Featured Seleucus II Callinicus Teradrachm

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Magnus Maximus, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Few rulers in history had the deck stacked against them so lopsidedly as Seleucus II Callinicus had.
    Seleucus II was the firstborn son of Antiochus II and Laodice I and was born in 265 BCE. One failure of Antiochus II was in his inability to induct his oldest son into government duties early on as had been the tradition dating from Seleucus I. Under an ideal circumstance, Antiochus II would have lived a long life and would have had decades to prepare young Seleucus II for the throne. Unfortunately, Antiochus II died at the age of 40, while leaving an unexperienced 19-year-old son to deal with a confusing dynastic situation.

    Almost immediately after Antiochus II's death in 246, partisans of his first wife, Laodice I, had his second wife and five-year old son murdered in Antioch. This was unfortunate as his second wife, Bernice, was the sister to the Egyptian King Ptolemy III. It didn't take long for the Egyptians to hear about the murder and begin marching toward Antioch to avenge her. The Seleucids fared horribly in the ensuing Third Syrian war; records show that Ptolemy III's forces reached all the way to Seleucia and Babylon. Seleucus II managed to dislodge the Ptolemies from the old capital but was unable to push any further. A stalemate soon occurred and it very well looked like the Seleucids were to permanently lose all their Syrian holdings. If not for a native Egyptian revolt against their Hellenic overlords, this scenario would have likely occurred. In addition to fighting a losing war to Ptolemy III, Seleucus II also had to face large rebellion in the eastern part of his empire that peeled away much of the territory there.

    Peace was finally reached with Ptolemy III in 241 BCE, thanks in large part to the local Egyptian revolt, Seleucus II gained back part of Syria with exception of a number of vital coastal towns. For reasons unknown and incomprehensible, Seleucus II's mother, Laodice I, supported his younger brother Antiochus Hierax against his rule. Antiochus, with the backing of a number of Anatolian states, managed to wrestle control of the region from Seleucus and declared himself King. Antiochus scored a number of victories against Seleucus and a stalemate on this front soon occurred. Seleucus II then tried his hand at reigning in the rebellious eastern satraps, but the results were at best mixed: Parthia and Bactria remained independent.

    After his failures in the east, Seleucus II returned to Seleucia and crushed an insurrection started by his rebellious younger brother. Though ultimately his brother's rebellion was not ended by him but by Attalus I of Pergamon who defeated the young usurper in 226 BCE. Antiochus Hierax was killed by robbers in Thrace; he died poor and destitute.
    With all the immediate threats to his Kingdom dealt with, Seleucus II planed an expedition to retake his former holdings from Atalus I of Pergamon but died suddenly in 225 BCE after being thrown from a horse. Seleucus II was 40 years old and was succeeded by his oldest son, Seleucus III.

    In 246 BCE the preeminent ancient super power was without a doubt the Seleucid Empire. Antiochus II, Seleucus II's father, had won large amounts of territory and treasure from the Ptolemies of Egypt and the future looked bright for the Seleucids. Flash forward to 226 BCE: after twenty years of continuous war and rebellion the Seleucid state was in a state of near collapse. If one judges Seleucus II from that lens it is clear that he was an absolute failure. However I tend to be a bit more lenient on him. Seleucus II was only 19 when he took power and had no military or civil experience when he was thrust into war stared by his mother's political intrigues. Furthermore Seleucus II had to deal with a rebellion of his younger brother started by his own mother. I can't think many historical leaders who have been placed in that situation. Regardless, the greatest achievement of Seleucus II would be his youngest son, Antiochus III the Great!

    Coins of Seleucus II are not rare by any means but they are much less common than his father's and his son's issues. Unlike a large amount of his father's coins which continue to portray Antiochus I, we know for a fact that Seleucus II is being portrayed on his coins. So with out further delay, here is an lovely tetradrachm of Seleucus II Callinicus.

    Seleucus II Callinicus, 246-226 BC Chr. AR tetradrachm inc. in northern Syria or northern Mesopotamia Vs .: head with diadem from right, back: Apollon stands with arrow on tripod from left, monogram Houghton / Lorber 724.1 on left inside; Newell, WSM 990. 17.18 g.

