KINGS OF PARTHIA. Mithradates I, 165-132 BC. Drachm (Silver, 16 mm, 4.00 g, 12 h), Seleukeia on the Tigris, circa 141-138. Diademed head of Mithradates I to right. Rev. BAΣIΛEΩΣ / MEΓAΛOY - APΣAKOY Zeus seated left on low throne, holding long scepter in his left hand and eagle standing right with closed wings in his right; in exergue, monogram. Sellwood 13.6. Sunrise 263. Rare. A very well centered and attractive piece with an excellent portrait. Light scratches, otherwise, good very fine.
Although the founder of the Parthian Empire was Arsakes I (247-211 BC), it would be Mithradates I who, through the conquest of Baktria (150s), Media (148/7) and Mesopotamia (141/0), established it as a major power for the centuries to come. A Seleukid counter offensive under Demetrios II initially proved to be quite successful, but the Macedonian King was eventually defeated and captured by Mithradates I in 138 after refusing a peace offer by his opponent. The present coin of Mithradates I was struck in the recently captured Seleukid mint of Seleukeia on the Tigris, explaining its distinctively Greek style.