Achaemenid Persian Empire, Sardis mint. AR siglos (5.30 g). c. 510- 480 BC (temp. Darius I- Xerxes I). Obverse: Persian King kneeling right, drawing bow. Reverse: Incuse punch mark. Carradice Type II, Sunrise 21. This coin: Vauctions/Pegasi Sale 330, lot 174. This coin dates to a time and place where Greek and Persian civilizations clashed, in a series of battles that were critical in shaping the course of ancient history. The history of this time is well-documented by both ancient and modern historians, and my very brief summary below is only meant to goad you to seek out the full story. Read Herodotus, and then read one of the modern historical retellings of the story, which incorporate additional ancient documents and archaeological findings. (The movie "300" is entertaining, but not a very accurate retelling of events.) Darius I became King of Kings of the Persian Empire in 522 BC. Darius was an energetic military campaigner, and he crushed revolts in many parts of an empire that spanned three continents, from Thrace to Asia Minor, Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Iran, and east to the Indus River. He also fought against the nomadic Scythians in eastern Europe, and led a punitive expedition as far as the banks of the Volga. Within the empire, he initiated a vast system of roadways to link the empire, created a system of satraps to rule the enormous expanse of territory in his name, ordered construction of many new temples and other buildings, and issued a uniform coinage of gold darics and silver sigloi from the mint at Sardis in Lydia, where the Persians had apparently been introduced to the concept of coinage by the kings of Lydia. He was a devout worshipper of the Zoroastrian deity Ahura Mazda, but was tolerant of the many other religions in the empire and allowed them to flourish, even taking part in their rituals when doing so would not be considered impious by their adherents. At the start of the 5th century BC, some of the various city-states of Greece, led by Athens, were making trouble at the western edge of the empire, encouraging their fellow Greeks in Asia Minor to rebel against the Persians. This culminated in the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, where a vast Persian army was defeated by a Greek force led by Athens. Darius began planning a follow-up invasion but died in 486 BC, leaving the second part of the war to his son and successor, Xerxes I aka Xerxes the Great. After crossing the Hellespont on a pontoon bridge, the Persian army fought the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. Here, a small Greek force led by King Leonidas of Sparta was able to bottleneck the Persians for a while, but was ultimately defeated. Most of the population of Athens evacuated, leaving a skeleton force behind in the Acropolis that was soon overcome, and the Persians destroyed the city. However, at the Battle of Salamis the Greek fleet defeated the Persian navy, and Xerxes withdrew the bulk of his troops back to Asia Minor, perhaps fearing that the Greek fleet would try to destroy the pontoon bridge at the Hellespont and thus leave the Persian troops trapped. The remaining Persian troops in Greece were defeated the next year at Plataea, and the Persians made no further attempts to invade mainland Greece. Silver sigloi (and gold darics) were issued by the Achaemenid Persians for over two centuries, with only a few basic designs. As the coins lack inscriptions, they can only be dated approximately, usually overlapping two or more reigns. This type of siglos, with the full-length king drawing a bow, is attributed to the period 510-480 BC. It is noticeably scarcer than the two other main types, king with bow and spear/king with bow and dagger, which date to later periods. This is somewhat worn, but still a very collectible and historical coin. Post your Achaemenid coins here.