MESOPOTAMIA, Adiabene. Natounia. AE22. 6.62g, 21.8mm. MESOPOTAMIA, Adiabene. Natounia, circa 2nd-1st centuries BC. CSE II 846; Hoover, Natounia Series 1, 1-7; Seyrig, Trésor 13a. O: Radiate and diademed of Helios-Shamash right. R: Rider (Arsu?) on camelback right, holding short staff in right hand; all within wreath border. Oliver Hoover in his paper The Camels of Natounia points out that the rider here may be Arsu, the pre-Islamic Arab god of the evening star. Arsu and his brother Azizu were worshipped in Syria and Mesopotamia as protectors of travelers on the caravan routes. While Azizu was more often shown on horseback, Arsu was typically depicted riding a camel. Arsu Riding a Camel, limestsone relief, circa 2nd century AD (Yale University Art Gallery) Another interesting theory raised in Hoover's paper is for the dating for the issue. While hoard data and the analysis of some overstruck examples narrow the dating to between 120-31 BC, Hoover suggests that the "sudden production" of bronze coinage at Natounia began specifically around 65 BC, when local change was required as trade opened up between locals and foreign soldiers of the Parthian and Roman armies that in turn occupied Adiabene in that year. If that were the purpose, the Natounians certainly came up with a distinctive type for their coins! Please feel free to share your pics of any related coins, coins with camels, or even better, pictures of you on a camel!