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    ARMENIAN KINGDOM. Tigranes II the Great (95-56 BC). AR tetradrachm (15.98 gm). Antioch mint. Draped bust of Tigranes right, wearing Armenian tiara with five peaks and emblazoned with star between two eagles, bead and reel border / BAΣIΛEΩ-Σ TIΓPANOY, Tyche of Antioch seated right on rock pile, holding palm frond; Θ to inner right; monogram to lower left; to lower right, river god Orontes swimming right; all within laurel wreath. CAA 34. AC 30. Attractively toned and bearing a forceful portrait. Extremely fine.

    Tigranes II won the epithet "The Great" by expanding the Artaxiad Armenian Kingdom to its greatest extent and claiming the title "King of Kings," hitherto employed only by the Achaemenid and Parthian rulers of Persia. At its peak his kingdom incorporated all of Seleucid Syria, Cilicia, Cappadocia, and large swaths of Parthia. Though a crafty and talented statesman, his success was due less to his own military prowess than the result of a power vacuum caused by internal strife within Parthia and the collapse of the Seleucid Kingdom, along with the turmoil caused by the titanic struggle between the Roman Republic and Mithridates VI of Pontus. Tigranes formed and alliance with Mithridates, but fared poorly against the Roman generals Lucullus and Pompey. He ultimately elected to formally submit to Rome, which allowed him to retain his core kingdom while giving up his conquests. His coinage was the most extensive of any Armenian king, much of it produced at Antioch during his tenure as "protector" of the Seleucid realm. The star depicted on his distinctive tiara on these coins is likely Halley's Comet, which made a well-observed appearance in 87 BC.


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    Auction Dates
    January, 2012
    2nd-3rd Monday-Tuesday
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