Sasanian Empire: silver drachm of Khosrow II, struck ca. 615-616 AD

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by lordmarcovan, Sep 19, 2021.


How interesting/appealing do you find this coin, whether or not you're an expert? (1=worst, 10=best)

  1. 10

    2 vote(s)
  2. 9

    5 vote(s)
  3. 8

    11 vote(s)
  4. 7

    7 vote(s)
  5. 6

    4 vote(s)
  6. 5

    1 vote(s)
  7. 4

    1 vote(s)
  8. 3

    0 vote(s)
  9. 2

    0 vote(s)
  10. 1

    0 vote(s)
  1. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Sasanian Empire: silver drachm of Khosrow II, struck ca. 615-616 AD
    Obverse: Bust of Khosrow II right, wearing winged crown.
    Reverse: Fire altar with ribbons and attendants; star and crescent flanking flames.
    Issuer: Khosrow II Parviz, Sasanian king (shah) of Persia (590-628 AD). Spellings of his name vary.
    Specifications: Silver, 30 mm, 4.1 g, die rotation 9h. Struck at LD (Ray) mint, dated with regnal year 25 (615-616 AD).
    Grade: Choice Very Fine.
    Reference: SC Tehran 2784-6.
    Provenance: Ex-JAZ Numismatics Auction #181, Lot 12, 23 April 2021. Prior provenance to the @arnoldoe Collection.
    Notes: Khosrow II, nicknamed "the Victorious", was the last great Sasanian king shah of Persia (Iran). He ruled from 590 to 628 AD, interrupted for a year by the usurpation of Bahram Chobin during a period of civil wars. Five years after his death, in 633 AD, the Muslim conquest of Persia began.
    Comments: This was my second Sasanian coin. My first, also a Khosrow II drachm, had nice grey toning but a tighter (clipped) flan. This one seemed pretty attractive to me, though as of this writing I still know very little about Sasanian history or coins.

    02-Sasanian-black.png 03-Sasanian-gradient.png 04-Sasanian-white.png 05-Sasanian-coinscape.png 06-Sasanian-obv.png 07-Sasanian-rev.png

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  3. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Dear Ancient forum friends: do kindly check my writeup for errors. It is difficult (though educational) for me to create these when I'm venturing into the unknown. And I'd say that's definitely the case here, since I'm a completely green novice with Sasanian coins, as mentioned in the comments.
    +VGO.DVCKS, Ryro and Curtisimo like this.
  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Nice example but he's common enough to get nice ones.

    Chosroes II (Khusro II) (591-628 A.D.)
    Sasanian Empire
    AR Drachm
    O: GDH apzwt | hwslwb
    Facing bust, head right, wearing winged crown with star and crescent, inside double dotted-border, crescents with stars at 3, 6 and 9 o'clock.
    R: sycsyh | RD
    Fire altar with two attendants standing facing, both hands on sword hilt, crescents on heads, all inside triple dotted-border, crescents with stars at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o'clock.
    Year 33 (622/623)
    LYW for Rev-Ardashir
    Göbl SN, Xusro II, IIb/3 (Plate XIII/211-215); Valentine 50
  5. Spaniard

    Spaniard Supporter! Supporter

    @lordmarcovan......I do collect Sassanian coinage and would say the OP is a very nice example!....Good clear mint and date so no uncertainty there, also the diameter hasn't been clipped all in all a great looking example ...Congrats.

    Here's one of mine with a difficult to find mint..
    Khusro II AR Drachm.
    Bust right, wearing mural crown with frontal crescent, two wings, and star-in-crescent, ribbons and crescents on shoulders; monogram behind head, stars flanking crown, double border, star-in-crescents in margin.

    Fire altar with ribbons; flanked by two attendants; date in Pahlavi to left, mint to right.
    SK (SISTAN, Zarang) mint, dated RY 37 (AD 628).

    Göbl II/3, Pl. no. 212. 4.14g, 33mm, 2h.Extremely Fine.

  6. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Thank you kindly.
    +VGO.DVCKS and Spaniard like this.
  7. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    Excellent example! We know frustratingly little about most of these guys, but since he was the last great Sassanian king we know a bit about Khusro II *edit

    His dad was Hormizd IV

    He lost his crown after just a year, but thanks to the help of Roman emperor Maurice (who spoke of the pometuse of love) he was installed back in his thrown and would rule a total of 38 long years (my Phocus is struck over po Mo):

    Ps, my favorite background of yours is Khusro in space!!!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  8. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Excellent Steve Miller Band lyric reference! :p (I thought it was "pompatus", though). ;)

    Thanks for the feedback on the image backgrounds. Thanks to the folks on this forum, I discovered, and it's great. I usually do one black, one white, one in between (grey gradient- which is my standard), and then a fourth which I call the "coinscape". Sometimes it's something scenic, and sometimes it's just like the stars up there.

    Just a fourth background purely for fun, y'know. Sometimes they're a bit too busy-looking, but eh... why not, right?





