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Ancient Nomos Art is a museum of galleries exhibiting ancient coins and ancient mint maps. The coin gallery displays the diverse art and history of hand-crafted ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian and Medieval coinage. The ancient mints mapping gallery features Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Asia Minor and Medieval mint city regions and territories. Visitor's are welcome to explore, study and enjoy Ancient Nomos Art.

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Kings of Parthia – 185 BC

King Phriapatios

From Ancient Galleries

Kings of Parthia – 185 BC

Obverse: Bust of Parthian King Phriapatios facing left, seen wearing his bashlyk and earring.
Reverse: Arsakes I as archer wearing bashlyk, seated right on omphalos and holding a bow.

Obv: Bust of Phriapatios facing left, wearing bashlyk and earring, within dentiled border Rev: BAΣIΛEΩΣ AP ΣAKOY, Arsakes I as an archer, seated right on an omphalos, holding bow and also wearing a bashlyk.

King Phriapatios was the third king of the great Parthian Empire, also known as the Arsacid Empire. This ancient central Asian Empire became a major political and cultural power in a region that spanned a large area covering most of modern day Iran and Iraq. Little remains of the King Phriapatios legacy, but what is known was his role and importance as third king to the Arsacid dynasty. He was the grandson of Tiridates who was the brother of Arsaces I, the first Parthian King. Phriapatios is thought to be the father of three later Parthian kings, Phraates I, Mithradates I, and Artabanus. Inscriptions with his name appears on an ancient Parthian ostracon of Nisa, dated to 91 BC. The inscription phrase reads, “King Arsaces, grandson of Phriapatios, son of the Nephew of Arsaces”. Another less legible ostracon, appears to say that Arsaces, dated to the years 68-67 BC, was a descendent of King Phriapatios. What can be confirmed is Phriapatios’ Parthian rule occurred in the aftermath of the invasion by Antiochos III, an occurrence that forced Arsaces II to flee the region. After Arsaces II subsequent retreat of Antiochos III, the Parthians seemed to have turned their attention to the Bactrian Empire. Phriapatios was succeeded by his first son, Phraates I. This superb Phriapatios issue was traditionally assigned to the early reign of Mithradates I, but has recently been reattributed to Phriapatios by Dr. G.R.F. Assar (G.R.F. Assar, “Genealogy and Coinage of the Early Parthian Rulers,” Parthica 5 [2003]). Assar notes that Phriapatios began minting S7 drachms as soon as he realized that Antiochus III was preparing to take on the Romans at Magnesia. He then followed this with S8 drachms. However, towards the end of his reign, Phriapatios adopted the title King and minted some of the S9 drachms (with the royal title, ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ). His last and final issue included the rare S10.15 drachms (with the title ΘΕΟΥ, “the God”) to commemorate his deification as a God.

Value: Drachm Metal: AR Silver. Weight: 3.95 grams. Mint: Hekatompylos, Persia. Date: 185-170 BC
Attribution: G.R.F. Assar, “Genealogy and Coinage of the Early Parthian Rulers,” Parthica 5, S7-9; Sellwood 9.1 (Mithradates I); Shore 7-8; Numismatic Art of Persia, The Sunrise Collection, 252 (this coin).

Legend, Documentation and Attribution