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Ptolemy VI Philometor, of Egypt, put Alexander I Balas on the throne in Syria, and gave his daughter Cleopatra Thea to him in marriage.  Ptolemy VI then lost patience with Alexander I Balas and switched to support Demetrios II.  Cleopatra Thea was now given by her father to Demetrios II.

Diodorus tells the story this way:

"Ptolemy Philometor entered Syria intending to support Alexander on the grounds of kinship. But on discovering the man's downright poverty of spirit, he transferred his daughter Cleopatra to Demetrius, alleging that there was a conspiracy afoot, and after arranging an alliance pledged her to him in marriage. Hierax and Diodotus, despairing of Alexander and standing in fear of Demetrius because of their misdeeds against his father, aroused the people of Antioch to rebellion, and receiving Ptolemy within the city, bound a diadem about his head and offered him the kingship. He, however, had no appetite for the throne, but did desire to add Coelê Syria to his own realm, and privately arranged with Demetrius a joint plan, whereby Ptolemy was to rule Coelê Syria and Demetrius his ancestral domains."

-Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, XXXII.9c

Ptolemy VI died from wounds in the final battle with Alexander Balas and his brother took the throne as Ptolemy VIII.  Alexander Balas dies around August of 145.  Diodotus was a powerful administrator under Alexander I Balas who organized a revolt against Demetrius II, crowning the young son of Alexander I as Antiochus VI.  From his base in Chalcis by Belus, in Syria near Beroea, he soon took control of Apamea (~fall of 144 BC).  By this time he had already taken on a new name "Tryphon". 

Sometime in 144/3 probably in the summer of 143 BC, he took control of Antioch and the Seleucid war elephants!  This coin issued in Antioch, in the name of Antiochos VI features a war elephant on the reverse.


Seleucid Empire, Antiochos VI Dionysos, 144-142 BC, Serrate Æ (23mm, 8.23g, 12h), Antioch on the Orontes mint, struck mid 143(?)-circa 142 BC.

Obv: Radiate and diademed head of Antiochos VI right, wreathed with ivy

Rev: Elephant left, holding torch with raised trunk; to right, ΣΤΑ above palm branch

Ref: SC 2006

Demetrius II retained control of northern Syria, Sidon, Tyre, central Phoenicia, Mesopotamia and Babylonis, ruling in parallel with Antiochos VI (who was controlled by Tryphon/Diodotus).  Circa 142 BC, Antiochus VI died, allegedly from surgery, and Tryphon crowned himself King.  Here's how Flavius Josephus (AD 37/38- 100) tells the story.  Josephus was a Jewish priest, scholar, and historian who completed "The Antiquities of the Jews" in AD 93 :

"Now a little while after Demetrius had been carried into captivity, Trypho his governour, destroyed Antiochus (VI), the son of Alexander, who was also called the God: and this when he had reigned four years. Though he gave it out that he died under the hands of the surgeons. He then sent his friends, and those that were most intimate with him to the soldiers; and promised that he would give them a great deal of money if they would make him King. He intimated to them that Demetrius was made a captive by the Parthians: and that Demetrius’s brother Antiochus (VII), if he came to be King, would do them a great deal of mischief, in way of revenge for their revolting from his brother. So the soldiers, in expectation of the wealth they should get by bestowing the Kingdom on Trypho, made him their ruler."

-Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, XIII.7.1

Post your coins of Tryphon, Antiochus VI, Demetrios II, Antiochus VII or anything else that you find interesting or entertaining.



for more coins from this period and additional resources see :


Edited by Sulla80
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Cool coin, great story and excellent animation!

Here is one of the VERY rare Macedonian shields we still have somewhat intact. It bares the name of Demetrios, which most attribute to Demetrios ll.



Demetrios II Nikator

Second reign, 129-125 BC. Antioch mint. Struck 129-128 BC. Av.: Laureate head of Zeus right Rv.: Nike advancing left, holding wreath and palm; Ref.: SC 2170.1a; HGC 9, 1133. Good EF, black, patina.