  9. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    For the record, I voted 8 in the poll above. Looks like this coin is doing OK in the popularity contest against itself. The majority so far seem to have also voted 8 like I did.
    +VGO.DVCKS and Curtisimo like this.
  10. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    @lordmarcovan : Yes, your attribution is correct for both mint (LD, Rayy) and regnal year (25) of Khusro II. If you want to learn more about Sasanian history, a good recent book is "Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire" by Touraj Daryaee. If you don't mind Victorian-era writing style (and some outdated information), George Rawlinson (who wrote a major book about the Parthians, "The Sixth Great Oriental Monarchy") also wrote a volume on Sasanian history, titled (predictably enough) "The Seventh Great Oriental Monarchy". There's an inexpensive modern reprint available, if you don't want to seek out the antique original.

    @Ryro : I think you added the wrong photo at the to of your post, the first coin you show is an anonymous hemidrachm of the Abbasid Governors of Tabaristan, not a drachm of Khusro II as I think you intended to post.
  11. Spaniard

    Spaniard Supporter! Supporter

    @Ryro......I'm sure you know but just making sure you realise your 1st coin post isn't Khusro II....
  12. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Cribbed from @John Anthony's description. That's why it's correct. ;)

    Had I been the one doing the attribution, it might've read something like:

    Good to have confirmation, though! Thanks! :)
  13. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    @lordmarcovan it looks good but it seems that the strike on the reverse is weak, maybe it is the picture? that's why I voted 7.
    Got this one a while ago:

    32.27 mm, 4.057 g
    Gayy/ Jayy (GD), Isfahan, Dated RY 37 (626 /7 AD). Khosrau was murdered in 628 AD
    Göbl type II/3; Alram 917
    Ob.: ' pzwt GDH - Afzud xwarrah hwsrwb - Husraw (May the royal Glory increase Khusru) Bust of King right, wearing elaborate eagle-winged crown, within double border decorated with crescent and a six-pointed star fixed on the vertical bar; the two wings are fixed to the bar going out from the rim. Crescent and six pointed stars at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock
    Rev.: Zoroastrian fire altar an "atasdan" with a capitellum and plates, near which two attendants wearing headdresses stand facing ahead, with star and crescent flanking altar flames, all within triple rim decorated with stars and crescent at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock. Pahlavi legend: to the left - the year of his reign; to the right - the mint

  14. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    Thanks @Parthicus and @Spaniard :shame: wish I could say it was intentional. I upgraded my Khussy twossy and thought that was it. I cannot find the upgrade, so sadly, until I get home I'll have to share my original chewed up coin. That's what I get posting from phone team:bucktooth:
  15. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    That’s a sharp one!

    It should be mentioned that I was the photographer for the pix in the OP, with all the limitations that definitely implies.
    +VGO.DVCKS and Spaniard like this.
  16. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Excellent coin @lordmarcovan from an important ruler! I wrote a bit about my research into this coin here. I think all of your backgrounds are fun!

    Here is my example for Khusro II.
    Sasanian Empire
    Khusro II (AD 590 – 628)
    AR Drachm, BBA mint (court mint), Regnal year 30, struck ca. AD 619 / 620
    Obv.: Pahlavi script at left and right. Khusro bust facing, head right, wearing winged crown with star and crescent, inside double dotted border, crescent and stars at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock.
    Rev.: Date (left) and mint mark (right). Fire altar with two attendents, inside triple dotted border, crescent and stars at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock.
    Ref.: Göbl SN type II
    Ex Sallent Collection, Ex JAZ Numismatics, Ex Aegean Numismatics
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  17. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    Alright, I can't find a pick so I thought it'd be fun to share my Sassanians in their natural habitat. Khusro II is third from the left with that sweet old cabinet toning:
    20210919_124926.jpg 20210919_125028.jpg
  18. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Wow, his beard texture there looks like an extra set of teeth! Khusro the Shark! :nailbiting: Cool!

    Nice writeup in the link, as usual.

    Wow! Impressive tray!

    I'd spill it (or one of the cats would), if I had something like that.

    Is that a little Celtic quarter-stater in the top row?
    +VGO.DVCKS, Ryro and Curtisimo like this.
  19. Spaniard

    Spaniard Supporter! Supporter

    @Ryro.......Hmmmmm nice Jaga Deva!
    +VGO.DVCKS and Ryro like this.
  20. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate!

    I’m not into Sassanians and know very little about them, but if I ever wanted to have a drachm I wouldn’t mind something like yours @lordmarcovan .

    That being said, I do have one Sassanian. That is, if you count the Egyptian occupation (618-628 AD) issues as “Sassanian” coins.

    Khosrau II, Sassanian Empire
    AE 12 nummi
    Obv: Facing bust of Khusru II, beardless, wearing chlamys and crown surmounted by a cross; star to left, crescent to right
    Rev: Cross potent on globe, I to left, B to right
    Mint: Alexandria
    Mintmark: ALEZ
    Date: 618-628 AD
    Ref: SB 855


    One of the best-looking Byzantine tremisses I’ve seen. If you ever get tired of it… :D.
  21. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    I have a number of drachms of Khusro II (his are the most common Sasanian coins). Here's an especially nice example, also from Rayy, Year 30:
    Khusro II Rayy 30.jpg
    Fun fact: Rayy was known in Parthian times as Rhagae and was a major mint city for the Parthians. The city has since been absorbed by the ever-expanding city of Tehran.

    Sasanian bronze is a lot scarcer than the silver drachms. Here is a bronze pasha of Khusro II:
    Khusro II pashiz.jpg
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