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Triton XXVII

Lot nuber 217

KINGS of PONTOS. Mithradates VI Eupator. Circa 120-63 BC. AR Tetradrachm (31mm, 16.72 g, 12h). Pergamon mint. Dated month 9, year 223 BE (June 74 BC). Near EF.

Triton XXVII
Lot: 217.
 Estimated: $ 7 500

Greek, 12h, Coin-in-Hand Video, Silver

Sold For $ 9 000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

KINGS of PONTOS. Mithradates VI Eupator. Circa 120-63 BC. AR Tetradrachm (31mm, 16.72 g, 12h). Pergamon mint. Dated month 9, year 223 (June 74 BC). Diademed head right / BAΣIΛEΩΣ MIΘPAΔATOY EYΠATOPOΣ, stag grazing left; to left, star-in-crescent above monogram; to right, ΓKΣ (year) above monogram; Θ (month) in exergue; all within Dionysiac wreath of ivy and fruit. Callataÿ dies O48/R– (unlisted rev. die); HGC 7, 340; DCA 692; SNG Ashmolean 201 (same obv. die); Davis 186 (same obv. die); Pozzi 2100 (same obv. die). Beautiful golden toning, minor scratches and marks. Near EF. Well centered and struck, with a wonderful portrait.

Mithradates was a fascinating Hellenistic at a time with Roman power was ascendent. His career, driven by megalomaniacal ambitions, led to murderous assaults upon family and followers alike and disastrous foreign adventures against superior forces. His portraiture attempts to mimic the gods with its bold staring gaze and unruly, free-flowing hair, but at its most extreme is a personification of hysteria in its Dionysiac sense.

At the age of 18, Mithradates overthrew his mother’s regency and embarked on a career of conquest, bringing most of the lands around the Black Sea into his domain. His expansionist aims inevitably brought him into conflict with Rome, and in preparation for the coming war he built up the largest army in Asia, unleashing it in 88 BC in what would be the First Mithradatic War. He sought to undermine the Roman power base by ordering the massacre of every Roman citizen in Asia in which nearly 80,000 people perished.

The Romans were not intimidated, and when Mithradates crossed over to Greece proper as ‘Liberator’, the Roman legions under Sulla smashed his army. Mithradates retreated to Pontus, from where he continued to skirmish with the Romans, suffering more defeats to the general Lucullus. In 63 BC, having suffered a final defeat by Pompey and facing a revolt by his own son Pharnakes, the elderly king tried to commit suicide by taking poison, but he had inured himself to its affects by years of small counterdoses, and so had to be stabbed to death by one of his mercenaries.

The final winners of all Triton XXVII lots will be determined at the live public sale that will be held on 9-10 January 2024.

Triton XXVII – Session One – Lot 1-337 will be held Tuesday morning, 9 January 2024 beginning at 9:00 AM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 22.5% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 25% for all others.

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