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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Anatolia| ▸ |Pontos||View Options:  |  |  |   

Pontos

Pontus is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day eastern Black Sea Region of Turkey. The name was derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea, Pontos Euxeinos ("Hospitable Sea"), or simply Pontos. The extent of the region varied through the ages but generally extended from the borders of Colchis (modern Georgia) until well into Paphlagonia in the west, with varying amounts of hinterland. Several states and provinces bearing the name of Pontus or variants thereof were established in the region in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods, culminating in the late Byzantine Empire of Trebizond. Pontus is sometimes considered as the home of the Amazons, with the name Amazon used not only for a city (Amasya) but for all of Pontus in Greek mythology.


Pontos (Uncertain City), c. 119 - 100 B.C.

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The comets depicted are almost certainly the comets described in Justin's epitome of the Historiae Philippicae of the Augustan historian Pompeius Trogus (Justin 37.2.1-2): "The future greatness of this man [Mithridates Eupator] had been foretold by heavenly portents. For both in the year in which he was born [134/133 B.C.] and in the year in which he first began to rule [120/119 B.C.], a comet gleamed so brightly for 70 days throughout each period that the whole sky seemed to be on fire. In its extent, each of these comets filled one quarter of the sky and surpassed the sun in brilliance. They took four hours to rise and four hours to set."
GB92131. Bronze AE 11, SNG BM 984; SNG Stancomb 653; Lindgren III 154; HGC 7 317, VF, dark green patina, tight flan, weight 2.204 g, maximum diameter 10.8 mm, Pontos, uncertain mint, c. 119 - 100 B.C.; obverse horse-head right, with star of eight points and central pellet on and below neck; reverse comet star of seven points, central pellet, and tail to right; ex Ancient Imports; rare; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Amasia, Pontos

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According to Strabo the Greek name Amaseia comes from Amasis, the queen of the Amazons, who were said to have lived here. The name has changed little throughout history: Amaseia, Amassia, and Amasia are all found on ancient Greek and Roman coinage and continue to be used in modern Greek. Modern Turkish Amasya represents the same pronunciation. Amaseia was captured by the Roman Lucullus in 70 B.C. from Armenia. Pompey designated it a free city and the administrative center of the new province of Bithynia and Pontus. Amaseia was a thriving city, the home of thinkers, writers, and poets. Strabo left a full description of Amaseia as it was between 60 B.C. and 19 A.D.
RP88308. Bronze AE 29, Dalaison, type 25, 471; SNGvA 36; Waddington 18; Rec Gén I p. 38, 75; BMC Pontus -; SNG Cop -; SNG Tübingen -; SNG Leypold -, aF, dark patina, highlighting earthen deposits, porosity, a few light scratches, legends weak, weight 14.100 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 180o, Amaseia (Amasya, Turkey) mint, 206 - 207 A.D.; obverse AY KAI M AYP ANTΩNINOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse A∆P CEY ANT AMACIAC MHT NE ΠP Π (NT, MHT, NE, and ΠP ligate), Caracalla standing slightly left, wearing military garb, head bare, spear vertical in left hand, sacrificing from a patera in his right hand above a flaming altar on the left, star above left, ET / CΘ (year 209) in two lines in right field; ex Gerhard Rohde Ancient Coins; very rare; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Pontic Kingdom, Mithradates VI Eupator the Great, c. 120 - 63 B.C., Anonymous Coinage

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Mithradates VI Megas (the Great) was king of Pontus in northern Anatolia from about 119 to 63 B.C. He was of both Greek and Persian origin, claiming descent from both Alexander the Great and King Darius I of Persia. Mithradates is remembered as one of Rome's most formidable and successful enemies, who engaged three of the most prominent generals of the late Roman Republic in the so-called Mithridatic Wars: Sulla, Lucullus, and Pompey the Great. After Mithradates VI was at last defeated by Pompey and in danger of capture by Rome, he attempted suicide. The poison failed because he had taken daily doses to build immunity. He then made his bodyguard and friend, Bituitus, kill him by the sword.
GB89057. Bronze AE 26, SNG Stancomb 649, SNG BM 973, SNG Cop 232, HGC 7 310 (S), VF, thick, heavy coin, marks, light earthen deposits, porosity, weight 19.569 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, uncertain (Amisos?) mint, c. 119 - 100 B.C.; obverse male head left in a satrapal leather bashlik cap; reverse comet star of eight rays, bow right facing inward, possibly a monogram between the rays; ex Forum (2010).; scarce; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Kingdom of Pontus, Mithradates VI, c. 120 - 63 B.C.

