KINGS OF ARMENIA. Erato, sole reign, circa 13-15. Octachalkon (Bronze, 25 mm, 12.23 g, 1 h), Artaxata, RY 3. BA - [EPAT] Diademed and draped bust of Erato to right. Rev. [E - Γ] Aerial view of the city walls of Artaxata, in the shape of an octagon with six tall round defense towers and two gateways. Kovacs 187. Of the highest rarity and the greatest historical importance. Somewhat worn, but clear and attractive and undoubtedly among the finest of very few known examples. Good fine.
From an important collection of Armenian coins.
This highly interesting issue was struck during the short sole reign of Queen Erato, the last of the Orontid line to rule Armenia. As it is unclear whether the 3rd regnal year on the reverse takes into account her earlier joint reign with her half-brother and husband Tigranes IV in 2 BC-1 AD or not, we do not know if Erato's sole reign lasted at least three years or less than one. In any case, the sole rule of a queen was a novum in Armenian history, as was the depiction of the city walls of Artaxata on a coin. We may presume that Erato, as a woman, felt especially pressured to boast military strength in her royal self-representation, leading her to radically change the Armenian numismatic iconography in a time of increasing Parthian pressure.