Henry Noel Humphreys.

The coin collector's manual; or, Guide to the numismatic student in the formation of a cabinet of coins: comprising an historical and critical account of the origin and progress of coinage, from the earliest period to the fall of the Roman empire; with some account of the coinages of modern Europe, online

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Online LibraryHenry Noel HumphreysThe coin collector's manual; or, Guide to the numismatic student in the formation of a cabinet of coins: comprising an historical and critical account of the origin and progress of coinage, from the earliest period to the fall of the Roman empire; with some account of the coinages of modern Europe, → online text (page 16 of 33)
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Sapor, Eong of the Kings of Irun, Celestial Germ of the
Ck)ds." On some of the coins he appears with the ancient
Persic crown embroidered with pearls, previously described.
The reverses have generally the fire-altar, guarded by two
armed figures in the Persian costume, with loose trousers,
all Greek character in the costume having disappeared.
(See Plate VI.)

Hormuz, or Hormisdas I. (from a.d. 273 to 274), was the
son of the preceding, and is described as an excellent prince.

Yarhanes,* or Varavanes I. (from A.n. 274 to 277), the son
of the preceding, carried on an unprofitable war against
Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, by whose energy the power of
Persia had received a severe check, and afterwards with the
victorious Aurelian.

Yarhanes II. (from A.n. 277 to 294) was the son of the
preceding. Disputes with the Eomans continued, and he
was defeated, and Ctesiphon and Seleucia taken by the army
under the Emperor Cams ; but the death of this emperor
prevented the further progress of the Eomans. On the
coinage of Yarhanes LE. he is represented wearing very
singular head-dresses : sometimes a winged crown supporting
the globe-like ornament ; the portrait of Hs queen also appears
upon his coins beneath his own portrait. She wears a
rich head-dress, composed of an ornament in the form
of a boar*s head; while a third figure, that' of a boy,
is placed in front of the royal profile. The bov wears
a cap, terminating in an ornament formed like the head

* This name is found in some histories, spelt as Bahrana, or Bahanes.

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154 ooms OF THB sassajtedj:.

0f sn engle, and m topposed to be Names, the son af
Yarhaoesu The levvnoB haTe the &e4iltar goanLed l^
armed figores, like those on the eoins of Bapor. Yiseooti
finds a d^culiyin aikrwing ihe second figure on thk <ecM]ito
be a ^xieea, sc^poamg ^at pd^jgamy Hien pi^wiled in
Persia aa at present. Bat, pre^ioiifl to the overthrow of the
Saasainan race of princes by the MahomedanB in iAie seyeDtfa
century, it is evident that women of rank played a modi
more conBpicuoas part i^Mxi under the influenoe of laiamiam,
aa is proved by me successiye reigns of the daughters of
Chosroes IL

Yahraaies III. (i..d. 294), ekiest son of the pa*eceding, died
afber a reign of eight months.

Narsi, or Narses (fixmi a^d. 294 to 303), carried on a war
against the Iknperor Diodettan, which arose out of the loog-
dtt^uted Annenian succession. l%e result of this war was
the cession of Mesopotamia to the Eomans, with ihe supe-
riority ove^ liie kingdoms of Armenia and Iberia, and other
concessions. Narses, though vanquished, was a man of
remarkable talents ; and it has been observed as a singular
coinddence, that he, the vanquished, and Diocletian, the
vanquisher, both became disgusted with absolute power,
and retired to private life. Karses died soon afb» his abdi-
cation. There are good coins of this reign, o£ the general
character of those previously described.

Hormuz II. (from A.n, 308 to 310) was the son of the
preceding. Nothing remarkable occurred in his ragn.

Sapor II. (from a.d. 310 to 381.) — ^This prince, iiie aon of
the preceding, was crowned before he was bom, the Magi
having announced that the vddowed queen was about to
become the mother of a male child. Cruel persecutions of
the Persian and Armenian Christians look place in this
reign ; and ihe suooeBsfid war against the Bomans, cairied
through the reigns ci Constantius, Julian, and Jovian, ended
in the cession to the Persians of the five provinces beyond
the Tigris, and several important fortresses ; while the king-
doms of Iberia and Armenia, tributary to Some, waie left to
tiidr fate, and completely reduced by Sapor in a j). 381. He
received the surname of ^ the Great,'^ and is doubtless one
of the greatest of his race. His coins are numerous, and
resemble in general character those already described.

