Search


CNG Bidding Platform

Information

Products and Services



Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
10700514

Artaxerxes III as Pharaoh?

Triton XXI, Lot: 514. Estimate $10000.
Sold for $12000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CILICIA, Tarsos. Mazaios. Satrap of Cilicia, 361/0-334 BC. AR Stater (23mm, 10.88 g, 3h). Crowned figure of Artaxerxes III in the guise of Baaltars seated right on throne with back terminating in swan’s head, holding lotus flower in right hand, lotus-tipped scepter in left; B’LTRZ (in retrograde Aramaic) to left, M (in Aramaic) to lower right / Lion recumbent left; bow above. Casabonne Series 6; SNG France 422 (Myriandros); SNG Levante Supp. 26 var. (legend not retrograde; Myriandros); Jameson 1621; Sunrise Sale 88. EF, toned, some scratches and peripheral deposits on reverse. Very rare.


Ex Gorny & Mosch 236 (7 March 2016), lot 275.

The walking-lion series of Mazaios had originally been attributed to the mint of Tarsos, but Newell argued that they more likely were struck at Myriandros in his study of that mint in AJN 53 (1919). Later, J.D. Bing, in AJN 1 (1989), argued for an alternative attribution of the Myriandros coinage to the mint of Issos. While most numismatic works continue to follow Newell, Casabonne’s significant study of Cilicia during the Persian period convincingly returns these coins of Mazaios to the mint of Tarsos (cf. Casabonne, pp. 215–7).

The appearance of Baaltars on this issue is significantly different from the relatively standard depiction of the deity on other coins of Tarsos. While the deity is typically shown nude to his waist, here the figure is fully clothed with attire that closely resembles that on the figure that appears on the royal Persian coinage struck at Sardes. More important, though, is the headdress on the figure. Baaltars typically wears a laurel wreath or no headdress, while this portrait shows the figure wearing an elaborate headdress. In a recent article, Frank Kovacs analyzed the type, and argues that this figure is actually the Great King Araxeres III Ochos, in the guise of Baaltars, and the headdress is the combined crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, thus his appearance here is as pharaoh of Egypt (cf. F. Kovacs, "Two Persian Pharaonic Portraits" in JNG L [2000]; see also M. Thompson, in MN XII [1968], pp. 11–2, who notes the figure wearing a "high crown of Egyptian type"). This is plausible, as Araxerxes was the first pharaoh of the Thirty-First Dynasty of Egypt, and the date of his rule there, 343-338 BC, comports well with this issue under Mazaios.

O. Casabonne, while acknowledging that the figure here may represent a synthesis of Baaltars and the Great King, disagrees with the identification of the headdress as the Egyptian crown. Instead, he views the headdress as being a Phrygian style cap that is often depicted in contemporary art as being worn by warriors (cf. Casabonne, p. 121, fig. 8), but is here shown with the cheek guards in a raised position.