The greatest king of Cappadocia

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Pavlos, Oct 27, 2020.

  1. Pavlos

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

    By some and myself included, Ariarathes V was considered the greatest king of Cappadocia. He was an educated person and had great interest in philosophy and making Cappadocia a center of culture. He was a philhellene and he renamed Mazaka, the 'capital' of Cappadocia, to 'Eusebeia near Argaios' (Strabo 12.2.7). By refounding Mazaka to a Greek name, he imitated the Hellenic kings.

    Ariarathes V Eusebes Philopator (163-130 BC). AR Drachm. Eusebeia-Mazaca mint, struck 133-132 B.C.
    Diademed head of Ariarathes V to right.
    Reverse: BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ APIAPAΘOY EYΣEBOYΣ Athena standing left, holding Nike; A to outer left; monogram in outer right and inner left; below, date AΛ.
    Reference: Simonetta 8a (Ariarathes IV); HGC 811.
    Side note on coin: A very rare issue, not recorded in Simonetta, this coin bears the same control marks as 7c (year 30) but the date year of 8a, meaning that it is the first issue of year 31. A splendid Hellenistic portrait seems to be characteristic for year 31 drachms, seldom seen on other issues.

    His reign was quite rough, in 163 BC he succeeds his father Ariarathes IV Eusebes. Immediately he had the threats of the Galatians, the same opponent Eumenes II of Pergamon was suffering of. When military attacks failed, the Galatians endeavored to discredit the Cappadocian king by incriminating him before the Roman senate (Polybios 31.8.2). Ariarathes V was just on the throne and still shaky, but he had more worries than the Roman senate, pretenders lay on the wait and soon would want to challenge for legitimacy.

    The Seleukid king Demetrios I Soter proposed to Ariarathes V to marry to his sister Loadice V, but he refused. Demetrios I outraged, supports Ariarathes V his brother, Orophernes II against the new king and a civil war starts in 158 BC. The Roman senate ordered the two dynasts to split the kingdom and reign jointly, but this did not succeed and Attalos II of Pergamon restored Ariarathes V as sole ruler. Afterwards Ariarathes V his sister Stratonice IV is married to king Attalos II of Pergamon.

    In the summer of 152 BC, Ariarathes V takes 'revenge' on Demetrios I Soter and together with Attalos II supports the pretender Alexander I Balas to usurp the Seleukid kingdom from Demetrios I.

    Finally, in 133 BC, Aristonikos, also known as Eumenes III, revolts in Pergamon. Ariarathes V, being a good friend of both the Romans as Pergamon, decided to intervene but unfortunately died in the battle around 130 BC.

    Please share your coins of Ariarathes V, other Cappadocian kings, the kings of Pergamon and the Seleukid kings Demetrios I and Alexander I Balas!
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2020
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  3. David@PCC


    That's a nice one. I only have one.
    Ariarathes V
    Mint: Eusebeia-Mazaca
    135 BC
    AR Drachm
    Obvs: Diademed head of Ariarathes right
    Revs: BAΣIΛEΩΣ APIAPAΘOV EVΣEBOYΣ, Athena holding Nike/shield. Monograms left, HK below
    19mm, 4.1g
    Simonetta 23 5
  4. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    That's a very nice example, @Pavlos...great portrait. Here's my Ariarathes V. Mine definitely has some wear and tear, but it is at least very well-centered (which can be a problem with Cappadocian drachms).

    Ariarathes V Eusebes Philopator, 163-130 BC., AR Drachm (17 mm, 3.99g), Eusebeia-Mazaca, year 33 (ΓΛ) = 131/0 BC, Diademed head of Ariarathes to right. Rev. BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ APIAPAΘOY EYΣEBOYΣ, Athena standing l. holding Nike, spear and shield set on ground. below, date ΓΛ
  5. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Nice examples!

    It seems that he was pretty consistent in turning out nice drachms!
    Cappadocia Ariarathes V drachm 130 BC.jpg
  6. Herodotus

    Herodotus Well-Known Member

    Apologies for the crappy picture...
    KINGS of CAPPADOCIA. Ariarathes I. 333-322 BC. AR Drachm. Gaziura mint.
    O: Baal of Gaziura seated left, torso facing, holding grapes, grain ear, and eagle in extended right hand, lotus-tipped scepter in left; B’L GZYR (in Aramaic) to right.
    R: Griffin left attacking stag kneeling left.

    Ariarathes I had been satrap of Cappadocia for 19 years and a loyal supporter of the Achaemenid kings. By blood, he was related to the ruling Achaemenid house ("Cyrus and Darius' Seven") as well as other satraps. When Alexander of Macedon invaded the area as part of his conquest, he appointed two temporary governors. Following Alexander's death, Ariarathes I managed to assume power in Cappadocia, and become the first king of the newly established Kingdom of Cappadocia.

    Ariarathes I minted campaign coinage at Gaziura inscribed with legends in Aramaic, the imperial language of the Achaemenids. On the reverse of one of Ariarathes's Gaziura coins, a griffin is depicted attacking a kneeling stag with Ariarathes's name is inscribed as 'rywrt.

    The obverse of the same coin depicts a Zeus-like impression of the God Baal with wreath and sceptre in his left hand. In his right hand, on which an eagle is perched, the seated figure holds ears of corn and a vine-branch with grapes. The obverse features the inscription b'lgzyr ("Ba'al Gazir", i.e. "Lord of Gaziura"). Stylistically, this particular issue of coinage by Ariarathes resembles the coins issued by Achaemenid satrap Mazaeus at Tarsos in Cilicia.

    The Iranologist Mary Boyce and the historian Frantz Grenet note that the Zeus-like depiction of a seated Baal could actually be portraying the Zoroastrian Ahura Mazda or Mithra.
  7. Pavlos

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

    @David@PCC, @Shea19, @Finn235 Thank you for sharing your nice examples of Ariarathes V!

    Very interesting, thank you for sharing, I know very little of the early Cappadocian kings. In the beginning the kings seem to be all full Persian blood, but later on when the kingdom got Hellenized the royals seems to have been carrying more and more Greek blood.

    Here a coin of Ariarathes IX, totally not a Cappadocian Greek or Cappadocian Persian anymore, but the son of the Pontic king Mithridates VI.
    Ariarathes IX Eusebes Philopator (circa 100-85 B.C.) AR Drachm. Mint A (Eusebeia-Mazaka). Dated RY 4 (97/6 BC).
    Diademed head right, with the features of Mithradates VI of Pontos.
    Reverse: BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ APIAPAΘOY EYΣEBOYΣ, Athena Nikephoros standing left; monogram to inner left, Δ (date) in exergue.
    Reference: Simonetta 3a
    Edessa, Sulla80, Herodotus and 3 others like this.
  8. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Nice write-up, @Pavlos - I do enjoy a Cappadocian drachm and Ariarathes V seems to have made some better coins than the other rulers of this region. This coin from his last year of reign.
    Ariarathes V.jpg
    Kings of Cappadocia, Ariarathes V Eusebes Philopator, c. 163-130 BC, AR Drachm, dated CY 33 (130 BC)
    Obv: Diademed head of Ariarathes, right
    Rev: Athena Nikephoros standing left; T to outer left, monogram to inner left, and Δ to outer right; ΓΛ (date) in exergue
    Ref: Simonetta (Ariarathes IV) 28
  9. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

    I re-posted my Dimitrios quite recently, but he fits perfectly in this thread so here he is:

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