Vologases IV tetradrachm (finally posting some old wins)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Parthicus, Aug 31, 2021.

  1. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    I've been quiet lately due to being busy at work, but I'm still kicking and still collecting, so I'll take a few minutes to catch up on posting my latest acquisitions:
    Vologases IV tetradrachm.jpg
    Parthian Kingdom. Seleukia on the Tigris mint. AR/billon tetradrachm (13.53 g, 24 mm). Vologases IV (147-191 AD), dated Apellaios 476 Seleukid Era (= November 164 AD). Obverse: King's bearded bust left, wearing tiara with long earflaps, B behind. Reverse: King seated on throne left, receiving diadem from Tyche, seven-line Greek legend around (mostly off flan) "Basileos basileon Arsakou Olagasou dikaiou epiphanous philellenos" (Of King of Kings Arsakes Vologases, Just, Illustrious, Lover of the Greeks), above figures date 476, in exergue month Apellaiou. Sellwood 84.31. This coin: Stephen Album Auction 39, lot 2002 (January 21-25, 2021).

    Vologases IV was the son of Mithradates IV (renumbered by recent scholarship as Mithradates V) and appears to have taken the Parthian throne peacefully in late 147 AD. In 161, he invaded Armenia, deposing the Roman-supported king and installing his own nominee. The Roman prefect of Cappadocia attacked, but was soundly defeated, and the Parthians proceeded into Roman Syria. Lucius Verus (co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius) was sent to Antioch to deal with the situation, but chose to stay in the city living in luxury and leave all the actual fighting to his (fortunately very competent) generals. In 163 the Romans retook Artaxata, the capital of Armenia, and next year started a major campaign in Parthian Mesopotamia. The key cities of Seleukia on the Tigris, Ktesiphon, and Babylon were all captured, and Seleukia and the winter palace at Ktesiphon were destroyed in 165. However, a plague soon struck the Roman troops, who would inadvertently bring back an epidemic that would devastate the Roman Empire. (The plague was attributed to divine wrath at the impiety of the troops, who had looted a statue of Apollo at Seleukia and brought it back to Rome to install at the temple of Palatine Apollo.) The Romans eventually reached as far as Media, but soon pulled back, leaving the large cities of central Mesopotamia for the Parthians to re-occupy. The Parthians re-captured Armenia but were again driven out, with Roman troops now taking Edessa and Nisibis in northern Mesopotamia, and managing to hold this territory. The war petered out by 167, with Rome holding Armenia and some of northern Mesopotamia, while Parthia managed to retain its key wealthy cities of central/ southern Mesopotamia. Essentially nothing else is known of Vologases IV's reign. He died in 191 AD, and was succeeded by Vologases V and Osroes II (the latter apparently a rebel, who is known only from his coinage).

    Coins of Vologases IV are common- unsurprisingly, given his long reign. Sellwood lists 126 varieties of his tetradrachms, mostly differing in the month-year dates. (If you are, for some insane reason, determined to make a date collection of Parthian tetradrachms, Vologases IV is your best bet of emperor to try.) This is a fairly ordinary coin for its type, not rare and only average condition, but not every coin has to be a standout to deserve a place in a collection. Please post your coins of Vologases IV, or whatever else is related.
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  3. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    Wow, Vologases IV. I haven't thought about him in a while.

    Drachm, 3.79 gm, Ecbatana mint [= Hamadān, Iran]

    The coin has the a very pleasing obverse. The reverse, which the book tells me is "Pahlavi inscription: VoLGaŠI MaLKa, blundered Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩN ΑΡΣΑΚΟY EYEPΓETOY ΔΙΚΑΙΟY ΕΠIΦΑNOYΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ" and an archer, is miserable.

