PARTHIA, Phraates IV, c 38-2 BC, drachm


PARTHIA, Phraates IV, c 38-2 BC, drachm, Rhagae mint, Obverse: bust with short beard, wart, segmented necklace, striped collar L, eagle with wreath behind, Reverse: archer seated R, monogram below bow, silver, 18mm, 3.98g, S52.11, VF

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The Parthians were Central Asian nomads who descended on the “settled” and “civilized” world with their new military invention, which was stirrups, which permitted the existence of mounted spear bearing warriors. Phraates IV had a bad reputation as a guy who preferred to be cruel whenever he had the chance, but was only so-so as a commander. He tussled with Mark Antony, and lost, but Antony became preoccupied with internal Roman affairs and Parthia resurged. He was deposed in a coup, but brought back by the Romans, who gave him a woman, who became his close adviser, and then had him poisoned and tried to rule on her own.

Ancient Coins includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.