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Coin Detail
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ID:     77000288
Type:     Greek
Issuer:     Seleucus I Nicator
Date Ruled:     312-281 BC
Metal:     Silver
Denomination:     Tetradrachm
Date Struck:     BC circa 305/4-295
Weight:     16.66 g
Die Axis:     12 h
Obverse Description:     Head of hero (Alexander or Seleukos?) right, wearing helmet covered with panther skin and adorned with the ear and horns of a bull
Reverse Description:     BASILEWS SELEUKOU, Nike standing right, holding wreath in her right hand which she places on trophy to right; AP below left wing, facing bust of Helios in lower middle field, monogram to lower right
Mint:     Susa
Primary Reference:     SC 173.16
Reference2:     ESMS 108 var. (A65/P- [unlisted rev. die])
Reference3:     ESM 301
Reference4:     Babelon, Rois -; SNG Spaer -; Houghton -
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Grade:     Good VF, toned, struck from worn dies.
Notes:     Sale: Triton XI, Lot: 288 The Seleukid Empire was one of the main successor states to the Macedonian empire forged by Alexander III 'the Great'. Following Alexander's death, his greatest generals, the Diadochs, divided the empire among themselves, but the settlement was not enduring and nearly constant warfare resulted from their ambitions to widen their respective areas of control. Seleukos I, despite being passed over in the initial settlement in 323 BC, received the satrapy of Babylon in the second settlement in 320 BC. By the time of his death in 281 BC, Seleukos had expanded his realm to encompass most of Alexander's eastern possessions from Asia Minor to Baktria. As with most of the other diadochs, Seleukos continued to strike coins in the name of Alexander, and he opened a number of new mints to serve his various campaigns and his growing empire. Shortly after assuming the royal title in 305 BC, Seleukos began issuing coinage in his own name, and introduced a variety of new types that propagated the mythology of his new dynasty and celebrated his considerable accomplishments. Over the century following Seleukos' death, though, the vast size of the empire proved unmanageable, and a number of local irredentist movements resulted in a growing number of breakaway regions, many of which also struck their own coinage. Internecine struggles, in conjunction with the growing power of Rome, were ultimately responsible for the final dissolution of the Seleukid empire in 64 BC. Over its nearly 250 years of existence, the Seleukid empire issued a vast quantity of coinage that was arguably the most diverse of all the Hellenistic kingdoms. There is much debate concerning the identity of the hero on the obverse of this particular type. The most commonly named subjects are Alexander the Great, Seleukos, or a personification of Dionysos. See O.D. Hoover, "The Identity of the Helmeted Head on the 'Victory' Coinage of Susa," SNR 81 (2002), for the most recent treatment of this debate.