Kings of Parthia, Mithradates II. 121-91 BC

Kings of Parthia, Mithradates II. 121-91 BC


AR Tetradrachm, 15.83g (12h, 32mm). Diademed bust of Mithradates to left, wearing torc and elaborate robes. Rev. BAΣIΛEΩΣ MEΓAΛOΥ AΡΣAKOΥ EΠIΦANOΥΣ Archer seated to right, holding bow; to right, palm branch.

References: Sellwood 24.3. Shore 66

Grade: Flan crack and minor cleaning marks, otherwise, EF  (gk1038)

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Mithradates II was likely the superstar of the Parthian Kings. His 30 year reign was filled with successes, most notably the cooperation and partnership, versus subservience to the burgeoning and powerful Roman Republic.  At a time when Rome was successfully conquering lands and people under their domination, Mithradates II continued to act independently and refused to compromise his own authority to the Romans. He made this very clear when his Parthian ambassador, Orobaze, met with the general Lucius Cornelius Sulla, to discuss the Rome/Parthian relationship.  While the meeting was successful, Mithradates was angered that Orobaze sat lower than Sulla when meeting and promptly beheaded the ambassador on his return.

Mithradates also was among the first western rulers to meet with the Chinese. The Chinese were extremely interested in the Parthians knowledge of horses and wanted to learn more from their western neighbors. During his reign Mithradates was able to maintain diplomatic relations with both Rome and China, a feat that was near impossible in those times.