    NGC gave this 5/5 for strike. The obverse, one of the best I've seen, must make up for the reverse, which isn't even hideous.
  4. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Glad to see a Parthian coin surface - Historia Augusta is characteristically colorful in describing Lucius:

    "Verus, however, after he had come to Syria, lingered amid the debaucheries of Antioch and Daphne and busied himself with gladiatorial bouts and hunting. And yet, for waging the Parthian war through his legates, he was acclaimed Imperator, while meantime Marcus was at all hours keeping watch over the workings of the state, and, though reluctantly and sorely against his will, but nevertheless with patience, was enduring the debauchery of his brother."
    - Historia Augusta, The Life of Marcus Aurelius, 8.1

    This Vologases IV has a nice provenance. It is one of 57 purchased by Bono Simonetta a few years before 1971 in Beirut, Lebanon. Part of a small treasure that was found in Aradus (Arwad, Syria). He published a short note in Rivista Italiana Numismatica (RIN) 1971, vol. 73, p. 57-62, "Un interessante tesoretto di tetradrammi di Vologeses III". (More here)
    Vologases IV Tetradrachm 2.jpg
    Kings of Parthia, Vologases IV, AD 147-191, BI Tetradrachm, 26mm, 12.95g, 12h, Seleukeia on the Tigris, year ΠANHM BΦV 492 of the Seleucid Era (June AD 180)
    Obv: Diademed and draped bust left., wearing tiara; B behind
    Rev: Vologases seated left on throne, Tyche standing right before him, presenting a diadem and holding sceptre, month below. Sellwood 84.83. VF
    Ref: Sellwood 84.83 ΠANHM BΦV
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2021
  5. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Great addition, congrats.

    Nice to see a new Parthian posted.

    Vologases IV (147 - 191 A.D.)
    AR Tetradrachm
    O: Diademed bust left, wearing long beard, earring, and tiara decorated with “hooks”; B to right; all within pelleted border.
    O: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ ΟΛΟΓΑΣΟΥ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣΣ) (month) in exergue.king enthroned to right receiving diadem from Tyche holding sceptre
    Dated 495 ΕϘΥ ΑΠΕΛ (183 AD)
    Seleucia mint
    Sellwood 84.96-103 cf. Shore 432.
  6. Alwin

    Alwin Supporter! Supporter

  7. Nvb

    Nvb Well-Known Member

    While I haven’t expanded much into Parthian coins, they do interest me and I have my eye out for a few select issues.
    For now, this guy with his distinct portrait is one of just 2 Parthians in my collection:

    Kings of Parthia, Vologases IV (AD 147-191). Tetradrachm. Seleukeia on the Tigris, year 464 (AD 152).

    Kings of Parthia, Vologases IV (AD 147-191). BI Tetradrachm (28mm, 13.49g, 1h). Seleukeia on the Tigris, year 464 (AD 152). Diademed and draped bust l., wearing tiara; B behind. R/ Vologases seated l. on throne, Tyche standing r. before him, presenting a diadem and holding sceptre. Cf. Sellwood 84.12-5. VF - Good VF

    Ex Simonetta Collection
  8. Orielensis

    Orielensis Supporter! Supporter

    That's a splendid example of a type that I very much like. In my eyes, it's especially fascinating that these tetradrachms can be dated down to a single month. Mine is some years earlier than yours, but also from the month Apellaios:
    Orient, Antike – Parther, Vologases IV Tetradrachme.png
    Parthian Empire, under Vologases IV, AR tetradrachm, SE 464, month Apellaios (November 152 AD), Seleukeia on the Tigris mint. Obv: Diademed and draped bust l., wearing tiara; B behind. Rev: [SEΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ / Β]ΑΣΙΛΕΩ[Ν - ΑΡΣΑΚΟY / O]ΛΑΓΑΣΟ[Υ - ΔΙΚΑΙΟY - Ε]ΠΙΦΑΝΟY[Σ / ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ], date: ΔΞY – ΑΠΕΛΑΙΟΥ; Vologases seated l. on throne, Tyche standing r. before him, presenting a diadem and holding sceptre. 27mm, 13.81g. Ref: Sellwood 84.13.

    And here is a drachm of the rebel Osroes II, who took over briefly after Vologases IV's death:
    Orient, Antike – Parther, Osroes II, Drachme, Sellwood 85.2.jpg
    Parthian Empire, under Osroes II, AR drachm, c. 190–195 AD, Ekbatana mint. Obv: bust with diadem and tiara l. Rev: blundered standard legend, archesr seated r. on throne; pellet above bow. 20mm, 3.66g. Ref: Sellwood 85.2. Ex JB collection; ex AMCC 3, lot 84.
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