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OOOrS OT THE bjlhbaxtdm, 155

Aidisiiir II. (from ▲. b. 381 to 38S) — ^A priiiee of the
lAood, but not of the direct Ime, remained at peace witk tiie

Sapor III. (from a., d. 886 to 390.) — ^AjMthcr prince of
collateral descent ; eought tbe alliance of Theodosins the
Great, and i^estored the independence of Armenia and Iberia.

Yarhaneei II. (from a. d. 390 to 404), as stated on a rock-
inBcriplion at Kermanshah.

Yezdgird, or Jewiigerd I. (from a. h. 404 to 420) received
Ihe flumame of " Alathim " (the sinner), and was a son or
brother of the preceding. He is said to have signed a peace
lor a hundred years with the Emparor Arcadios, and was
probably called " the sinner " on account of the toleration
he extended to the Christians, until Abdas, bishop of Susa,
wantonly destroyed a fine Persian temple, on which several
persecutions of the Christians recommenced.

Varhanes V. (from a. b. 420 to 440) was a son of the pre-
ceding. His persecutions of tiie Christiaaas drove thousands
of his subjects to seek refuge within the Eoman dominions,
which led to the division of Armenia into Persian Mid
Boman Armenia. Yarhanes was more successful against the
Huns, Turks, and Indians, and his exploits and adventures
in those wars are celebrated by Persian writers.*

Thare are coins of all the reigns above named of the usual

The reigns of Yezdijird 11. (from 448 to 456), Hormuz III.
(from 468 to 484), and Palash (from a. d. 484 to 488), offer
no events but Christian persecutions that require record here.

Kobad (from a. n. 488 to 498 ; and, after the usurpation of
Jomaspes, frK)m a. d. 501 to 631) — During this reign the
great Persian victories over the armies of the eastern em-
peror, Anastasius, occurred ; when peace, without samfice
of Roman territory, was at length ootained by payment of
eleven thousand pounds of gold. The Eomans then con-
structed the famous fortress of Dora, opposite Ctesiphon, on
the spot where the present road descends from the moun-
tains of Mesopotamia to the plains of the south. Kobad
constructed similar fortresses against the Huns, in the defilcB
of the Caucasus, now called Demi kapu (" the iron gates.")

* See Sir John Malcolm for many highly enrieos and intermthig deteilf .

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The celebrated Belisariiis was engaged in the wars of this
reign. The Persian coins, except the name of the Prince,
offer little variation.

Khosru I., or Chosroes (from a. d. 531 to 579), sumamed
" Annshirwan " (the generous mind), was one of the greatest
monarchs of the Sassanidan dynasty. ELis wars against
the Eomans were so successful that Justinian was compelled
to purchase peace at the expense of a tribute of forty thou-
sand pieces of gold paid annually. His dominions extended
from the Indus to the Eed Sea. He bestowed the greatest
care on the rebuilding and repeopling depopulated cities,
and protected trade, agriculture, and learning, founding an
academy at Gondi-Sapor, where he caused the best Greek
and Latin authors to be translated into Persian. His coin-
age is not so remarkable as one might be led to expect from
his evident protection and culture of the arts in general.

Hormuz V. (from a. d. 579 to 590). — The Eomans, under
Maurice, were successful in several great battles against the
Persians; and Hormuz, after some successes against the
Turks, was seized by the grandees of the kingdom, and sen-
tenced to lose his sight as well as his throne. Buzorg, the
chief minister in the two last reigns, introduced the study of
Indian literature into Persia, and also the noble game of chess.

