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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XXI, Lot: 440. Estimate $2000.
Sold for $2750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

KINGS of BITHYNIA. Prousias I Cholos. Circa 228-182 BC. AR Tetradrachm (34.5mm, 16.94 g, 12h). Nikomedeia mint. Struck circa 210/00-182 BC. Diademed head right / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠPOYΣIOY, Zeus Stephanephoros standing left; to inner left, thunderbolt above two monograms. RG 9b var. (unlisted monograms); HGC 7, 614; SNG von Aulock 6678 var. (monograms); SNG Copenhagen 623 var. (same); Pozzi 2147 var. (monograms in reverse order); Triton XX, lot 185 var. (same, same obv. die). Near EF, toned. Fine style.

Ex Numismatica Genevensis SA III (29 November 2004), lot 34.

The historical record of Prousias I begins well into his reign, in 220 BC, when he defeated the forces of Byzantion, capturing their territories on the Asian side of the Thracian Bosporos; all the while his enemies, Attalos I of Pergamon and Adaios, the Seleukid general in Thrace, were supporting Prousias’ uncle as an usurper to his kingdom. Subsequently, circa 218 BC, Attalos encouraged the Galatians, who had previously murdered Prousias’ father, Ziaëlas, to invade Bithynia in order to weaken Prousias’ position, but they were decisively defeated. Prousias then allied with Philip V of Macedon during the First Macedonian War (214-205 BC), and attacked the territories of Attalos I, forcing the latter to withdraw his support from the Romans. In the aftermath of that conflict, Philip and Prousias jointly campaigned against Pergamon in the First Cretan War (205-200 BC). During the confilct, the Pergamene-controlled cities of Kios and Myrleia were destroyed, and upon their ruins Prousias founded the cities of Prousias by the Sea and Apameia, respectively. Over the next 12 years, Prousias stayed out of the region’s major conflicts, until a territorial dispute led to renewed conflict between the Attalids and Bithynians (187-183 BC). During this conflict, Prousias gave the famous Carthaginian general, Hannibal, asylum, for which the latter served as a military advisor to the Bithynian king. At the same time, Prousias expanded his kingdom by attacking the territory of Herakleia Pontike, but this venture came to a premature end when Prousias was injured in battle. This injury lead to his epithet, Cholos (“the lame”). In 183 BC, the Attalid king, Eumenes II, decisively defeated the Bithynians, forcing Prousias to give up his territories in Phrygia and turn over Hannibal to the Romans (an event that the Carthaginian escaped by committing suicide). Prousias died the following year.