• sulla80

A Father's Support

Updated: Oct 11

When I bought these two drachms of Ariarathes IX, I had not read the article by Mørkholm. I was fascinated by the very different portraits. These two coins are from the same ruler. One from his first year of reign (A) and the other from his fourth (Δ).


KINGS of CAPPADOCIA, Ariarathes IX Eusebes Philopator, circa 100-85 BC, AR Drachm, Series 1

Obv: Diademed head right

Rev: BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ APIAPAΘOY EYΣEBOY, Athena Nikephoros standing left; monogram to inner left, T to right; A (date) in exergue

Ref: Simonetta 6 (Ariarathes V.); Mørkholm Series 1 #3 obv 1(?)

KINGS of CAPPADOCIA, Ariarathes IX Eusebes Philopator, circa 100-85 BC. AR Drachm, Mint A (Eusebeia-Mazaka), Dated RY 4 (97/6 BC)

Obv: Diademed head right, with the features of Mithradates VI of Pontos

Rev: BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ APIAPAΘOY EYΣEBOY, Athena Nikephoros standing left; monogram to inner left, Δ (date) in exergue


The legends can be a bit tricky to read:


Otto Mørkholm’s article explains why these portraits are so different. The first coin was originally attributed by Simonetti to Ariarathes V but Mørkholm uses hoard evidence, and die links to move it to Ariarathes IX. This coin was issued in the first year of the reign of Ariarathes IX. Ariarathes VII was killed by his uncle Mithridates VI of Pontus, circa 100BC.

Kings of Cappadocia, Ariarathes VII Philometor (mother loving), circa 112/110-100 BC., AR drachm, year 1 = 111 (?) Obv: Diademed head of Ariarathes VII to right Rev: BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ / APIAPAΘOY / ΦΙΛOMHTOPOΣ , Athena standing left, holding Nike on her extended right hand and spear and shield with her left; inner left, ΓΛI; in exergue, [A] (?)

Mithridates then put his eight year old son on the throne under the name of Ariarathes IX. A faction of Cappadocians rebelled supporting the brother of the VII as Ariarathes VIII.


The second coin from year 4 of the reign of A. IX comes from the time of this uprising and Mørkholm suggests that the portrait incorporates features of Mithridates VI with those of his son, sending a message to the Cappadocians see that under his son’s reign, that they are ruled by Mithridates VI.


Mørkholm also proposes that there were two mints used in a short time – mint A where these coins were minted, and a second mint B used for a short time by VIII and then taken over by IX, used for a short time and closed. Die links and portrait style is the supporting evidence. It wasn’t long before the rebellion was quelled and the rival to the young A. IX was expelled and died of disease shortly after.


Here’s is a coin from Mint B of Ariarathes VIII with legend EΠIΦANOY on the reverse.

Kings of Cappadocia, Ariarathes VIII Eusebes Epiphanes,  AR Drachm, dated RY 2 = 99/8 BC, Mint B

Obv: Diademed head right

Rev: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΡΙΑΡΑΘOV EΠIΦANOYΣ, Athena Nikephoros standing left, with spear and shield; T to inner left; B (date) in exergue


and to conclude the story, here is a drachm from Capadoccia of Ariobarzanes who was chosen by the Cappadocian people as King after the Romans deposed Ariarathes IX. This coin has a particularly elegant and expressive portrait:

KINGS of CAPPADOCIA. Ariobarzanes I Philoromaios. 96-63 BC. AR Drachm (17mm, 3.98 g, 1h). Dated RY 25 (71/0 BC). Diademed head right / Athena Nikephoros standing left; monogram in inner left field, KE (date) in exergue.

7 views
Join my mailing list

© 2020 by Sulla80 created with Wix.com