The Great King of the East

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Pavlos, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. Pavlos

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

    Probably the thread name is a bit exaggerating to me about which person we are talking here, but he, Timarchos, says he is so I guess it must be true then :rolleyes:.

    So who is Timarchos? Timarchos was a Greek nobleman, possibly from Miletos in Asia Minor. He was appointed Governor of Media in western Iran when Antiochos IV Epiphanes became king in 175 BC, his brother Herakleides became treasurer at Antioch, the 'capital' of the Seleukid Empire.

    Antiochos IV Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.) AR Drachm. Ekbatana mint, struck ca. 173-164 B.C.
    Diademed head right.
    Reverse: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ (“of King Antiochos”). Apollo seated left on omphalos, testing arrow, resting hand on bow; to outer left, horse head left; in exergue, ΔΚ.
    Reference: SC 1548; HGC 9, 623.
    3.99g; 18mm

    To make it short, in the western parts of the Seleukid kingdom, that is, in Syria, Koile Syria, Mesopotamia, and Kilikia, Lysias, the Govenor of Syria had been governing since the departure of Antiochos IV to the east in late 166 BC or perhaps early 165 BC. Lysias had with him the joint-king and son of Antiochos IV, Antiochos V, who became the sole king in 164 BC. He was about 10-years-old when his father died, during the so called Maccabean Revolt (because his father forced the Jews to worship the Greek gods) and so Lysias continued to govern, but now in the new king’s name, as his regent.


    Demetrios I, son of Seleukos IV, had been in Italy since the early 170s as captive, before his father died. During the reign of his uncle he had not apparently made any attempt to return to Syria or to claim the throne which he, as he made clear later, felt should be his. It would have been suicidal to arrive in Syria to make the claim while Antiochos IV was in control. Until... Antiochos IV’ died, and his position changed. A plot was organized which allowed Demetrios to apparently disappear from Rome on a hunting expedition for several days, something he was in the habit of doing.

    On landing at Tripolis, Demetrios at once put on a diadem, so proclaiming himself king. In Antioch the troops, under whose command we do not know, arrested Lysias, King Antiochos V, and his even younger brother and set out to bring them to Demetrios. He sent a message that he did not want to meet them, and the troops obediently killed all three.
    Demetrios I Soter (162-150 B.C.) AR Drachm. Ekbatana mint, 155-150 B.C.
    Diademed head right of Demetrios I right.
    Reverse: BAΣIΛEΩΣ - ΔHMHTPIOY / ΣΩTHPOΣ (“of King Demetrios the Saviour”) Apollo seated left on omphalos, holding arrow in his right hand and resting his left on grounded bow.
    Reference: SC 1735.5.
    4.13g; 17mm

    Herakleides, the treasurer at Antioch, seems to have been one of those officials who refused to serve Demetrios. As a result he had to go into exile, but his brother Timarchos had substantial armed forces under his control. Timarchos advanced with some care and deliberation. He can be traced first as Governor of Media, then in Babylonia, where he minted coins in his own name, and thereby claimed the royal title "Great King". At some point he contacted Rome, he is supposed to have bribed the senators and he received an ambiguous decree of recognition in return. Alternatively his brother Herakleides went to Rome on his behalf and secured the decree.

    Timarchos (164-161 B.C.), Usurper. AE, Denomination B (Double), Ekbatana mint.
    Diademed head of Timarchos right
    Reverse: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΤΙΜΑΡΧΟΥ (“of Great King Timarchos”), Nike advancing left, holding wreath and palm branch.
    Reference: SC 1596.
    9.42g; 18mm

    Eventually he faced Demetrios’ army and was defeated. He is said by Diodoros to have marched as far west as the Euphrates crossing at Seleukeia-Zeugma, which was perhaps where the battle took place. It seems that it was not until 160 BC, perhaps early in that year, that Timarchos was finally defeated.

    After he was defeated, Demetrios deliberately overstruck the tetradrachms of Timarchos with the beautiful portrait of him and his sister-wife Laodike IV.
    (not mine ofcourse).

    Post your coins of Antiochos IV, V, Demetrios I and Timarchos (and any other Seleukid usurper), or anything you feel is relevant!
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    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Fantastic write-up and coins, @Pavlos. In that order, from here, merely as a concession to my own ignorance, which until now was total.
    Pavlos likes this.
  4. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member


    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @Only a Poor Old Man, from here, this one is great, especially since even my 'Coin Greek' (leaning Heavily on proper nouns and titles) is adequate to everything but the mint mark (?) in the left field.
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  6. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Very good write up!
    Antiochus IV’s early demise really doomed the Seleucids in the long run. I’m currently finishing up reading about Demetrius II, and I can feel my brain melting from the sheer incompetence of the later Seleucids.

    Relevant coins to your post:

    Seleucus IV

    Seleucus IV AR tetradrachm. 187-175 BC. Antioch mint. 17.1 g. Diademed head right. / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣEΛEYKOY, Apollo seated left on omphalos, holding bow and arrow. Filleted palm branch.

    Antiochus IV
    Seleucid Kings, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 175-164 Antiochia Tetradrachm circa 168-164, AR 32 mm. 16.2 gm. Obv: Diademed head r. Rev: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY ΘEOY EΠIΦANOYΣ NIKEΦOPOY, Zeus Nikephoros seated l.; monogram to outer l. SC 1400. Attractive find patina.

