Parthia, Andragoras. Magistrate: Hekatompylos(?). c. 246/5-239/8 BC

Parthia, Andragoras. Magistrate: Hekatompylos(?). c. 246/5-239/8 BC


AR Tetradrachm, 16.79g (24mm, 6h). Turreted head of Tyche r., wearing pendant earring and necklace; monogram of Andragoras behind / Athena standing l., wearing helmet, long chiton and himation, holding owl on extended r. hand and resting l. hand on grounded shield, transverse spear in background; ANΔPAΓOPOY to r.

Pedigree: From the 1960s Andragoras-Sophytes Group, present in Germany in 1975, subsequently exported to the USA.

References:  Mitchiner 20; BMC 3-4, pl. xxviii, 2-3

Grade:  Pleasantly struck with good details. Some minor surface roughness, otherwise VF+  (gk1177)

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When Alexander the Great died in 323 BC his vast territory was divided up amongst his generals and confidants. The area of modern day Iran was controlled by the Seleucus I, one of the diadochi of Alexander. He was also the founder of the Seleucid dynasty. While Alexander was known for letting his subjugates live in relative peace, the same was not so of the Seleucids. The Seleucid government placed Andragoras as a satrap to oversee the domain. Sometime around 246 BC he defied the Seleucids and decided to attempt to pull away from the their authority and rule independently. 

At the same time, the Parni, a nomadic tribe just east of the Caspian Sea in the Steppes, led by Arsaces crossed into the area of Parthia, murdered Andragoras and set up their own independent kingdom of Parthia. Thus began the Arsacid Dynasty.

Andragoras never proclaimed himself king, as evidenced as well by this coin, however, he did strike his own coinage in a considerably short reign. Along with these silver coins, Andragoras also struck a gold issue.