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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 430. Estimate $150. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $240. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

KINGS of PARTHIA. Mithradates III. July/August 87 - 80/79 BC. AR Drachm (4.14 gm). Rhagae mint. Diademed bust left, wearing tiara / BASILEWS MEGALOU ARS-AKOU AUTOKRATOR[OS] FILOPATOROS EPIFANOUS FILELLHNOS, Arsakes I seated right on throne, holding bow. Sellwood 31.6 (Orodes I); Shore 123 (Orodes I); BMC Parthia pg. 42, 2 (Sinatrukes); MACW 534 (Sinatrukes). Good VF. ($150)

Ex Numismatic Fine Arts XXIX (13 August 1992), lot 200.

Mithradates III, whose enthronement is recorded in another Babylonian cuneiform tablet, was a younger son of Mithradates II, hence the epithet FILOPATWR “Loving His Father” on his S31 coinage (an attribution secured by their sequence, which places them immediately after the coinage of Gotarzes I). Considering that the last tetradrachms of the Seleukid king, Demetrius III, are dated to 225 SE (88/7 BC), the Parthian king mentioned by Josephus who received the hapless Seleukid ruler must have been this Arsakid prince. He is the second king after Arsaces I to employ the title AUTOKRATWR (“Autocrat”) on his coinage. The “annual” Susa bronze emission shows that unlike his brother, Gotarzes I, he held sway over the satrapy of Susiana while his S31.9 and Shore 126 drachms from Margiane and Areia, respectively, indicate that he was in overall control of the empire. But the sketchy classical literature seems to report hostilities between Parthia and Armenia at this juncture with significant Parthian losses and Armenian gains. On the other hand, S31.8 drachms of this king from Ecbatana abound in large and small hoards and thus indicate that although Tigranes II of Armenia may have annexed parts of the satrapy of Atropatene in the north-west, he could not have penetrated into the Parthian territory as far as Ekbatana. The last year of the rule of this king was marred by a series of strenuous wars with the succeeding king, Orodes I, leading to the loss of Babylonia in April 80 BC, his expulsion from Susa shortly after September/October of that same year, and ultimately his death shortly thereafter.