Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Remarkable Tetradrachm of Persis

Tetradrachm of the Kingdom of Persis with the head of Autophradates I

Obverse: Head right, wearing filleted satrapal headdress and earring. Reverse: Fire temple with double door. At left, Autophradates to right. At right, ornamented standard. Above, half-figure of Ahuramazda, head right. Struck circa 240 b.c.

This tetradrachm is remarkable not only for its outstanding portrait of Autophradates, King of Persis (whose leather cap is the headdress worn by ancestral Persian nomads on the steppes of Central Asia), but also for its detailed depiction of  a Zoroastrian temple surmounted by a bust of the Wise Lord Ahuramazda. The bust is similar to that in the Behistun inscription of Darius I:

The symbolism embodied in this rare and unusual coin emphasizes the historical connection of Persis (as it arose from the disintegrating Seleukid Kingdom) with the Achaemenid Persian Empire and the Zoroastrian religion.

It may be acquired here:



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