Kings of Parthia. Artabanos II (Arsakes XVI) Circa 78-62 BC. AR Drachm, Ekbatana mint. Struck circa 75-67/6 BC. 3.87 g - 20 mm.
Obv: Diademed bust left.
Rev: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΜΕ-ΓΑΛ[ΟΥ] ΑΡΣΑΚΟ[Υ] ΘΕΟΠΑΤOΡΟΣ ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ, Archer (Arsakes I) seated right on throne, holding bow.
Ref: Assar, Revised, p. 83 (Arsakes XVI); Sellwood 30.14 var. (rev. legend; Unknown King); Shore 131 (Orodes I)
The Parthian "annual" bronze coinages from Susa attest to the presence of a new king, Artabanos II (a.k.a. Arsakes XVI), in that city as early as 78/7 BC, although the Babylonian tablets continue to mention Orodes I until March/April 75 BC. Artabanos was probably a younger son of Mithradates II and hence the epithet ΘΕΟΠΑΤΩΡ on his S30 coinage. Unfortunately, the surviving cuneiform fragments give no insight into the political situation in Parthia during the reign of this king. The youthful portrait on his S30.12 tetradrachm, though, confirms that he was no older than twenty when he captured the royal mint at Seleukeia and expelled Orodes I from Babylon. The presence of a "mule" drachm with a S30 obverse and a S33 reverse indicates that Sinatrukes was still active in north-east Parthia. We also know that Artabanos II remained unchallenged in Babylonia until March 69 BC. The subsequent inclusion of the name of his queen, Piruztana, in the date formulas of the Babylonian tablets indicates that his authority was disputed by a contender for the throne (Phraates III) soon afterwards.
The latest record from the reign of Artabanos II dates to January 67 BC, but numismatic evidence (S30.18, S30.21-25, and S30.28-29 drachms with full mint names, and S30.30 with the monogram of Mithradatkart) suggests that he remained active in central and northern Parthia until 62/1 BC.
The present coin, if Ekbatana is its correct mint, must have been struck prior to his ejection from the north-central region by Phraates III, circa 67/6 BC.
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- Greece (ancient)
- Kings of Parthia. AR Drachm,
- Year/Period and Variation
- Artabanos II (Arsakes XVI) Circa 78-62 BC.
- Precious metals
- Very fine