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Parthia, Andragoras AR Tetradrachm. Ekbatana, circa 246/5-239/8 BC. Turreted head of Tyche right, wearing pendant earring and necklace; monogram of Andragoras behind / Athena standing left, wearing helmet, long chiton and himation, holding owl on extended right hand and resting left hand on grounded shield, transverse spear in background; ANΔPAΓOPOY to right. Roma XIV, 325; Mitchiner 20; BMC 3-4, pl. xxviii, 2-3. 16.96g, 26mm, 6h.

Good Extremely Fine. One of exceedingly few known examples, in outstanding condition for the type which is otherwise almost uniformly well worn.

From the 1960s Andragoras-Sophytes Group, present in Germany in 1975, subsequently exported to the USA.

It has been suggested that the Andragoras of Parthia whom Alexander the Great supposedly conferred local authority upon (Justin, xii. 4), never existed at all and is only mentioned by Justin by mistake. Andragoras was in fact not included in the partition of power at the Treaty of Triparadisus in 321 BC, when instead Philip was named as the ruler of Parthia, and in other classical sources Phrataphernes is usually mentioned as the satrap of Parthia until Philip replaced him. Philip in turn was satrap until 318 BC, when Peithon, who was then seeking to establish his power over all the Eastern provinces, made himself master of Parthia, and put Philip to death. Andragoras therefore has no secure place in the immediate chronology of post-Alexandrine Parthia. It is of course possible that Justin was mistaken about his satrapy (numerous other small satrapies existed in the area), or had his dating confused - the existence of an Andragoras who was Satrap of Parthia under Antiochos I, is uncontested. This Andragoras appears to have taken advantage of what appeared to be the imminent collapse of the Seleukid Empire in the Third Syrian War, when - following the death of Antiochus II - Ptolemy III seized control of the Seleucid capital at Antioch, to secede from the empire and make his satrapy into an independent kingdom. Following the secession of Parthia from the Empire and the resultant loss of military support, Andragoras had difficulty in maintaining his borders, and in about 238 BC the Parni invaded under the command of Arsakes and his brother Tiridates and seized control of the northern region of the Parthian territory. Andragoras appears to have been killed either attempting to retake this territory, or while resisting the Parni conquest of the remainder of Parthia.

Given the evidence we are presented with, the silver coinage of Andragoras and Sophytes should be considered roughly contemporary, but it seems apparent that Andragoras' Tyche-Athena tetradrachms slightly pre-dated the helmeted head series of Sophytes. Earlier scholarship has often tended to date the coinage of both Andragoras and Sophytes much too early, occasionally to the period immediately following the death of Alexander. The presence in this group of a somewhat worn Seleukos elephant-quadriga type tetradrachm (SC 177.5) from the Susa mint, suggests a terminus post quem of 295 BC. Further considerations on the identical monograms found on the gold and silver coinage of Andragoras, and a thorough review of the political history of the eastern satrapies of the Seleukid empire from 321-250 BC lead us to conclude that there can have been only one Andragoras, and that both the silver and gold coinage must date to the time of his rebellion and secession from the Empire. We have therefore proposed the redating of this series to c.246/5-239/8 BC.

Parthia, Andragoras AR Tetradrachm. (rxvi399)

Price: £15,384.00

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  • (Rates for 17/10/2018)
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