ago what must have been a massive hoard of his hit the market. It has taken about 9 years for it to fully disperse, so it must have been quite large. I used the opportunity to acquire nice examples at good prices whenever I could. I am not sure of the exact number, but must own 15-20 examples due to buying in to this hoard over the years. Its one of the longest hoard dispersals I have ever seen, usually they hit the market and are gone in 6 months or so.

    What was so interesting about the hoard was the condition. I try to be a strict grader, but there were many gXF coins to be had. I admit, I got snobby and turned my nose up at VF examples, since the XFs were so available. They must have been deposited right from the mint into a container in the ground. It probably still is the cheapest early Sassanian coin to be had, but I will wager in another decade that will probably not be the case. Shapur I used to be the easiest early Sassanid to find until this hoard. For those wanting how to differentiate the best versions of the issue, besides typical strike and wear, concentrate on the eagle on his head. The best examples have well defined eagles.

    I also believe this is the first time Ahura-mazda was depicted in the flames on the fire alter in Sassanian coinage.
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page