    A reduced Seleucid state


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    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
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  3. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate! Supporter

    Cool pickup and history MagMax! I have nothing related to Seleucus II to share so here’s a gif of approval :D

    Magnus Maximus likes this.
  4. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Here's a not so great drachm of Seleukos II:
    Seleukos II Kallinikos. 246-225 BC. AR Drachm (4.1 gm, 1h, 19mm). Magnesia(?) mint. Obv: Diademed head right. Rev: Apollo Delphios standing left, leaning on tripod; monograms to outer left and right. SC 669.1; HGC 9, 307a
  5. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Here is a coin of Seleucus II oldest son, Seleucus III. Seleucus III reigned for about 2 years and died at the ripe old age of 20.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
    Roman Collector, Ajax, PeteB and 8 others like this.
  6. Cachecoins

    Cachecoins Historia Moneta

    Fine example...they had some of the greatest portrait engravers imo
    Magnus Maximus likes this.
  7. Xodus

    Xodus Well-Known Member

    It looks like he's peeing lol
  8. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    A very informative write-up and great tet too.

    I have a worn and stripped AE from this ruler. After I got it, I had no idea what it was, but I got help attributing it from David@PCC (thanks David!)


    Seleucid - Seleukos II Neptune & Quad June 2019 (0).jpg

    Seleucid Kingdom Æ 16
    Seleukos II Kallinikos
    (246-226 B.C.)
    Unknown Asian mint

    Head of Poseidon right, crowned with kelp, trident behind / [BA]ΣIΛE[ΩΣ] [Σ]EΛEYK[OY] Nike in fast quadriga right.
    SC Ad28; HGC 9, 353 (R2)
    (4.51 grams / 16 x 14 mm)

    "The second image is found on a bronze coin from an unattributed western mint which was probably coastal as the obverse image depicts of Poseidon crowned with kelp facing right with a tiny trident behind him. The reverse features Nike holding a wreath in a quadriga (Figure 125).99 This image has clear associations with a naval victory. The image of Poseidon was rare on Seleucid coins before Seleucus II and therefore must either be an image created for local concerns or
    commemorate a specific event, but the event remains unknown."

    99 Houghton and Lorber 2002: no. 738. (p. 177)

    Kyle Glenn Erickson, The Early Seleucids, Their Gods and Their Coins
    Ajax, David@PCC, PeteB and 6 others like this.
  9. Xodus

    Xodus Well-Known Member

    The mullet on that guy.. wow!
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  10. TheRed

    TheRed Supporter! Supporter

    What a great write up and tetradrachm of poor Seleucus II @Magnus Maximus. You picked up a wonderful coin. About the only positives to be said of him are that he tried really hard to restore the empire and he fathered Antiochos III.
    Magnus Maximus likes this.
  11. Pavlos

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

    Very nice tetradrachm @Magnus Maximus, of nice style and condition.
    And yea... like @TheRed said, luck was not really his second name.
    TheRed and Magnus Maximus like this.
  12. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Seleukos II Ar Tetradrachm. 246-242 B.C. Obv. Head right diademed. Rv Apollo Delphios standing left SC 645 HGC 303c 16.56 grms 27 mm Photo by W. Hansen SKseleukosII-3.jpg
  13. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    @TheRed and @Pavlos
    I plan to do a ranking of all the Seleucid kings in the 200’s BCE, when I post the Antiochus III coin. Spoiler: Seleucus II won’t rank very high.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  14. Ajax

    Ajax Well-Known Member

    Nice coin and write up @Magnus Maximus.
    SELEUKID EMPIRE. Seleukos II Kallinikos. 246-225 BC. AR Tetradrachm (27mm, 16.39 g, 12h). Sardes mint. Struck circa 246-245/2 BC. Diademed head right, with curly sideburn / Apollo standing left, testing arrow and leaning on tall tripod; monograms to inner left and inner right. SC 654.4; HGC 9, 303g
  15. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Lovely coin!
    Ajax likes this.
  16. philologus_1

    philologus_1 Well-Known Member

    Forgive the low quality auction image, but...
    Seleukos II, Tetradrachm
    Antioch on the Orontes
    Seleucus portrait
    Apollo leaning on tripod, legend on either side
    27 mm. 16.96 gr.
    SC_689.4. S6896. Hoover 303p.
    (FSR auction, August 2016)
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