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A tetradrachm of Vologases III


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Parthian Kingdom. Seleukia-on-the-Tigris mint. Billon tetradrachm (25 mm, 11.32 g). Vologases III (c.111-146 CE), dated Periteios 433 Seleucid Era (January 122 CE). Obverse: Bust of king left, wearing tiara and diadem, alpha (officina mark?) behind. Reverse: King seated on throne facing left, Tyche standing before and handing him diadem; surrounded by 7-line Greek legend (partly off flan) "Basileos Basileon Arsakou Olagasou Dikaiou Epiphanous Philellenos" (Of King of Kings Arsakes Vologases, Just, Illustrious, Philhellene), year date 433 above and between King and Tyche, month date Periteiou in bottom-most exergue (partly off flan). Sellwood 79.2, Shore 407v., Sunrise 446v. This coin: Pars Coins Bargain eSale 16, lot 26 (March 7, 2024).

Vologases III reigned during an unsettled period of Parthian history, and very little is known for certain about him. A rival claimant to the throne, Osroes I (c.109-128) controlled much of Parthia for the greater part of Vologases' reign, and it was Osroes whose armies were defeated by Trajan and who was (temporarily) forced to abandon his capital. Another contender, Mithradates V (c.128- 147) also controlled parts of Parthia at the same time. The most common coins traditionally assigned to him, the Sellwood Type 78 drachms, have been reassigned by Assar to yet another ruler, Pakoros (78 to at least 110, possibly to 120). Fortunately, Vologases included his personal name on his tetradrachms (you can read the "lagas" portion on the rightmost edge of the reverse on my specimen), making at least this identification secure. This type is known with five different letters (alpha through epsilon) behind the portrait, which seems consistent with the theory that they are officina marks. While not particularly high grade, this is a decent specimen, and the month is still readable, which is frequently not the case with Parthian tetradrachms. Please post your related coins.

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A nice tetradrachm @Parthicus, here's mine also with officina A from the Simonetta Collection of Parthian coins.



Kings of Parthia, Vologases III (c. AD 105-147), BI Tetradrachm (27mm, 13.49g, 12h), Seleukeia on the Tigris, year 435 (AD 123)

Obv: Diademed and draped bust l., wearing tiara; A behind.

Rev: Vologases seated left, receiving wreath from Tyche standing right, holding sceptre

Ref: Sellwood 79.13

for those interested in seeing hat the 5 control letter (officianae?) look like - I made this collage a while ago (I do not own any other than the one posted)...If I remember correctly the later tetradrachms of Vologases IV and VI only use the letter B...


Edited by Sulla80
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I like the portrait, quite handsome for a later Parthian issue.  Why did they go all abstract?

I've been listening to the So You Think You Can Rule Persia? as they go along.  This was a very confusing period in Parthian history.

Edited by Nerosmyfavorite68
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