Yarhanes YI. (from a. d. 590 to 591), Chosroes (from a. d.
591 to 628), and Shirweh, or Siroes (628, for a few months),
were the last of the Sassanids. — ^Yaranes YI. was imable to
resist the power of Chosroes II., supported by the arms of
the emperor Maurice, but he is nevertheless considered one
of the greatest heroes of the Persian poets and historians.
Chosroes II. continued to live at Constantinople during the
reign of Maurice, so that Persia was completely under the
Gr»co-Eoman influence. Afber the death of Maurice (assas-
sinated by the usurper Phocas), Chosroes went to war to
avenge the death of his benefactor; and so great was his
success, that scarcely anything remained of the Eoman em-
pire in the east except the city of Constantinople — Syria,
Palestine, and Egypt having ail fallen under the Persian
yoke. Opposite to the imperial city, at Chalcedon, the
Persians maintained themsekes during ten years ; and it
was not till 621 a. d., that the Emperor Heraclias changed
the face of affairs, and saved the eastern empire ; recovermg

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all the territories as rapidly as they had been lost. Chosroes,
borne down by misfortune, was deposed and murdered by his
son, Shirweh. Chosroes lived in greater magnificence during
his prosperity than any former Persian monarch, and treated
with disdain the summons of Mohammed to embrace the new
doctrine. Shirweh reigned only eight months, but concluded
a peace with Heraclias, restoring all prisoners made during
the war, and abo the holy cross, which had been carried away
from Jerusalem by Chosroes. Ardishir, the infant son of
Shirweh, was murdered a few days after the death of his father.

Touran Dokht, a daughter of the last Chosroes, now
reigned a short time, and afterwards her loyer and cousin.
Agermi Dokht, another daughter of Chosroes, then held the
supreme power, and she was followed by

Jesdigerd III., (from a.d. 632 to 651), — ^who was said to
be a grandson of Chosroes. This prince, when summoned
by the Caliph, Abu Bekr, to adopt the Mohammedan religion,
refused : and in the wars which ensued, the second Persian
empire was swept away in the tide of Moslem conquest, and
Jesdigerd eyentually perished in an attempt to regain his
throne : his son Poroses entered the service of the emperor
of China, and Persia became a province of the Mohammedan

Towards the beginning of the sixth century of our era, the
art displayed on the Sassanidan coinage begins sensibly to
decline, and gets poorer and more barbarous upon the coins
of each successive prince, with but little change in the
character of the devices ; the fire-altar being the constant
type of the reverses. The coins of the celebrated Chosroes,
however, are an exception ; the art displayed on the Persian
coinage seems to have been renovated: aud there are
coins of that prince having a frdl-face portrait which are
fer from contemptible; the reverse being as usual the

In the reigns of his daughters the coins sink again below
their former barbarism, and without the aid of comparison
with former coins, neither the former Persian head-dress nor
the fire-altar with its attendant guards, could be distinguished.
The inscriptions are, however, sufficiently legible, though
very rude, to leave no doubt as to the correct attribution of
the coins.

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Thi» receiuklj discoyered series is espeeially mtoreadang^ as
kariug beeik i^e means of reeoyermg many £M:is concevmng
the h^t(»rj of a porticm of Asia, whieh, during a long period,
was lost in obscurity; and idso as being the means of
iestc»ring at the same time a lost langaage^ - the inscriptiom
on some of the coins being bilingual, Greek on one side, and
the Indian dialect of the region on ibe other ; in the earlier
eriod a dialect of Sanscrit, and afb^rwards the Arian


The whole of the rast countries from Badria to the
prorinces bo^rdering on KalMiol and the Ponjaub^ were
subdued and colonised in the great Greek invasion of Asis
under Alexander; and most of them acknowledged the
sujl^macy of Seleucus. Nicator after he had established thol^
Aaatic dominioni generally termed the Syrian empire;
Aotiochia, the c«>ital, which he created, being situated in,
that province. Even in the. reign c^ the first Seleucus, &
portion of the Punjaub was^ after a short war, given, up to
a native prince, Chundra Goopta, the Sandracottus of
classical lustory ; and Diodotus satrap oi Bactria in the
reign of the Syrian mcmarch Antioehus II. (&om about
261 to 242 i.c), took the of^pcH*tunity afforded by the oeeiH
pation of the forces of that prince in distant wars, to declare
hda independence; while l^e secluded position of his usurped
dominion^ combined with the revolt of Parfchia, which shortly
fc^wed, enabled him to securepermanently the independent
sovereignty be had seated. He has been generally known
aa Theodokis, later historians following Justin ^ but Strabo
calls him Diodotus, and this form is confirmed by the iiir
scription on a rare gold coin in the great French collection,
wheore the same form ia used. This coin haa much of the
character oi the coins of the Seleuddan serien^ and is
nearly equal to th^n in execution*

