Ancients: BOSPORAN KINGDOM. Asander (43-16 BC). AV stater (8.25 gm). ...
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The Bosporan Kingdom lay across the Black Sea from the northern coast of Asia Minor, occupying the Crimea and Taman Peninsula. Its culture was a mixture of Hellenic civilization and native Scythian influences, and many of its cities grew wealthy from the trade of food staples and luxury goods with the Hellenistic Greek kingdoms and, later, the Roman Empire. The kingdom's dynastic politics proved exceedingly complex, with familial betrayal commonplace. It served as the last refuge of Mithradates VI, the great enemy of Rome, until he was forced to commit suicide by his rebellious son, Pharnaces II. During the Roman Civil Wars of 49-45 BC, Pharnaces thought he saw a chance to reclaim his father's vast empire and launched a war against the Romans in Asia Minor. At first successful, he was heavily defeated by Julius Caesar at Zela in 47 BC (the famous 'veni, vidi, vici' campaign). Returning to the Bosporus, Pharnaces faced a rebellion by his daughter Dynamis and son-in-law Asander, who had him put to death. Asander hoped to be recognized by Rome as the next king of the Bosporus, but Caesar instead gave the kingdom to his friend Mithridates II of Pergamum, who invaded and forced Asander and Dynamis to flee. After Caesar's death in 44 BC, Asander managed to win the support of Octavian and reclaimed the kingdom in 43 BC. His remarkable gold coins are very much in the Hellenistic tradition, with excellent portraiture and reverse types bearing his his titles and regnal dates. Although recognized as king only from 43 BC, his regnal dates start with the death of Phaarnaces in 47 BC (in the interim he claimed only the title of Archon). Asander ruled until his 93rd year, when he was toppled by yet another rebellion in 17 BC.
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