Yazdegard I, Peacemaker in his Realm

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Parthicus, Apr 18, 2022.

  1. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Yazdegard I BBA.jpg
    Sasanian Kingdom. Court mint. AR drachm. Yazdegard I (399-420 AD). Obverse: Bust of Yazdegard I right, legend in Pahlavi script around giving his name and titles. Reverse: Zoroastrian fire-altar with two attendants, crescents and pellets above, to right mintmark BBA (court mint). This coin: Bought from Alexander Skorupsky at Baltimore Whitman Coin Expo, November 2021; ex Classical Numismatic Group Sale 102, lot 102 (2016).

    Yazdegard I (399-420 AD) was the son of Shapur III (383-388) and brother of Vahram IV (388-399). His three immediate predecessors had all been killed by high-ranking nobility (which still included many of the Parthian noble families, nearly two centuries after the last Parthian king died) and conflict with the nobles would continue in his reign as well. He also came into conflict with the Zoroastrian priesthood for his considerable toleration of both Christians and Jews in his realm; indeed, some sources call him "the sinner", though Christians and Jews referred to him as a new Cyrus the Great, and Yazdegard himself took the title Ramshahr, "peacemaker in [his] realm". Yazdegard maintained good relations with the Eastern Roman Empire, and was declared a guardian of Arcadius' young son, the future Theodosius II. He died around 420 in the northeast (in the traditional homeland of the Parthians), probably murdered by the nobility although accounts differ. We do know that the nobles tried to prevent Yazdegard's sons from taking the throne, but one of them, Bahram V, with help from an Arab army was able to succeed his father.

    I bought this coin for its well-preserved and artistic portrait of Yazdegard, and for the early use of a mintmark on the reverse. The CNG pedigree also helped tip the balance towards purchase. Please post your coins of Yazdegard I, or whatever else is related.
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Yazdgird (Yazdgard) I (399 - 420 A.D.)
    AR Drachm
    O: Bust of Yazdgard I on floral ornament right, wearing mural crown with frontal crescent and korymbos.
    R: Fire altar with ribbons, flanked by two attendants, crescents and letters flanking flames.
    AW (Ahwaz) mint
    SNS type Ib1/1a var. 4 ; Göbl type I/1; Paruck -; Saeedi -; Sunrise 915var.

    Ex. VAuctions Sale 354, Lot 133
    Edessa, Theodosius, Spaniard and 4 others like this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    That's a really distinctive and, to your point, artistic profile, @Parthicus, not to mention your enlightening and generally cool description of the reign. Here's my sole example.
    SASANIAN, YAZDGARD I, DRAHM.jpg Silver Drachm (4.16 gm; 27 mm). WH (Veh Ardeshir) mint.
    SNS type Ib1/1a var. 4 (pl. 55, 67) ; Göbl type I/1; Sunrise 915 var.
    Edessa, sand, Spaniard and 3 others like this.
  5. nerosmyfavorite68

    nerosmyfavorite68 Well-Known Member

    How long did Sassanian drachms circulate and what did they use for small change?
    Edessa and +VGO.DVCKS like this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Sorry for taking this long to answer, @nerosmyfavorite68; an easy half a dozen people here know more about this than I do. But they issued fractions in bronze (including what are referred to as obols), along with gold.
  7. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    Copper coins called pashiz were issued on an as-needed local basis. There was also a limited amount of fractional and foreign silver. The relative lack of small change suggests that many of the day to day transactions in the Sasanian sphere were reckoned 'on account' and settled periodically with silver drachms. Sasanian coins remained in circulation for many years after the Arab conquest. In fact, the first Arab Muslim silver coins were imitations of later Sasanian issues. Some of these Arab-Sasanian types continued to be struck in outlying areas of the caliphate such as Tabaristan and Bukhara for quite some time. Sasanian silver drachms and their imitations were also in use by non-Muslim polities in northern India for centuries after the end of the Sasanian kingdom. Even Viking hoards sometimes include Sasanian coins, testifying to their wide appeal and longevity.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2022
  8. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander find me at NumisForums Supporter

    Superb detail on your example, @Parthicus! To add to our collection of mints, here is a GN (I think):
    Yazd I.jpg
    Photo needs an upgrade.
    Edessa and Parthicus like this.
  9. Cachecoins

    Cachecoins Historia Moneta Supporter

    Really nice portrait on that coin.
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