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Coin Detail
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ID:     731391
Type:     Greek
Region:     PONTUS KINGS
Issuer:     Mithradates VI
Date Ruled:     120-63 BC
Metal:     Silver
Denomination:     Tetradrachm
Struck / Cast:     struck
Date Struck:     BC 90-89
Weight:     16.79 g
Obverse Description:     Diademed head of Mithradates right
Reverse Description:     Pegasos grazing left, star and crescent before, HS (date) and monogram behind, C below; all within ivy wreath
Mint:     Pergamon
Primary Reference:     De Callataÿ pl. IV, D41/R - (unlisted reverse die)
Reference2:     Waddington -
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Special Comments:     Dated year 208 (90-89 BC)
Grade:     Superb EF
Notes:     Apparently unpublished reverse die with C control mark. Mithradates is the Hellenistic monarch par excellence, his career driven by megalomaniacal ambitions leading to murderous assaults upon family and followers, and disasterous foreign adventures against superior forces. His idealized portraiture attempts to mimic the gods with its bold staring gaze and unruly, free-flowing hair, but at its most extreme is a personification of hysteria in its Dionysiac sense. The wreath of ivy on the reverse reinforces Mithradates' link with the god Dionysos, and also makes a connection with the cistaphoric coinage that formerly circulated in the Asian territory he conquered in his first war with Rome in 88 BC, which witnessed the horrific massacre of the Roman citizens of Asia Minor. The stag probably represents the civic center of Ephesos and the mintmark is of Pergamon, all part of the new Pontic kingdom, symbolized by the star and crescent. His empire collapsed before the armies of Sulla and Lucullus, and Mithradates ended his own life as an exile in the far region of the Crimea, pursued to the end by vengeful Romans and family.