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Tiny Sasanian obol of Peroz


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(photo borrowed from seller because I have trouble photographing tiny coins)


(historical section contains re-used text from an earlier post of mine on CoinTalk)
In 457, the Sasanian king Yazdegard II died. His oldest son, Peroz, would by custom be the successor, but Peroz was stationed as governor of Sistan province in central Asia, far from the capitol of Ctesiphon on the Tigris. In Peroz' absence, his younger brother seized the throne and began to reign as Hormazd III. Peroz was able to obtain help from the Hephthalites to wage civil war, and by 459 seized Ctesiphon and captured Hormazd, ending the civil war. Accounts differ on whether Peroz executed his brother or pardoned him; regardless, much of his reign would be spent in war. He first subdued a rebellious feudatory in the Caucasus. Next, he attempted peace with the Kidarites who had invaded parts of Transoxiana by offering his sister in marriage to the Kidarite king. However, Peroz tried to cheat and instead sent a low-status woman in her place. When the Kidarites found out, they moved to open warfare, but the Sasanians were successful and forced the Kidarites out of Transoxiana. A seven-year drought and famine struck from 464 to 471, and Peroz is credited with limiting the amount of death and suffering by careful management and sending relief supplies to the affected areas. Despite their earlier aid in bringing him to the throne, he fought three wars with the Hephthalites. Twice he was captured and had to pay huge ransoms for his release; the third time, in 484, he was killed in battle.

Drachms of Peroz are fairly common, however, this is the much scarcer obol denomination. It follows the usual Sasanian pattern of being struck on a thin flan, and thus feels almost weightless in hand. The mintmark of BBA indicates the Court mint, which was based in the capitol of Ctesiphon but traveled along with the king. I have a fondness for Parthian and Sasanian fractional silver (all of which is scarce to rare), so I was happy to obtain this piece. Please post your coins of Peroz, or whatever else is related.

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