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    Veni, Vidi, Vici

    BOSPORAN AND PONTIC KINGDOMS. Pharnaces II (63-47 BC). AV stater (22mm, 8.21 gm, 12h). Panticapaeum, dated Pontic Year 245 (53/2 BC). Diademed bust of Pharnaces right, with luxuriant hair / BAΣIΛEΩΣ BAΣIΛE-ΩN above, MEΓAΛOY ΦAPNAKOY below, Apollo enthroned left, holding laurel branch over tripod, left elbow resting on lyre at his side; date EMΣ over ivy leaf to right. K.V. Golenko and J.P. Karyszkowski, 'The Gold Coinage of King Pharnaces of the Bosporus,' in Numismatic Chronicle 1972, p. 35, 5. Cleanly struck from fresh dies on an exceptionally broad flan, decidedly rare thus. NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5.

    The son of the Pontic king Mithradates VI, longtime archenemy of Rome, Pharnaces II forced his father to commit suicide in 64 BC to placate the Roman general Pompey. In return, Pompey granted Pharnaces the title King of the Bosporus and left him alone while Rome annexed most of the middle east and Asia Minor. For a decade, Pharnaces kept his ambitions in check, but upon the death of the Armenian king Tigranes II the Great in 55/4 BC, he assumed Tigranes' title King of Kings (Basileus Basileon), claiming leadership of all Eastern monarchs. He struck a limited number of gold staters bearing the title, of which this example is one of perhaps 50 surviving specimens. When civil war broke out between Caesar and Pompey in 49 BC, Pharnaces sensed an opportunity to recoup his father's vast empire and marched against the Roman provinces and client kingdoms of Asia Minor. He defeated a provincial Roman army led by Julius Caesar's legate, Gn. Domitius Calvinus, in 48 BC. But the Roman civil war ended abruptly the same year, and after dallying with Cleopatra in Egypt for several months, Caesar marched north into Asia Minor to restore the situation and avenge Calvinus. The climactic battle took place at Zela in mid 47 BC. While Pharnaces' army fought bravely, it was no match for Caesar's hardened legions. Describing the quick, sharp battle, Caesar sent a famous three-word dispatch to the Roman Senate: "Veni, vidi, vici" ("I came, I saw, I conquered."). 


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    13th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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