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The star almost certainly depicts one of Mithridates comets. According to Justin's epitome of the Historiae Philippicae of the Augustan historian Pompeius Trogus (Justin 37.2.1-2): "The future greatness of this man [Mithridates Eupator] had been foretold by heavenly portents. For both in the year in which he was born [134/133 B.C.] and in the year in which he first began to rule [120/119 B.C.], a comet gleamed so brightly for 70 days throughout each period that the whole sky seemed to be on fire. In its extent, each of these comets filled one quarter of the sky and surpassed the sun in brilliance. They took four hours to rise and four hours to set."
GB89059. Bronze AE 22, SNG Stancomb 651, SNG BM Black Sea 976, SNG Cop 230, HGC 7 311 (S), F, dark patina, weight 10.131 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, Amisos(?) mint, c. 120 - 100 B.C.; obverse bow case with strap; countermark: helmet right(?) in a c. 5.5mm diameter round punch; reverse comet or star of eight rays, bow right facing inward; ex Ancient Imports (Marc Breitsprecher); scarce; $130.00 (€114.40)
 


Amisos, Pontos, c. 120 - 100 B.C.

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Amisos was settled c. 760 - 750 B.C. by people from Miletus, who established a flourishing trade relationship with the ancient peoples of Anatolia. Amisos came under the rule of the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great's Macedonian Empire, and then the Kingdom of Pontus. The Romans took control in 47 B.C. and Amisos remained within the Byzantine Empire after the fall of Rome. In 1200, the city was captured by the Seljuks, to be later taken over by the Ilhanlilar. Amisos today is Samsun, a city of about half a million people on the north coast of Turkey.
GB89146. Bronze AE 18, SNG BM 1129; SNG Stancomb 655; Lindgren-Kovacs 32; BMC Pontus p, 19, 65; Rec Gen p. 70, 36; HGC 7 249, VF, near black patina, earthen deposits, scattered porosity, weight 3.762 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Amisos (Samsun, Turkey) mint, struck under Mithradates VI, c. 120 - 100 B.C.; obverse draped bust of Perseus right, wing in hair; reverse cornucopia, flanked on each side by a pileus surmounted by a star, AMI−ΣOY divided across field below pilei; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Amisos, Pontos, c. 120 - 100 B.C.

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Amisos was settled c. 760 - 750 B.C. by people from Miletus, who established a flourishing trade relationship with the ancient peoples of Anatolia. Amisos came under the rule of the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great's Macedonian Empire, and then the Kingdom of Pontus. The Romans took control in 47 B.C. and Amisos remained within the Byzantine Empire after the fall of Rome. In 1200, the city was captured by the Seljuks, to be later taken over by the Ilhanlilar. Amisos today is Samsun, a city of about half a million people on the north coast of Turkey.
GB89153. Bronze AE 20, SNG BM 1138; SNG Stancomb 671; BMC Pontos p. 37; HGC 7 226 (R1), VF, dark patina, light marks, slightly porous, weight 8.195 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Amisos (Samsun, Turkey) mint, c. 120 - 100 B.C.; obverse head of Artemis right, wearing stephane, hair rolled, bow and quiver at shoulder behind; reverse tripod lebes, AMI-ΣOY divided across field; rare; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Pontic Kingdom, Mithradates VI, c. 120 - 63 B.C., Chabakta, Pontos

