Syria, Seleucus I Nicator, AR Tetradrachm

Product no.: 191311

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AR Tetradrachm
Seleucus I Nicator, 312-280 BC.
Obv: Head of Zeus r.
Rs.: Athena with spear and shield riding in an elephant quadriga r., Basileos Seleykoy, anchor above. 




Seleucus I Nicator (ancient Greek Σέλευκος Νικάτωρ Séleukos Nikátōr, German 'the Victorious') was a Macedonian general under Alexander the Great and one of the so-called Diadochi. He was born in Macedonia between 358 and 354 BC, the son of the Macedonian general Antiochos and Laodike. His birthplace called Oropos cannot be further located. During Alexander's Asian campaign, Seleucus became the commander of the hypaspist bodyguard and part of the Hetairoi. At the mass wedding of Susa in 324 BC, he was married to the Sogdian noblewoman Apame, a daughter of Alexander's one-time adversary Spitamenes. This was the only Macedonian-Indian marriage union that survived Alexander's death.

After Alexander's death in Babylon in 323 BC, Seleucus was appointed chiliarch (court marshal) to the imperial regent Perdiccas in the new "Babylonian Imperial Order." In the years that followed, he fought on his behalf until he failed crossing the Nile in his attempt to subjugate Ptolemy in Egypt in 320 BC. He then killed Perdiccas in his tent with two co-conspirators.

In the years that followed, during the numerous diadochal wars, Seleucus frequently changed allegiance and allies. It was Ptolemy, of all people, his former rival, who enabled him to found the Seleucid Empire. After the victory at Gaza in 312 B.C., Seleucus, with the support of Ptolemy, successively brought the cities of Mesopotamia and finally Babylon under his control. With the year 312/11 B.C., according to the common historical chronology, the Seleucid era began.

In the years that followed, Seleucus had to defend his territories against numerous attacks. Thus, in 301 BC, he fought Antigonos at Ipsos, who was killed in battle. The decisive advantage over his opponent was provided by the elephants he brought with him from India. Later Seleucus extended his empire so far that he ruled the entire Asian part of the former Alexander Empire, the only exception being western Asia Minor. He stabilized his kingship by founding numerous cities. After the battle of Kurupedion in 218 B.C. against Lysimachus, Seleucus was also able to integrate the latter's possessions into his empire and now ruled over all of Asia Minor.

Shortly before his death, Seleucus decided to return to his Macedonian homeland. He left his Asiatic empire to his eldest son, Antiochos I. However, he was never to reach Macedonia. Shortly after crossing the Hellespont to Europe, he fell victim to an assassination attempt by the ambitious Ptolemaios Keraunos at Lysimacheia in 281 BC. With him died the last Diadoche.

Zeus is the father of the gods in Greek mythology, as well as the god of heaven, lightning and thunder. He embodies the head of the twelve Olympic gods. His parents are the Titans Kronos and Rhea. His siblings include Hades, Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia and Hera. According to legend, since Kronos devoured all of his children immediately after birth, his mother gave birth to him in secret. When Zeus grew up, he fought against the Titans and defeated them. Subsequently, he divided the world into three dominions, he himself occupied the sky and thus became the father of the gods and head of the twelve Olympian gods. Zeus is married to Hera, with whom he has four children Ares, Hebe, Eileithya and Hephaistos. Nevertheless, he entered into numerous other affairs, many of which resulted in children. Among these illegitimate children is Heracles.

Athena as the goddess of wisdom, battle strategy, craftsmanship and art, is one of the main gods of Greek mythology. Unlike Ares, the god of war, she does not want war at any cost, but chooses her battles wisely. Because of her intelligence, she is often symbolized by an owl. In addition, Athena is the patron goddess of Athens. The famous statue Athena Parthenon, which stood in the temple built in her honor on the Acropolis, translates as "Virgin Athena". In fact, unlike most of the other Olympian gods, she never had a love affair.

Athena is the daughter of Zeus, the supreme Greek god, and Metis, his first lover. But since, according to a prophecy, Zeus would be overthrown by his own son and Zeus' daughter would be the god's equal, Zeus devoured his pregnant lover. When he suffered from a severe headache with connection, he ordered the smith god Hephaistos to split his head. When he opened Zeus' skull, Athena emerged in full armor. Since she came directly from Zeus' head, she became the symbol and goddess of wisdom.

Additional product information

Origin Ancient Greece
Denomination AR tetradrachm
Grading VF
Material AG
Material Silver
Full weight

ca. 17,17g

Literature Sear 6831; BMC 4.3,25

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