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Coin Detail
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ID:     754449
Type:     Greek
Region:     PONTUS KINGS
Issuer:     Mithradates VI
Date Ruled:     120-63 BC
Metal:     Silver
Denomination:     Tetradrachm
Struck / Cast:     struck
Date Struck:     BC September 74
Diameter:     32 mm
Weight:     16.68 g
Die Axis:     12 h
Obverse Description:     Diademed head right, hair tousled and flowing freely
Reverse Description:     Stag grazing left; star over crescent to left, and ΓΚΣ (year) to left, two monograms to right, IB (month) in exergue; all within Dionysiac wreath of ivy and fruit
Mint:     Pergamon
Primary Reference:     De Callataÿ pg. 21 (D54/R2 - this coin)
Reference2:     RG pg. 18
Reference3:     BMC Pontus 7 cf.
Reference4:     SNG Cop -; SNG VA 6683 var. (month)
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Special Comments:     Dated month 12 of 223 BE (September 74 BC).
Grade:     Choice EF
Notes:     Ex Numismatic Fine Arts 14 (29 November 1984), lot 128; Sternberg 13 (7-8 November 1983), lot 157; Hess 252 (24-25 May 1982), lot 60.Mithradates is the Hellenistic monarch par excellence, his career driven by megalomaniacal ambitions leading to murderous assaults upon family and followers and disastrous 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 as well as making a connection with the cistaphoric coinage that circulated in the area. 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 an exile in the far region of the Crimea, pursued to the end by vengeful Romans and family.