Sulla and Mithridates

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Sulla80, Jul 28, 2019.

  1. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Mithridates.JPG Continuing from my last thread, Sulla went off to fight Mithridates after damaging the Roman republic with his attack on Rome and the senate. He reclaimed from Marius the right to lead Roman legions against Rome's formidable ememy: Mithridates.

    Mithridates, king of Pontus, seized Asia and put to death all Roman citizens in it. He was a man about whom one cannot speak except with concern nor yet pass by in silence; he was ever eager for war, of exceptional bravery, always great in spirit and sometimes in achievement, in strategy a general, in bodily prowess a soldier, in hatred to the Romans a Hannibal.
    -Velleius writing from a later perspective during the time of Augustus

    Here are two non-Roman coins and one Roman Republican coin from relevant leaders of this time.
    Mithradates VI Pontos.jpg
    Pontos, Amisos Mithradates VI, Circa 120-63 BC, Æ 23mm
    Obv: Head of Mithradates VI, as Perseus, right
    Rev: Pegasos standing left, drinking; AMISOU, monogram below

    While Sulla was fighting to the east, Marius returned to Rome - taking control of Rome with Cinna and exiling Sulla. This was not an easy period for the citizens of Rome:

    “Then Gaius Marius entered the city, and his return was fraught with calamity for the citizens. No victory would ever have exceeded his in cruelty had Sulla's not followed soon afterwards.”

    Despite being seriously outnumbered, Sulla won several important victories against the Pontic armies. Impatient to get back to Rome, he agreed a treaty with Mithridates that would allow the conflict with Mithridates to resume in a short period of time:

    "...terms of agreement were made as follows: Mithridates was to renounce Asia and Paphlagonia, restore Bithynia to Nicomedes and Cappadocia to Ariobarzanes, pay down to the Romans two thousand talents, and give them seventy bronze-armoured ships with their proper equipment; Sulla, on his part, was to confirm Mithridates in the rest of his dominions, and get him voted an ally of the Romans."
    -Plutarch Life of Sulla 22

    Ariobarzanes Cappadocia.jpg
    Kings of Cappadocia, Ariobarzanes I, Philoromaios AR Drachm, 84/83 BC
    Obv: Diademed head right.
    Rev: BAΣIΛEΩΣ APIOBAPZANOY ΦIΛOPΩMAIOY/ IΓ, Athena standing left, holding shield, spear and Nike.

    Marius didn’t last long in his seventh consulship, as he was overcome by illness and died a few weeks in, on January 13th, 86 BC at the age of 70. Plutarch writes that some claimed Marius fell ill from sleepless nights, and drinking to combat his anxiety that Sulla was coming back to Rome. Others claim that on his deathbed he still lamented the ambitions he had yet to achieve. His son Marius the Younger would be consul by the time Sulla returned to Rome.

    An L. Valerius Flaccus completed Marius' term as consul in 86 BC. He was the cousin of the older L. Valerius Flaccus who minted this RR coin in 108-107 BC and who had been consul in 100 BC.
    L Valerius Flaccus 2.jpg
    L. Valerius Flaccus, AR Denarius
    Rome, 108-107 BC
    Obv: Draped bust of Victory right; below chin, XVI monogram
    Rev: Mars advancing left, holding spear and trophy; apex before, grain ear behind, L VALERI - FLACCI in two lines downward in left field.
    Ref: Crawford 306/1; RSC Valeria 11

    This older L. Valerius Flaccus would also play a key role in the return of Sulla, proposing his appointment as dictator. Before then there would many more battles in which the younger L. Valerius Flaccus and consuls from the next years would be killed.

    Additions, corrections and commentary are always appreciated. Share your coins, non-Roman or Roman, from leaders during the first Mithridatic war or anything else you find interesting.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
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  3. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Mithradates VI of Pontus Ar Tetradrachm Pergamon 74 A.D. Rv Stag grazing l within wreath De Callatry D 61/- 16.83 grms 32 mm pontic5.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
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  4. Alegandron

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

    Nice write up and great coins @Sulla80 .