    Demetrius I
    1BA2F5BC-D83F-461A-BB05-EF50AED8A8AA.jpeg BBFB75B8-20DD-4238-AA5B-F0B20F538D4F.jpeg
    Demetrius I Soter AR Tetradrachm
    Diademed head right, within wreath
    BASILEWS DHMHTRIOU, Tyche holding scepter and cornucopia, seated left on throne supported by tritoness, monogram to outer left SC 1634
    Antioch mint
    161-150 BCE
    Diameter 32 mm.
    16.1 grams
    Ex Stephen Glover Collection and ValiantKnight collection.
  7. Pavlos

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

    Great tetradrachm of Demetrios I!

    Yes after Antiochos IV it went downhill. Demetrios II was incompotent en cruel, it is going to be more fun after Antiochos VII.
    Thanks for sharing your amazing tetradrachms.

    Here a coin of Seleukos IV as well:
    Seleukos IV Philopator (187-175 B.C.) Serrate AE, Denomination A. Antioch mint, struck ca. 187-175 B.C.
    Laureate head of Apollo right.
    Reverse: BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΕΛΕΥΚΟΥ ("of King Seleukos"). Apollo standing left, holding arrow, leaning on tripod; monogram to inner left.
    Reference: HGC 9, 584; SC 1315.
    9.32g; 22mm
  8. David@PCC


    I would have a lot more to add to this thread but 2 related are in the mail.
    Antiochus IV and Timarchus were certainly conspiring together, didn't work out very well for either though.
    Antiochus IV
    Mint: Seleucia on the Tigris
    AE Dichalkon
    173/172 BC
    Obvs: Radiate head of Antiochus right, within fillet border. BX monogram behind head.
    Revs: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY, goddess with polos seated left on high-backed throne holding Nike. Bird standing left at feet, dotted border.
    20x21mm, 6.68g
    Ref: SC 1509; HGC 9, 637(R2)

    164 to 161 BC
    Obvs: Diademed head of Timarchus right, dotted border.
    Revs: BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ MEΓAΛOY TIMAPXΟΥ, Nike advancing left holding palm frond and crowning royal name.
    AE 33x34mm, 28.58g
    Ref: SC 1598; HGC 9, 769(R2)
  9. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Posted before, but fits-in here
    Antiochos IV Epiphanes. 175-164 BC. AR Tetradrachm (16.27 gm, 1h, 32mm). Antioch mint. Struck 169-164 BC. Obv: Laureate and bearded head of Zeus with features of Antiochos right, within fillet border. Rev: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY ΘEOY EΠIΦANOYΣ NIKHΦOPOY, Zeus seated left, holding Nike in right hand, scepter in left. SNG Spaer 1003; Le Rider, Antioche, Series IIIA, 247 (A24/P173); Mørkholm Series III, 14 (A22/P93); SMA 63.
  10. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    A large bronze:
    SELEUKID KINGS of SYRIA. Antiochos IV Epiphanes. 175-164 BC. Æ (33mm; 39.69 gm; 12h). Antioch mint. Struck 169-168 BC. Obv: Laureate head of Zeus right. Rev: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY ΘEOY EΠIΦANOYΣ, Eagle standing right on thunderbolt. SC 1412; SMA 58; Houghton 117; Houghton II 331; SNG Spaer 978.
  11. Edessa

    Edessa Supporter! Supporter

    Smaller version:
    Seleukid Empire. Antiochos IV Epiphanes, 175-164 BC. Æ25 (20.76g, 1h). "Egyptianizing" series. Antioch on the Orontes mint, struck Autumn 169-Summer/Autumn 168 BC. Obv: Head of Isis right, wearing tainia. Rev: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ/ ANTIOXOY/ ΘEOY- EΡΙΦANOYΣ; Eagle standing right on thunderbolt. Ref: SC 1414; HGC 9, 644.

  12. Carl Wilmont

    Carl Wilmont Supporter! Supporter

    Informative article and nice coins, @Pavlos.

    Seleceud Antiochus Epiphances IV Diademed Zeus Nikephoros.jpg

    Seleukid Kingdom. Antioch on the Orontes. Antiochos IV Epiphanes 175-164 BC.Bronze Æ. 20 mm, 9.02 g. Radiate diademed head of Antiochus right / ΑΝΤΙΟΧΕΩΝ / ΠΡΟΣ ΔΑΦΝΗΙ, Zeus, wearing himation, standing facing, looking left, holding wreath in outstretched right hand.

    Seleukid Demetrios I Soter.jpg

    SELEUKID KINGS of SYRIA. Demetrios I Soter. 162-150 BC. AR Drachm (17mm, 3.92 g). Antioch on the Orontes mint. Dated SE 161 (152/1 BC). Diademed head right / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΔHMHTPIOY ΣΩTHPOΣ, cornucopia; below, two monograms above AΞP (date).
  13. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Wonderful area of history!
    Antiochos IV Epiphanes KINGS of SYRIA. 175-164 BCE Serrate Æ Ake-Ptolemaïs mint. Struck circa 173/2-168 BC. Diademed and radiate head right; monogram behind / Veiled goddess standing facing, holding scepter. SC 1479; HGC 9, 726. VF, earthen brown patina.
  14. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    +VGO.DVCKS, Pavlos and Ryro like this.
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