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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 553. Estimate $1000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $775. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SASANIAN KINGS of PERSIA. Ardashir I. 224-241 AD. AR Hemidrachm (1.96 gm). "The Mazda worshipper, the divine Ardashir, the king of kings of Iran" in Pahlavi, cuirassed bust right wearing diadem and Parthian-style tiara / "Fire of Ardashir" in Pahlavi, fire altar with no attendants. Cf. Göbl II/3/2; Paruck 19; Alram 665; MACW -; De Morgan -. Near VF, light obverse scratches. Very rare. ($1000)

(See lot 550 for his earlier reign, as Artaxerxes V of Persis).

To consolidate his hold over his newly-won territories, for which he took the title “King of Kings of Iran and non-Iran,” and to legitimize his seizure of the throne, he married one of the Arsacid princesses. Moreover, he now claimed descent from the Persian king Darius, and sought to recreate the great Achaemenid empire of the past. In 230 AD, he invaded the Roman province of Syria, and threatened Armenia and Cappadocia, forcing the young emperor, Severus Alexander, who earlier had tried to prevent war by diplomatic means, to fight. The two armies met in 232 AD, in a battle in which both sides sustained such heavy losses that each was compelled to withdraw. Although not a victory, the removal of the Roman forces allowed Ardashir to consolidate his new holdings in Armenia. Upon his death in 240 AD, Ardashir had established a new and significant threat in the Roman east, one that son, and successor, Shahpur I, would make real.