• sulla80

Printing Foreign Money

Updated: Feb 7

The Cappadocians didn't mint a lot of tetradrachms. My coin today is one of a series of issues that 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 that this coin in the name of Antiochos VII is a posthumous issue struck under a Cappadocian king. I am still uncertain which King - if I am correct about this being Group 12 from Larber's paper, I think that puts this coin firmly in the reign of Ariobarzanes I. However this control mark is also shown on coins of Group 4 which would line up wiht Ariarathes V.

Figure 1: ↑/A

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. These coins also were more evidence to support Morkholm's sequencing of coins of Cappadoccia and can resolve any remaining doubt in the Morkholm-Simonetta debate about the Cappadocian coins (see this blog post).

Why would these coins 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%.

Syria, Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochos VII Sidetes, 138-129 BC, AR Tetradrachm, 16.34g, Cappadocian Mint, Posthumous issue, Group 12 (?), under Ariobarzanes I of Cappadocia

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-2144.2

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 Syria hoard coin she references from CNG (roll. 2,35).

The detail of a face on Athena's shield is particularly clear on this coin.

An interesting coin and an example of printing of foreign currency to fun the military. These coins also show up in Armenia, perhaps brought there are Tigranes II made incursions into Cappadocia.


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