A Tetradrachm of Antiochus VII Euergetes
Updated: Jun 12
The Cappadocians didn't mint a lot of tetradrachms. My coin today was identified by the seller as one of a series of issues with control marks and die links to coins of the Cappadocian kings. In 2002 a tetradrachm was found with an obverse die of Seleucid King Antiochus VII and a reverse die shared with a tetradrachm of Cappadocian king Ariarathes VII. Additional coins with shared control marks and hoard evidence added to the story and it is now clear some tetradrachms issued in the name of Antiochos VII are posthumous issues struck under Cappadocian kings. When comparing my coin with those in Catherine Lorber's papers identified as Cappadocian coins, I had trouble finding a match. I did find a much better obverse die match in Group 12 from Lorber's paper on the coins issued by Antiochus VII and I am now convinced that the seller had incorrectly attributed this coin to Cappadocia.
The control mark (Figure 1) on this coin is the primary control mark of this series and consistent with the control system of Antioch in the latter reign of Antiochus VII. This control mark overlap provided additional evidence to support Morkholm's sequencing of coins of Cappadoccia and resolved any remaining doubt in the Morkholm-Simonetta debate about the dating of Cappadocian coins (see this blog post).
Why coins of a Seleucid king would have been minted in Cappadocia? They were likely issued to pay military expenses, and potentially mercenaries from the south who had fought in the Seleucid civil war (122-128 BC) . Cappadoccian currency would not have circulated internationally, and the coins of the great king Antiochus VII would he been recognized as a currency in Cappadocia. This use of familiar theme is not unlike the minting of posthumous coins by many in the name of Alexander the III. Overall these tetradrachms account for a large part of the tetradrachm output of Cappadocia estimated by Lorber at >65%. An interesting example of printing of foreign currency to fund the military. These coins also show up in Armenia, perhaps brought there after Tigranes II made incursions into Cappadocia.
However - it is now clear that my coin is not one of these Capadoccian coins, but rather a lifetime issue of Antioochus VII.
Syria, Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochos VII Sidetes, 138-129 BC, AR Tetradrachm, 16.34g, Antioch mint
Obv: Diademed head right
Rev: Athena standing left, holding spear and crowning Nike; two monograms to outer left (up-arrow, letter A), shield to right inscribed; monogram (A/M) to inner right; all within wreath
Ref: SC-2161 (?) unlisted secondray control inner right?
I have tried to identify the obverse die for this coin and I think it is close to A108 from the 2016 die study of Catherine Lorber which would place this as a Series 12 tetradrachm. Id like to compare with the coin she references ffrom Hirsch 165, 1990.
Coin 854 has Nike right, but coins of this group generally have Nike left. The detail of a face on Athena's shield is particularly clear on this coin. I am still not 100% confident in the attribution on this coin....
and I did eventually get a Cappadocian tetradrachm:
Kings of Cappadocia, Ariarathes VII Philometor, circa 107/6-101/0 BC, AR Tetradrachm, in the name and types of Antiochos VII of Syria, Mint A (Eusebia-Mazaka), Struck circa 107/6-104/3 BC
Obv: Diademed head right
Rev: Athena Nikephoros standing left; monogram above A to outer left, O to inner left, Λ to inner right; all within laurel wreath
Ref: Lorber & Houghton Series 1, Issue 3, 121-151 (obverse die A16); SC 2148; HGC 7, 829; HGC 9, 1069. EF with hoard patina
LORBER, CATHARINE C., et al. “Cappadocian Tetradrachms in the Name of Antiochus VII.” The Numismatic Chronicle (1966-), vol. 166, 2006, pp. 49–97.
KRENGEL, ELKE, and CATHARINE C. LORBER. “Early Cappadocian Tetradrachms in the Name of Antiochus VII.” The Numismatic Chronicle (1966-), vol. 169, 2009, pp. 51–104.
LORBER, CATHARINE C. “Die Study of the Antioch Tetradrachms of Antiochus VII Euergetes.” The Numismatic Chronicle (1966-), vol. 176, 2016, pp. 21–82.