An apparently unique tetradrachm of Achaios
Lot 1036
SELEUKID KINGS. Achaios, usurper, 220-214 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 29 mm, 16.74 g, 12 h), Sardes. Diademed and draped bust of Achaios to right. Rev. BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ / AXAIOY Athena Alkidemos advancing left, brandishing spear with her right hand and holding shield on her left arm; to lower left, head of a horse to left; to outer right, monogram of ΠA. SC -, cf. 953.1-2 (both with a differing monogram in the inner right field). Apparently unique and unpublished save for its previous auction appearance. An attractive example of this exceedingly rare and historically important issue. Scattered light marks, otherwise, about very fine.

From the Carona Collection, ex Morton & Eden 104, 14 November 2019, 76.

Achaios the Younger came from a prominent Seleukid noble family with significant land holdings and influence in Asia Minor. His father Andromachos and his grandfather Achaios the Elder had already held high positions, and the frequent use of Seleukid dynastic women's names in the family has led some researchers to even consider Achaios an illegitimate son of Seleukos. When Seleukos III was assassinated in 222 BC and his youthful brother Antiochos III ascended the throne, Achaios the Younger supported the new ruler, despite his troops offering him the diadem. He thus played a crucial role in consolidating the new king’s reign, particularly in the face of Molon's dangerous revolt.

However, in 220 BC, Achaios himself unexpectedly rebelled against Antiochos, moving his troops from Asia Minor to the east, only to find them allegedly unwilling to fight against their legitimate king when approaching Syria. Over the following years, Achaios ruled over Asia Minor while Antiochos was preoccupied with the war against the Ptolemies. It wasn't until 216 BC that the king turned his attention to the usurper, besieging him in his capital Sardis, where in 214 BC, Achaios was captured after a failed escape attempt and brutally tortured and executed. Apart from his unique gold stater in Berlin, Achaios’s tetradrachms are among the rarest of Seleukid coinage, with only a few known specimens. Our example is furthermore a unique variant.

Like Molon's revolt, Achaios's uprising is historically particularly intriguing because it brings the great noble families into the spotlight of history alongside the royal line. This represents the second tier of the empire, which in the 3rd century was often able to establish hereditary and locally anchored regional dominions.
Starting price:
1000 CHF
Hammer price:
6500 CHF
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Closing time: 13-Jul-24, 20:37:30 CEST
All winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee.


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