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Chabakta was an important town within the territory of Amisos. Quite a few towns first struck coins under Mithradates VI, including Amaseia, Abonutheichos, Chabakta, Comana, Laodiceia, and Taulara. The cities issued the same types indicating central control over the mints.
GB76955. Bronze AE 24, SNG Stancomb 714; SNG BM 1258; SNG Cop IV 204; Rec Gen p. 77, 1; BMC Pontus -; SNGvA -; Laffaille -, aVF, well centered, uneven green patina, weight 10.718 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, Chabakta mint, c. 100 - 70 B.C.; obverse head of Perseus right, wearing Phrygian helmet with griffin's head crest and diadem; reverse Pegasos grazing left, monogram left, XABAKTΩN in exergue; very rare; $90.00 (€79.20)
 


Amisos, Pontos, c. 105 - 85 B.C.

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Amisos was settled c. 760 - 750 B.C. by people from Miletus, who established a flourishing trade relationship with the ancient peoples of Anatolia. Amisos came under the rule of the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great's Macedonian Empire, and then the Kingdom of Pontus. The Romans took control in 47 B.C. and Amisos remained within the Byzantine Empire after the fall of Rome. In 1200, the city was captured by the Seljuks, to be later taken over by the Ilhanlilar. Amisos today is Samsun, a city of about half a million people on the north coast of Turkey.
GB91473. Bronze AE 21, cf. SNG BM 1177 ff.; BMC Pontus p. 19, 69 ff.; HGC 7 242 (various controls), VF, nice patina, tight flan, earthen deposits, weight 7.498 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Amisos (Samsun, Turkey) mint, c. 105 - 85 B.C.; obverse aegis with facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) in center; reverse Nike advancing right, holding palm frond across shoulders behind, AMI−ΣOY divided across field, monogram (control) lower right; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


Amaseia, Pontos, c. 120 - 100 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
According to Strabo the Greek name Amaseia comes from Amasis, the queen of the Amazons, who were said to have lived here. The name has changed little throughout history: Amaseia, Amassia, and Amasia are all found on ancient Greek and Roman coinage and continue to be used in modern Greek. Modern Turkish Amasya represents the same pronunciation. Amaseia was captured by the Roman Lucullus in 70 B.C. from Armenia. Pompey designated it a free city and the administrative center of the new province of Bithynia and Pontus. Amaseia was a thriving city, the home of thinkers, writers, and poets. Strabo left a full description of Amaseia as it was between 60 B.C. and 19 A.D.
GB92903. Bronze AE 16, SNG BM 1046; SNG Stancomb 655; BMC Pontus p. 6, 2; Rec Gén p. 28, 4; HGC 7 225, VF, green patina, porous, reverse a little off center, weight 3.967 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 0o, Amaseia (Amasya, Turkey) mint, c. 120 - 100 B.C.; obverse draped bust of youthful Perseus right, head bare and wing in hair; reverse cornucopia between two pilei (caps of the Dioskouroi), eight-rayed star above each cap, AMAΣ−ΣEIAΣ divided across field below caps; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


Pontos (Uncertain City), c. 119 - 100 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
The comets depicted are almost certainly the comets described in Justin's epitome of the Historiae Philippicae of the Augustan historian Pompeius Trogus (Justin 37.2.1-2): "The future greatness of this man [Mithridates Eupator] had been foretold by heavenly portents. For both in the year in which he was born [134/133 B.C.] and in the year in which he first began to rule [120/119 B.C.], a comet gleamed so brightly for 70 days throughout each period that the whole sky seemed to be on fire. In its extent, each of these comets filled one quarter of the sky and surpassed the sun in brilliance. They took four hours to rise and four hours to set."
GB84563. Bronze AE 12, SNG BM 984; SNG Stancomb 653; Lindgren III 154; HGC 7 317, VF, small flan, slightly off center, green patina with buff earthen highlighting, weight 1.623 g, maximum diameter 12.2 mm, Pontos, uncertain mint, c. 119 - 100 B.C.; obverse horse-head right, with comet star of eight points and central pellet on and below neck; reverse comet star of seven points, central pellet, and tail to right; ex Agora Auctions; rare; $75.00 (€66.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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Catalog current as of Sunday, December 15, 2019.
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Pontos Coins