Diodotus II. (about 240 BvC.) appears to hare niceeeded
his father in the sovereignty of Baema, and all the eoontriea
occiqj^ied by the Greeks to the east <^ Parthia. Yeiy littkr
is known of this prince, and there are no means o£ dis>

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langnyrnig- the coiii% wbid& some kaYe attributed to bim»
firom those of his £itker.

Ea&jdemiEs (220 to 190 b.€.) appears to have obtainad
possession of the Bffictrisn throose aboust 220 b.g^ aa ia
ccrajeetured, hj the emakaon of the yoimger Diodotus.
Ibrom 1^ few seat;tered passages of historiana referring to
this prisiee, it would seem tlb^t he greatlj extended the
region possessed hj the two Diodotus'^ father and sou ; and
so firmly was his dominion established, that he waa enabled
successlully to resist the attempt of Antiochus the Great to
regain the lost provinces of Baetria. SiLyer coins of his
reign are found in coaisiderable nimibers at Bokhara, Balkh^
and other pla^s of that region. Thej haye, generaUj,. a
boldly though not finety executed head ; and on the reverse
a good figure of Heseuka sitting on alicm-aJmi, and holding a
dub, with the inscriptiasi, ba21/iex£S eybbahmot — the Greek
dsaracters ahreadj begimsing to show corruptions^ whidi
efentuaUj render them abnost iUegible in this series.

Demetrius (190 to about 181 B.C.) was, like his father,
eotemporary with Antiochus the Great, whose daughter he
married. His coins are more variouA than those c^ hia pre-
decessors^ and ozL some he is represented wearing a head -
dress formed of the skin of an elephant and the tusks, in
the style of similar coins of Alexancfcr the Great.

Eucratides (fnxm about 181 to about 150 B.e.). Thia
prince s^pears to have revoked from Demetrius while the
latter was engaged in an Indian campaign ; so that they may
have rdgned £r some time eotemporaneously, Eueratidea
in the north portion of the state, and Demetrius in the
southern or Indian provinces. It appears probable^ bow-
ever, that Eueratides eventually hdd all the terzitoriea of
former Grseco-Bactrian princes, and ev^i greatly extended
them, in so much that he was styled " the lord of a thousand
cities," and assumed the title of Great. He was eventually
assassinated by his soa. The abundanee of his coins, stiU
continualty found on both sid^ of the Faropamisusy is aa
evid^Qce of his power and wealith. On these coinB he is
generaUj r epr esen ted weariDg a peculiarly formed helmet ;
and on the reverse idie Diosevri are the most common type>
with thein8cr^tiaii,BA9UBasMBrAAaf EVKFATiAoy, "of the
great king Euetatida^" i& gooi Graak eharaciera. Some

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of his coins are square, and some of these have the bilingual
inscriptions before referred to, in which case the Greek
inscription surrounds the portrait, and the Indian one is
placed aboye and below the Dioscuri, on the reverse.

Antimachus, Heliocles, and Agathocles (about 180 to 150
B.C.), appear to have been Greek princes, holding independent
dominion in some portion of those regions cotemporary
with Eucratides ; and coins have been discovered of each of
them, very similar in style to those of Eacratides, those of
Agathocles being, perhaps, of the best execution.

