The Ancient World Collection
Kingdom of Persis 1st Cent. BC-1st Cent. AD





Coin Details

Origin/Country: ANCIENT - GREEK EMPIRES (6th CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) KINGDOM OF PERSIS Vahsir (Oxathres)
Design Description: Vahsir (Oxathres) Drachm
Item Description: AR Drachm Kingdom Of Persis rv king before altar 1st Cent. BC-1st Cent. AD
Full Grade: NGC Ch AU Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5
Owner: Kohaku

Set Details

Custom Sets: The Ancient World Collection
Competitive Sets: This coin is not competing in any sets.
Research: NGC Coin Price Guide

Owner Comments:

Persis was an ancient land comprising south central modern day Iran. Persian tribes lived in and around this region for thousands of years. Achaemenes, the eponymous ancestor of the Achaemenid Dynasty, founded the first Persian Empire in early 7th century BC. In late 4th century BC, these lands were (one of many) conquered by Alexander the Great, and after his death become part of the Seleucid Kingdom. Around the turn of the 1st century BC, Persis would fall under the domain of Mithradates II and his Parthian Kingdom. The Kingdom of Persis at that time was ruled as a sub-kingdom, with its own rulers and coinage.

This particular coin was minted while the Kingdom of Persis was ruled by Vahsir, also referred to as Oxathres, sometime in late 1st century BC to early 1st century AD. On the obverse is the diademed bust of bearded king looking left, and on the verso the king holds a scepter before a lighted altar. The fire altar is a symbol of the Persian religious philosophy founded by and named after Zoroaster (Zarathustra), who lived about a century after Achaemenes and the founding of the first Persian Empire. Zarathustra taught that there was one supreme god, the Ahuramazda, whose energy embodies the fire altar.

Zarathusthra described how events were based on cause and effect, and his teachings were strongly dualistic. His philosophy was based on “good reflection, good word, and good deed,” urging ethical demands on his fellow Persians. Zarathustra also taught that human wisdom was the fruit of good reflection, promoting science and education (image the discussions if Zarathustra had ever met his contemporary Thales of Miletus!)

Zoroastrianism remained the state religion when King Ardeshir of Persis overthrew the Parthians in late 2nd to early 3rd century AD, establishing a new Sassanid Empire. The Sassanids and their state religion flourished for several centuries until the Muslim conquests. The latter resulted in widespread desecration of Zoroastrian shrines, with many artifacts and documents destroyed. Thus, the region faded dramatically. Today, Zarathustra’s name is more likely to invoke aspects of popular culture, rather than the path to knowledge and enlightenment.

Coin Details: KINGDOM OF PERSIS, Vahsir (Oxathres), 1st Cent. BC – 1st Cent. AD, AR Drachm (3.80 g), NGC Grade: Ch AU, Strike: 5/5, Surface: 4/5, Obverse: Diademed robed bust, facing left, Reverse: King with scepter left of fire altar, Reference: Alram 582 (?).

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