Vologases III Was Christian? Who Knew?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Bob L., May 7, 2021.

  1. Bob L.

    Bob L. Well-Known Member

    Amusing misattribution on VCoins this morn. The coin is a bronze dichalkous of Vologases III, 105-147 AD. (Sellwood 79.50) The obverse depicts Vologases III facing, in Parthian tiara. The reverse is Tyche seated left, with palm branch.

    Volo III Byzantine.jpg
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  3. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Weird misattribution. Few things scream Parthian like the angular portraits like that.

    What religion were the Parthians mainly? I know they were very good about allowing multiple religions in their domains, unlike the Byzantines and somewhat the Sassanids, but did the noble families have a predominant religion?
  4. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    I believe they were Zoroastrian ;).
    +VGO.DVCKS and Bob L. like this.
  5. Bob L.

    Bob L. Well-Known Member

    Medoraman, the following is from Parthia.com:

    The Parthians worshiped the cult of Mithra, the same Mithraism that was embraced by much of the ancient world. The spread of Mithraism over the entire Roman Empire, the absorption into Christianity of Mithraic beliefs, rites and practices, ceremonies and festivals are a reflection of the influence of the Parthians on the ancient world.

    It is also believed that Parthians widely practiced Zoroastrianism, and the holy documents of this religion were first compiled by the Parthians and used by the Sasanians. The ostraca found at Nisa confirm the connection with numerous place names that are Zoroastrian in character, but there as yet is no evidence of a flourishing Zoroastrian cult in Nisa. Also, the ostraca are dated in the Parthian with Zoroastrian month names. [Frye (1963), p. 175]
  6. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks. I knew both of those were allowed in the area, but for some reason was not connecting them strongly with the Parthians and their practice. I read a lot of Mithraism, and its particular attraction to the Roman Legions. It is another of what was called the "Eastern Mystic Religions" by the Romans, alongside Judaism and Christianity. Of course, anyone who touches a Sassanid coin has to know about Zoroastrianism. :)

    I thought I read somewhere long ago that early on the Parthians were followers of Central Asian animalist beliefs, back in Arsakes time. I had that thought rattling around my head when I asked the question too.
  7. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    Interesting coin. I doubt any Parthian nobles were Christians, but there probably were Christians within their domain by the year 100 when Christianity really started catching on.
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  8. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    May I ask what's the Byzantine symbol or mark on this seal ?
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    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...Looks like some bimboid saw a facing portrait, and said, "Byzantine!" Maybe they need to go back to selling used cars.
    7Calbrey likes this.
  10. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    Good eye. There are some Byzantine nummi that have a similar linear style, though perhaps those are eastern imitations.
  11. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    True, Syracuse and Carthage mints can be very crude, but I would never confuse the two.
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