Seleucid Kingdom, Seleukid Kings of Syria, Antiochos VIII Epiphanes Grypos. Sole reign, 121/0-97/6 BC. Ake-Ptolemaïs, c. 121-113 BC

Seleucid Kingdom, Seleukid Kings of Syria, Antiochos VIII Epiphanes Grypos. Sole reign, 121/0-97/6 BC. Ake-Ptolemaïs, c. 121-113 BC

1,200.00

AR Tetradrachm, 16.56g (31mm, 12h). Diademed head of Antiochus VIII / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two lines on r., EΠIΦANOYΣ on l., Zeus, crescent above head l., holding star and resting on scepter; M monogram on outer left.

Pedigree: Ex Roma 8, 28 September 2014, lot 737

References: SC-2336

Grade: EF with lovely iridescence  (gk1009)

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Antiochos VIII was known as “Grypos” or “the hook-nose” from the obvious elongated nose he possessed. He ruled with his mother, named Cleopatra, until 123 BC when she attempted to poison him. It is said that he forced his mother instead to drink the poison herself. Grypos was interested in the field of toxicology so this was perhaps an interesting side hobby of his. Sources suggest that Antiochos VIII was known to host lavish parties and sent his guests home with food and drink, even gifting each a camel to enable their gifts to be brought home. This “historical” information may not be entirely true however as the Seleucids were fraught with wars and unsettled rulers. The reverse of his coinage suggests his god-like association to Zeus.

Marriage for political gains were common among the ancients. The first wife of Antiochus VIII was the Ptolemaic princess Tyrphaena, her father was Ptolemy VIII. History does not remember Tyrphaena as a mild-mannered queen. She loathed her sister, Cleopatra IV, who was married to Antiochus IX, the brother of Antiochus VIII. In 112 BC she had her sister brutally murdered despite the pleas of her husband not to do so. To avenge this deadly attack, Antiochus IX had Tryphaena murdered.

After Tryphaena’s murder, Antiochus VIII married another Egyptian princess, Cleopatra II Selene. She was married to him until his death in c. 96 BC and took several other members of the Seleucid royal family as husbands during her lifetime.