Afber the death of Eucratides and his cotemporaries above
mentioned, another group of Greek princes appear, and the
bilingual inscriptions found on some of the coins of that
monarch, now Become general. The eastern character is
exhibited more and more on these interesting historic monu-
ments, as the Greek spirit, separated by intervening
barbarism, gradually declined; and we find such titles as
"great King of Kings,'* &c., commonly adopted in the

Erom about 150 to 120 B.C., the names of Menander,
Appollodotus, Diomedes, Zoilus, Hippostratus, Strator, Dio-
nysius, Nicias, and Hermseus occur. Several, it is probable,
were cotemporary princes of different districts. The coins
of this group of princes are inferior in art to those of the
former; andintheArian inscription the title "Basileus," or
king, is translated " Maharajasa," the term still in use in the
north of India. The author of the " neptirXovj Uovrov ED|«iwi;,"
commonly ascribed to Arian, tells us that silver coins
of Menander and Apollodotus, who appear to have been the
most powerful among the last-mentioned princes, were still
in circulation in his day ; and in modem times, considerable
numbers are found in countries south of the Hindoo Koosh,
and as &r east as Jumma.

At about the same period several other Greek princes
appear to have reigned, as Antimachus, Antialcides, Lycias,
Pmloxenes, and Auryntus, bearing the title of nikh^opos
NIKEPHOROS, "the Victorious," on their coins; and others,
as Heliocles, and a queen, A^gathocleia, bearing peaceful
titles. HermsBs, a prince of whom some coins have reached
us, and whose coins bear the portrait of his queen. Calliope,
on the reverse, appears to have been the last of the race of

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Greek princes in this region, which was subdued, about
120 B.C., by the Scythian, Azes.

Azes and Maues (from about 120 to 115 B.C.). These
Scythian conquerors, who appear to haye swept away the
last vestige of Greek and Parthian power from Bactria and
the Indiam provinces, yet adopted the style of coinage which
they found in use, just as, four centuries before, the Persian
Darius Hystaspes copied the Greek coinage which he found
in use in Asia Minor.

Maues and Azes were apparently cotemporary ; but, for
the sake of clearness, the corns of the former may be men-
tioned first, and separateljr. They exhibit a rapid transition
towards barbarism, both m the s^le of art and that of the
inscriptions. The latter are at first simply copied from the
earliest Greco-Bactrian style, as simply basiaehs matot,
"of the king Maues;" then ba2iaem mefaaot matot,
"of the great or mighty king Maues;" lastly, he styles
himself " great King of Kings," on coins similar to those of

The best-known coins of Azes represent the king holding
a kind of three-pronged spear, resembling a trident, said to
be a national Tartar weapon, and placing his foot on the
shoulder of a fallen enemy. Nine varieties are known of the
coins of Maues, and many more of Azes.

Azilises (about 115 to 90 b.o.) coined with similar titles
to those of Azes and Maues.

Vonones, Spalirius, and Spalypius (from about 90 to
60 B.C.) are names occurring on coins which are placed in
the Greco-Bactrian series. They, from the names, appear to
have been Parthian princes, who recovered portions of
Bactria from the rule of Scythian conquerors. Coins of
another prince, styling himself " great Saviour Kong," with-
out a name, are attributed to this period ; and another set
of Scythian coins, having no An'an translations of the in-
scriptions, occur about this time, — ^the Greek being scarcely
decipherable, but the names of Kodes and Hykrodes have
been distinctly made out.

The conquests of Yikramaditya occurred about this time ;
but no coins have been found which can with safety be
attributed to him.

The Eidphises dynasty (from about 50 b.o. to 50 a.]).),

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after oocupying iiie ^ief paiv«ar in norfcheni India and
Bactria for some time, issued a gold coinage, none other being
known of the Baotrian and Indian aerieSy except a few
unique gold of the earliest Greek princes. Previous to tba
issue of ikiB gcAd coinage, with its corfemmding pieces of
iiiyer, the tenns of Korso, Koranos, Zatiios, and Kozouk>
are found, which seem to be titles lower than royalty, while on
tiie gold coinage, the Greek Basileus (kin^;) is found, and its
corresponding Arian title, Maharaja ; wh^ would seem to
prove that at that epoch the power of the dynasty had greatlj
extended, and indux^ the chidf to assume a title which he had
not preriously adopted. A Greek inscription surrounds the
figure of the prince, styling him ^ King of Kings," &c., Ae. ;
and on ihe reverse the A nan inscripticm reads, ^ Mihabx-


]>sBf Maeadphzshasi. Kafbata," whidi may be trans-
Isted, " Of the Great Sorereign, King of Kings, everywhere
seizing the earth, Dhima (or Vohima) the Saviour."