    PONTOS Amisos 85-65 BCE Æ24 12.2g Mithradates VI as Perseus r Phrygian helmet Pegasos grazing l Malloy 33b HGC 7 239

    RR L VALERIUS FLACCUS AR Denarius 108-107 BCE Rome Winged draped bust Victory r X - Mars stndg spear trophy apex grain ear Crawford 306-1 Sear 183

    RR Manlius Torquatus L. Corn Sulla 82 BCE AR den 17mm 3.7g Mil mint w Sulla. Roma - Sulla triumphal quadriga vict wreath Cr 367-3 Syd 759 S 286

    MARIUS - Celebrating Marius’ Victories...
    Roman Republic Anon AR Quinarius 81 BC Apol MARIUS - GAUL Victory var 2 i S 305 Cr 373-1b

    RR Lucilius Rufus 101 BCE Ar Den Roma Biga Marius Victories S 202 Cr 324-1
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  5. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    Great write up and coins on one of my favorite times to learn about!
    Here's some of my favs of the period:


    Mithradates VI Eupator
    PONTOS, Amisos. Circa 85-65 BC. Æ 20mm (7.98 g, 12h). Helmeted head of Ares(?) right / Sword in sheath; monograms flanking. SNG BM Black Sea 1154-5; SNG Copenhagen 150. VF
    Former Savoca

    A fun double struck mint error


    Mithradates VI Eupator
    Pontus, Amisos. 120-63 BC. AE19 (8.11 gm) 85-65 BC. Head of Gorgon on aegis / Nike standing with palm. SNG.BM.1177v. VF,

    I've always had a crush on the beautiful version of Victory


    Denarius 108 or 107, AR 3.97 g. Draped bust of Victory r.; below chin, Ú. Rev. L•VALERI / FLACCI Mars walking l., holding spear and trophy over l. shoulder; before, apex and behind, corn ear. Babelon Valeria 11. Sydenham 565. Crawford 306/1.


    L. Sulla and L. Manlius Torquatus
    82 BC. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.8 g). Military mint traveling with Sulla. Helmeted head of Roma right / Sulla driving triumphal quadriga right; above, crowning Victory flying left.
    As consul for the year 88 BC, Sulla was awarded the coveted assignment of suppressing the revolt of Mithradates VI of Pontus, but political maneuvers resulted in this assignment being transferred to Marius. In response, Sulla turned his army on Rome,!
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  6. Pavlos

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

    Very nice coins, and I like these kind of write ups with a story line including multiple coins and quotes from books.

    This is my favorite coin from Mithridates VI:
    Mithridates VI Amisos Bronze Coin (80 - 70 BC)
    Head of Perseus right, wearing Phrygian helmet.
    Reverse: AMIΣOY, Pegasus grazing or drinking left, monograms below and left.
    11.01g; 23mm
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  7. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter


    As always, great coins - here's another one for quinarius fans.
    C Fundanius Quinarius.jpg
    C. Fundanius, 101 BC, AR Quinarius, Rome mint, 14mm, 1.88g
    Obv: Laureate head of Jupiter right; behind control mark, border of dots
    Rev: Victory standing right holding palm branch in left hand, and with right crowning trophy, beside which stands carnyx; before which kneels a Gallic captive with hands tied behind back; on right C FUNDA upwards, in exergue Q, border of dots.
    Ref: Crawford 326/2; Fundania 2.
    Crawford writes: "The Gallic carnyx...makes the reverse type as a whole a clear reference to Marius' victories over the Cimbri and Teutones".

    Thank you! I can see why that coin is your favorite - the reverse in particular is very sharp.
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  8. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    The only coin I can contribute is this one of the young king Ariarathes IX Eusebes Philopator, who was one of the sons of Mithridates VI. In 101 BC, Mithridates installed Ariarathes as the King of Cappadocia when he was just 8 years old. He was essentially just a puppet ruler during his reign, and when the deal with Rome was made to put Ariobarzanes I into power, Ariarathes was deposed and replaced. He managed to get reinstated as a disputed king a few years later before being deposed again, and ultimately died in battle under his father a couple years later. Not a particularly important figure in this story, but still an interesting one.


    Kings of Cappadocia. Ariarathes IX Eusebes Philopator 101-96 BC.
    AR Drachm, (18mm, 3.94g.)
    Diademed head right, with the features of Mithradates VI of Pontos / Athena Nikephoros standing left, monogram to inner left, Δ (date) in exergue.
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  9. ominus1

    ominus1 When in Rome, do as the Romans do Supporter

    kool..i have the economy version, but a bronze of(by) Mithridates VI no less :) mithradates vi 002.JPG mithradates vi 003.JPG
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