The Coinage of the Parthians

Fabrizio Sinisi

in The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Coinage

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195305746
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Coinage of the Parthians

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • Historical Archaeology


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The Arsacids were the ruling dynasty of Parthia between the middle of the third century BC and AD 224. There is no Parthian coinage in gold, since Vonones's alleged gold coins have been shown to be modern forgeries. The silver drachm was the main denomination, on a modified Attic standard of around 4 g. Silver denominations also include tetradrachms, struck from the conquest of Mesopotamia around 140 BC down to the end of the dynasty, and smaller fractions, such as obols, diobols, and triobols, appearing on a rather irregular basis during the first half of the dynasty down to the time of Orodes II. Bronze provided the medium for small change in everyday local circulation. At various intervals throughout the Parthian period, autonomous city coinages were also struck in bronze, as mainly attested for Seleucia, and to a lesser extent for Susa and Ecbatana.

Keywords: Parthia; Arsacids; coinage; silver drachm; bronze

Article.  7883 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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