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HOME : Greek Coins : Archive : Ptolemaic Gold Oktadrachm Depicting Arsinoe II
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Ptolemaic Gold Oktadrachm Depicting Arsinoe II - C.2273
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 180 BC to 116 BC

Collection: Numismatics
Medium: Gold

Additional Information: SOLD

Location: United States
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Obverse: Veiled Bust of the Arsinoe II Crowned with a Diadem

Reverse: Double Cornucopia Bound with a Fillet

Following the death of Alexander the Great, the great empire he had conquered was divided among his generals. Egypt became the domain of Ptolemy, a Macedonian with enough sense to occupy this choice property and stay out of most of the struggles that took place over the lands to the north. Perhaps this good sense explains why Ptolemy was able to die of old age and establish a dynasty that ruled Egypt until the last ruler of his line (Cleopatra VII) lost it to Rome in 33 BC. Male heirs in this family were all named Ptolemy so separating the coins of one from another can present problems. This coin was either minted under the rule of Ptolemy VI (also called Ptolemy Philometor) or his brother, Ptolemy VIII (also known as Ptolemy Physcon). Ptolemy Physcon ruled over Cyrene while Ptolemy Philometor controlled Egypt; trouble between the brothers ultimately caused the intervention of Rome. Ptolemy VI aided Demetrius II to gain the throne of Syria and was killed in battle with the rival claimant, Alexander Balas. Upon news of his death, Ptolemy Physcon returned to Egypt and seized the throne from Philometor’s son, Ptolemy VII.

How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or your purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after us. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and place, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of long forgotten empires. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. This coin is a shining vestige of the ancient glory of Egypt under Greek rule passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation.
- (C.2273)


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