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    Twin Kings

    SELEUCID KINGDOM. Antiochus XI (94-93 BC), with Philip I Philadelphus. AR tetradrachm (29mm, 15.61 gm, 12h). NGC AU 5/5 - 4/5. Uncertain mint 127 in Cilicia, likely Tarsus, ca. late 94 - early 93 BC. Diademed and jugate heads right of Antiochus (in foreground) and Philip, both lightly bearded, within bead-and-reel border / ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟXΟΥ - ΚΑΙ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟΥ, Zeus enthroned left, holding Nike in right hand and grounded long lotus-tipped scepter in left, C - •I• - Ω arranged vertically in outer left field, A below throne, all within laurel wreath border. SC 2437. HGC 9, 1296 (R2-3), Houghton, SNR 66, group I.5. Well struck in sound metals, with two exceptional portraits in sculptural high relief. Extremely rare and certainly among the finest known specimens!

    The murderous sibling politics of the later Seleucid Kingdom are perfectly encapsulated by this extremely rare and striking coin of the twin brothers Antiochus XI and Philip I Philadelphus ("brother-loving"). The twins were part of a brood of siblings born to Antiochus VIII Grypus, whose troubled reign of 121-96 BC saw the Seleucid realm shrink while being riven by repeated dynastic civil wars against his half-brother Antiochus IX Cyxicenus (114-95 BC), who also had an ambitious son, Antiochus X. Keeping track of the dynastic wars that followed requires a complex flow chart, but the broad outlines are thus: Seleucus VI, son of Antiochus VIII and elder brother to the twins, was murdered by a mob in the city of Mopsus, Cilicia, in mid-94 BC, spurred on by their cousin Antiochus X. The twin brothers Antiochus XI and Philip raised a rebellion in Cilicia, probably based at Tarsus, and viciously sacked Mopsus in revenge for their brother's murder. Proclaiming their joint kingship, the twins struck a rare series of silver tetradrachms bearing their jugate portraits at their headquarters city and made ready for full-scale civil war against their cousin. However, when the time came to invade Syria, Antiochus XI seems to have acted alone, for his coins struck at the city of Antioch bear only his portrait and make no mention of Philip. Antiochus X rebounded from this defeat and reclaimed Antioch in early 93 BC; in the ensuing battle Antiochus XI fell into the Orantes river and drowned. Philip Philadelphus maintained his power base in Cilicia, where he continued to wage war against his cousin and two other brother or half-brothers, Demetrius III and Antiochus XII, who held power in eastern Syria, Phoenicia and Judaea until about 87 BC. Philip ultimately survived his rivals and reigned a steadily shrinking rump state until about his death 76 or 75 BC.




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    Auction Dates
    April, 2018
    20th-23rd Friday-Monday
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