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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
650326
Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 326. Estimate $1000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $1000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CILICIA, Tarsos. Mazaios, Satrap of Cilicia. 361-334 BC. AR Stater (10.95 gm). 'BLTRZ' in Aramaic right, Baaltars seated left, holding eagle-tipped sceptre in right hand; grain ear, grape-bunch, and letter in left field / 'MZDI ZI'L'BRNH RAWHLK' ("Mazaios Governor of Transeuphrates and Cilicia") in Aramaic above, lion bringing down bull above a pair of crenellated walls, each with four towers. SNG Levante 115 (this coin); cf. SNG France 354; cf. BMC Lycaonia pg. 170, 48; cf. SNG Copenhagen 314; SNG von Aulock -.Toned, nice VF. Scarce. ($1000)

The Aramaic inscription on the reverse of this stater has prompted Biblical coin researcher David Hendin to reconsider the meaning of this coin type. It traditionally is translated as “Mazaios governor of Transeuphrates and Cilicia,” but Hendin translates it somewhat differently as “Mazaios who is over Beyond the River and Cilicia.” The similarity of this inscription and a descriptive phrase used in two books of the Old Testament (which was codified at approximately the time this coin was struck) has led to Hendin’s suggestion that the walls on this coin represent the ones encompassing Jerusalem, which less than a century before had been rebuilt by Nehemiah, as related in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. (A fuller discussion of the subject is presented on pages 100-103 of the the 4th edition of Hendin’s Guide to Biblical Coins.)

(For a discussion of the career of Mazaios, see lot 322 above.)