Obverse: Portrait of the King Wearing a Diadem Facing Right
Reverse: Apollo Nude Seated on Omphalos, Holding Arrow and Bow, Horse Beneath
The Seleukid Kingdom was established by Seleukos I, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, following the death of Alexander and the division of his empire. At its peak under Seleukos I and Antiochus I, the Seleucid Kingdom comprised almost the whole of the conquests of Alexander with the exception of Egypt. Antiochus III, known as “the Great,” was the younger son of Seleukos II and brother of Seleukos III. A soldier of great ability, he successfully campaigned between 212 and 205 B.C. to restore Alexander’s empire in Judea from the clutches of Ptolemy V as well as the kingdoms of Parthia and Bactria. Later he was defeated by the Romans following their victory over Phillip V of Macedon in 197.
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 currency in the age we live or an artifact of a long forgotten empire. This ancient coin is more than an artifact; it is a memorial to a lost kingdom passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation.