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    Rare Portrait of First Characene King

    CHARACENE KINGDOM. Hyspaosines (ca. 127-124 BC). AR tetradrachm (32mm, 16.30 gm, 12h).  Charax-Spasinu, dated SE 190 = 123/2 BC. Diademed head of Hyspaosines right / [ΒΑ]ΣΙΛΕΩΣ YΣΠAOΣINOY to left, Heracles seated left on rock, holding club on knee; monogram to outer left, date ΦP in exergue. Assar fig. 16. Alram 491.2. BMC Arabia pl. 54, 1 var. Extremely rare! NGC Choice XF 5/5 - 4/5.

    From The California Collection. Ex ROMA Numismatics 7 (22 March 2014), lot 835. 

    The Kingdom of Characene was centered in present-day Kuwait, and was initially a satrapy of the Seleucid Kingdom. Antiochus IV Ephiphanes appointed a certain Hyspaosines as Satrap late his reign; he evidently served in this capacity for several decades and, in 127 BC, he declared the region's independence and named himself as king. At this point the Parthians were gobbling up huge chunks of the Seleucid realm, but they were apparently content to let Characene exist as a semi-autonomous region. Hyspaosines is named on a Babylonian tablet naming him as king in the capital city of Charax-Spasinu, a well-fortified port on the Persian gulf; the inscription also hames his wife as Thalassia.  Hyspaosines struck the first coins of Characene, with a diademed portrait of himself on the obverse, very much in the tradition of excellent Hellenistic portraiture. The portraits of later kings were more stylized and closer to the Parthian style. Characene retained its semi-independent state until it fell to the new Sassanid Persian dynasty in the third century AD. 


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    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    4th-5th Sunday-Monday
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