An exceptional drachm of Archelaos Philopatris Ktistes pedigreed to 1928
KINGS OF CAPPADOCIA. Archelaos Philopatris Ktistes, 36 BC-AD 17. Drachm (Silver, 19 mm, 3.74 g, 1 h), RY 20 = 17/6 BC. Diademed head of Archelaos to right. Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ APXEΛΑΟΥ ΦΙΛΟΠΑΤΡΙΔΟΣ TOY ΚΤΙΣΤΟΥ Club; in field to right, K (date). BMC 1. Cohen, Dated Coins of Antiquity, 464. RPC I 3601.10 (this coin). Simonetta, Coins, 1 corr. (reverse legend). Simonetta 1. SNG Copenhagen 165. Rare and undoubtedly among the finest known examples. A wonderful coin, beautifully toned and with a portrait of great sensitivity and beauty. Faint marks, otherwise, about extremely fine.

From the collection of Osman Nouri Bey, Cahn 60, 2 July 1928, 1021.

The coinage of the long-time Cappadocian king, Archealos Philopatris Ktistes, differs in many ways from that of his Ariobarzanid predecessors. Firstly, his coins consistently portray him as a juvenile ruler throughout his reign of fifty years, clearly following the example set by his patron, Augustus, in Rome. Secondly, the formerly mostly uniform reverse type of the Cappadocian kings - a standing Athena - gets dropped in favor of Herakleian imagery, namely the appearance of the hero's club on the drachms. Thirdly, the Argaios makes its first appearance on coins, as Archealos' hemidrachms show the schematic rendering of the holy mountain on their reverse, in combination with a portrait of Herakles on the obverse. Lastly, and perhaps also most intriguingly, Archelaos adopted the titles of 'Philopator' ('father-loving') and 'Ktistes' ('founder'), departing, once more, from those of his predecessors.

Archelaos' epithets illustrate his political program. 'Philopator' refers to his father, Archelaos, a priest-king of the temple-state of Komana, the second most influential position in the Cappadocian state. 'Ktistes', on the other hand, is a title usually bestowed upon city founders. As such, the younger Archelaos portrays himself as the re-founder of the Cappadocian Kingdom, a fitting epithet for one of the most successful Roman client kings of his age. As a newcomer to the throne, Archelaos based his legitimacy not just on the backing of the superpower, but sought to align himself with local traditions and the influential Cappadocian nobility. On the world stage, he married off his daughter, Glaphyra, to Alexander, son of Herod the Great, in 17 BC. The couple had three children, a daughter, and the sons Alexander and Tigranes, both of which would later become Armenian kings (Tigranes V and Tigranes VI). When Glaphyra's husband, Alexander, was killed by Herod in 8/7 BC, she married Juba II of Mauretania, only to divorce him in 4 AD and marry her first husband's half brother, Herod Archelaos. Her father's fate, however, was tragic. After a long rule of fifty years, he was deposed and arrested by Tiberius in 14 AD, only escaping narrowly capital punishment due to his alleged dementia. Archealos died in exile in 17 AD, aged eighty.
Price: 17,500 CHF


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