Seleucid coinage

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The coinage of the Seleucid Empire is based on the coins of Alexander the Great, which in turn were based on Athenian coinage of the Attic weight. Many mints and different issues are defined, with mainly base and silver coinage being in abundance. The symbol of Seleucid power was the anchor, which was placed on the obverse of coins depicting Alexander posthumously but prior to the issue of coins portraying Seleukos I around 306 BCE.

Denominations[edit]

Bronze coinage was issued in five denominations; the weight and size varies greatly and most likely no effort was made to conform to a set standard, they may be denominated in chalkoi.[1]

  • A size = 23+ mm = 10+ g
  • B size = 18–23 mm = 6.77-8.63 g
  • C size = 13–17 mm = 3.88 g
  • D size = 12–13 mm = 1.59 g
  • E size = 10–12 mm = 1.13 g

The denomination values and common imagery on silver coinage was as follows, with the denomination based on the Obol/And image most common on the coin.:[2]

  • Coins with the head of Zeus on the reverse and Athena in elephant car.[3] These coins are of a lighter Phoenician standard, which were circulated in India prior to Alexander the Great's conquest.

Mints[edit]

Starting from Seleukos I, these mints were most likely a continuation from before his reign. Antioch: to ? Seleucia on the Tigris: to ?, Susa:, Ecbatana:, Apamaea mint:, Babylon:, Aï Khanoum, Seleucia in Pieria:, Arados:, Bactria:, Marathus:, Cyzicus, Lampsacus, Abydus.

Designs for each denomination[edit]

Coins of the Selucid Empire had many images including the King with a lion head dress, or Zeus on a throne with a sceptre and eagle in each hand. Bronze coins usually didn't feature the King's image, and usually had a god or goddess or in some cases a charging bull and anchor.

Under Seleukos I Nicator (Satrap 311–305 BC, King 305 BC–281 BC), the first Selucid king, the coinage varieties are similar to Alexander the Great's with the king's head wearing a lion skin. After 300 BCE the head of this King is portrayed in a similar style to other Greek coinage. Obverses

  • 1:Alexander, Seleucos or Dionysos in helmet covered with a panther skin & adorned with bull's ears & horns, panther skin tied around neck.
  • 2:Head of Herakles wearing lion's skin headdress.
  • 3:Head of Apollo facing right
  • 4:Young Heracles.
  • 5:A naked male figure seated facing left on a rock, holding an ankh in his right hand.
  • 6:Dioskouros
  • 7:Athena wearing an Attic helmet.
  • 8:Winged head of Medusa facing right.

Reverses

  • 1:Zeus enthroned left, holding eagle and sceptre
  • 2:Athena advancing right, brandishing a spear & holding a shield
  • 3:Bull butting right. On bronze coins
  • 4:Athena over elephant.
  • 5:Boeotian shield between Nike & trophy
  • 6:Forepart of a horse facing right with an anchor above.

Antiochus I Soter (co-ruler from 291, ruled 281–261 BC)Coins Designs are much the same as the above ruler, in featuring the many Greek gods and the King's head; the style seems to evolve in the future.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.seleukids.org/seleukids.htm[dead link]
  2. ^ [Babelon, Rois, Pl. II. 9.]
  3. ^ (N. C., 1879, Pl. I. 4)

External links[edit]