AE21. 7.33g, 21.3mm
MINTED: PONTOS, Amisos. Struck under Mithradates VI, circa 85-65 BC
REF: SNG von Aulock 59
OBVERSE: Head of Dionysos right, wearing ivy wreath.
REVERSE: AMIΣOY, thyrsos leaning against cista mystica draped with panther skin; monogram to left.
Very Fine. Light olive green surfaces with slight roughness.
Historical Notes:Between 88 BC and 65 BC, Mithradates VI of the Kingdom of Pontos waged three wars against Rome. At the height of his power, he was considered the most significant foreign threat faced by the Roman Republic.
When transforming his backwater Anatolian kingdom into a significant regional power, Mithridates sought to portray himself as a champion of Greek culture to the Greek cities he sought to influence. At the same time, he prominently advertised his dynasty's eastern roots as successors of the Persian Achaemenids in Asia Minor. As Greek tradition held that the legendary hero Perseus was the ancestor of both Herakles (and by extension Alexander the Great) as well as the rulers of Achaemenid Persia, the adoption of Perseus into the royal cult of the Mithridatids served the purpose of this propaganda well.
This coin type belongs to an organized series of several denominations issued by Mithradates at a number of cities under his control. By far, the most prolific of these mints was Amisos in Pontos.
PONTOS, Amisos . Mithradates VI, 120-63 BC . AE21 . Cista mystica and thyrsos
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