Some Seleucid silver:

Weight: 5.58 g. Purchased from Art & Coins auction 1 December 2021



Antiochos VI Dionysos. 144-142 BC. AR Drachm (16mm, 3.21 g, 1h). Antioch on the Orontes mint. Undated issue, struck circa 143-142 BC. Radiate and diademed head right / [B]AΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY EΠIΦANOYΣ ΔIONYΣOY, spiked Macedonian helmet with cheek guards, adorned with wild goat’s horn above visor; TPY above helmet, monogram to lower right. SC 2003a; SMA –; HGC 9, 1037; Sunrise 209. VF, toned. Very rare. Purchased from Savoca Jan 2022


My favorite Tryphon isn't my favorite portrait. That's because Tryphon coins should be judged on the detail of their AWESOME Macedonian helmets! (That and it's shaped like a ❤️)


Tryphon, Diodotus

Antioch, 141 BCE, AE 18mm, 5.66g

Obvs: Head of Tryphon right diademed.

Revs: BAΣΙΛEΩΣ TPYФΩNOΣ AYTOKPATOPOΣ, Spiked Macedonian helmet. Grain to left. As good a specimen of the type that you will see.

SC 2034.2b Ex: Savoca July 2022




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Neat animation!


Antiochus VI
Mint: Antioch
143/142 BC
Obvs: No inscription. Antiochus radiate head right,
within dotted border.
ΔIONYΣOY, Elephant walking left. Cornucopia behind, ΣTA
AE Serrate 22x23mm, 8.45g
SC 2006a; HGC 9, 1043(C)


Antiochus VI
Mint: Uncertain mint, probably in Northern Syria
Denomination C
144 to 142 BC
Obvs: Forepart of panther right. Dotted border.
Revs: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY EΠIФANOYΣ ΔIONYΣOY, in four lines within ivy wreath.
AE 17x18mm, 4.20g
SC 2019; HGC 9, 1050(R3)


Tryphon, Diodotus
Mint: Antioch
142 to 138 BC
Obvs: Head of Tryphon right diademed.
Revs: BAΣΙΛEΩΣ TPYФΩNOΣ AYTOKPATOPOΣ, Spiked Macedonian helmet.
AE 18mm, 4.9g
Ref: SC 2034.1; HGC 9, 1061(S)

Demetrios II, first reign
Mint: Probably Seleucia in Pieria
145 to 143 BC
Obvs: Diademed head of Demetrios II right within dotted border.
Revs: BAΣΙΛEΩΣ ΔHMHTPIOY in two lines on right, NIKATOPEΣ on left. Anchor flukes upward, rose, flower, or lily lower left.
AR Drachm 15mm, 4.02g
Ref: SC 1927.1; HGC 9, 982(R2)


Antiochus VII
Mint: Antioch
Year 174, 139 to 138 BC
Obvs: Prow right surmounted by pilei of Dioscuri, dotted border.
Revs: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY EYEPГETOY, Trident ornamented with dolphins facing downward on each side. Δo P flanking trident.
AE 22mm, 11.2g.
Ref: SC -; HGC 9, -
Note: Unpublished with date Δo P instead of Δ oP; lack of symbols or controls.

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SELEUKID KINGS of SYRIA. Antiochos VI Dionysos. (144-142 BC). Antioch on the Orontes mint.
O: Diademed and radiate head right, wreathed with ivy.
R: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY EΠIФANOYΣ ΔIONYΣOY; elephant standing left, holding torch in trunk; ΣTA above cornucopia in right field.
SNG Spaer 1772

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5 minutes ago, Xeno said:


Seleukid Kingdom. Antiochus VI Dionysus. 144-142 B.C. Serrated AE21 / Elephant.


Always a sucker for elephants on coins!

Anitochus VI elephant.jpg


I'd have to say the Seleucids invented old time bottle caps that you used to get out of vending machines when you grabbed a Coke or RC Cola.

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Some nice seleucid coins! @PeteB the video really shows off that AR Drachm.  @Xeno, @Herodotus, and @Celator - your elephants show off nice color variations from orange to brown to green. Love the Macedonian shield @Ryro, and the Demetrios II Nikator with Nike as well! It is surprising to me that we don't have fields full of shields as we do coins, I guess the weapons were reused and repurposed vs. coins being buried secretly or lost easily and hidden for centuries?

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