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Hyspaosines (209-124 BCE), founder and king of Characene.

Hyspaosines or Aspasine (c. 209 BC - 124 BC) was a satrap installed by Antiochus IV Epiphanes and later the first King (before 127-124 BC) of Characene or Mesene (Meshun). Hyspaosines is mainly known from coins,[1] but also appears in texts of cuneiform script (in the Babylonian astronomical diaries). Pliny the Elder mentions that he was the son of a certain "Sagdodonacos the king of Arabs".[2]

According to Pliny,[3] Hyspaosines was of Arab ancestry;[4][5] however, his name was Persian.[6][7]

Hyspaosines was appointed Satrap of the Characene area by Antiochus IV and he rebuilt the city after a flood.

During the Parthian Invasion of 141 BC, Hyspaosines (c. 209 BC - 124 BC) declared independence as the eastern empire fell to the invaders. Two years after the invasion a Babylonian tablet records him with the title king.[8]

Hyspaosines conquered parts of south Mesopotamia and of Persia. On 24 June 127 BC he is for the first time called 'king'. An inscription found in Bahrain, then known as Tylos, indicates that he also ruled this island. The inscription mentions his wife, queen Thalassia. She appears in the Babylonian 'astronomical diaries'.[9]

In 124 BC, Hyspaosines became ill and died on June 11. After the death of her husband queen Thalassia tried to install her son as king.

Coins with his name were struck until 121 BC. Coinage from his time were discovered in Kuwait and Qatif in Saudi Arabia.[10]

General reading[edit]

  • Potts, D.T. The Archaeology of Elam. Cambridge 1999, pp. 390–391.


  1. ^ Monika Schuol: Die Charakene. Ein mesopotamisches Königreich in hellenistisch-parthischer Zeit, Stuttgart 2000, p. 220-221, 300-303
  2. ^ Pliny Nat Hist VI , 31, 138
  3. ^ Pliny VI, 136-139
  4. ^ General War Among Great Powers in World History, Matthew Melko, p.72. 2001
  5. ^ Greek Offerings, John Boardman, Olga Palagia p.204
  6. ^ Encyclopedia Iranica "Hyspaosines"
  7. ^ Carsten Colpe, Iranier - Aramäer - Hebräer - Hellenen: iranische Religionen und ihre Westbeziehungen.., Mohr Siebeck, 2003, ISBN 3-16-147800-2. page. 554.
  8. ^ Pinches T G. Babylonian and Oriental Record vol. IV (1890) pp131-135
  9. ^ Hyspaosines and Thalassia - attalus.org
  10. ^ Araby the Blest, Daniel T. Potts, Carsten Niebuhr Institute p.141-43

External links[edit]