These coins displav nothing of the Ghreek character of act
except the inscription on the obverse, which is ecaroelj
legible. The portrait of the king, instead of being a largo,
boidly-executed head, is, an in the ease of some of ihe ooins
of Azes, a fuU figure, of barbaric execution. He wears &e
Tartar costume, and points to a pile of loaves of bread. On
his right is the Tartar weapon resembling a trident ; and on
his left, beneath a curious monogram, also found on the coins
of the eariier Greek princes, is the club of Hercules, — the only-
remaining symbol of the Greek mythology, — ^whieh on tho
le^eitBe has entirely given way to emblems belonging to the
Budhist creed, where Siva and the Nandi bull are easily
recognised. This introduction of Budhist symbols had nkewij
commenced with tiie coinage of Azes. l%e coins of the whoto
dynasty bear the na»e A Kadphises, the founder, as m
toe Parthian series the name of the founder, Arsaces, im
adopted by all subsequent princes; and this custom was
doubtless eoped from them by the less civilised Scythian
princes, their neighbours.

Undophones, Gondi^hones, Abgasus, Abalgaaus, and
F^ores (from about 40 to 80a.i>.), are names apparently of
Parthian princes. Who appear to have possessed part of
Affghnaifltan about this period. Pdcoces, kywever, wiiose

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GBxn oonm or bactsul ajtd otsia. 168

coins ha¥e been found at Xandahar, is not supposed to
belong to ihe dynasty of Undopbones.

Kanerkis and bis djnasty (from about 100 to 200 a J>.). —
The eoins of tbis new race of dcytbian princes of Bactria and
India are verj remai^able, as i^eir inscriptions are in Gredi
onlj, tbe Arian legend being altogetber abandoned. Tbe
Greek cbaracters are, boweyer, so debased as to be scareelf
decipb^rable. Tbe title assumed is generally basiabvs
BASIAEHN (BASILEUS BASILEON), " King of Kings," and tbe
dynastic name of tbe founder, as on tbe coins of tbe Kadpbises
dynasty, &c.,&c., on tbe wbole series, kanhpkot (KANfiRKOU),
in tbe genitive case. In tbe latter coins of tbis dynasty tbe
Greek title Basileus is abandoned, and tbe Indian Kano
Nano Eao adopted in its stead, but still written in Greek
cbaracters. On a coin of tbis dynasty, struck as late as
A.B. 200, tbe prince is represented ri<Hng on an elepbant;
and on tbe reverse is a Mitbraic representation of tbe sun,
tbe bead of wbicb, as well as tbat of the prince on tbe
obverse, is surrounded by a kind of nimbus, or gloiy,
similar to that given by tbe early Christians to their repre-
sentations of the evangelists and apostles. This resumption
of exclusively Greek inscriptions at this epoch, may

Srobably be attributed to a certain renovation of tbe
ecaying Grecian influence, by tbe temporary rule of tbe
Parthian dynasty of Gondq)bor«s in a portion (^ these

After this dynasty, the coins of Badria and Northern India
become altogetber Asiatic in character, and lose all iaraces
of Greek influence. They may, th«?efore, be considered to
bdong to modem history, as they are thus more intemalh^
connected with the modem than the ancient series, wbidfi
latter may be eossidared to terminate with tbe total disuse
ci Greek inscriptions.

I shall not attempt to trace the pro|;reB8 of tbe modem
Asiatic coinages, which would carry me far beyond tbe limits

Online LibraryHenry Noel HumphreysThe coin collector's manual; or, Guide to the numismatic student in the formation of a cabinet of coins: comprising an historical and critical account of the origin and progress of coinage, from the earliest period to the fall of the Roman empire; with some account of the coinages of modern Europe, → online text (page 16 of 33)