Home Contents Search


Parthian Coins - Elymais Kingdom (aka Susiana, Elam or Khuzistan)

Elymais Kingdom, Kamnaskires VI (?) (c.Late 1st Century AD), AE Tetradrachm, Unknown Mint
(No legend)
Bust left with long beard, wearing earring, torque (?) and diademed tiara, cross within crescent above, anchor with two bars to right, pellet to far right
Corrupted Greek legend
Figure seated left (?), cross in left field
28mm x 30mm, 14.90g
Sear GIC 5889; Mitchiner ACW 706
Ex Midwest "Coins of Christianity" Collection

Consignor notes: The kingdom of Elam was located roughly in modern day Kuwait and southern Iraq. The kingdom closely aligned with Parthia, but remained semi-autonomous for nearly 500 years - from 247 BC-221 AD. Prior to this, the area was under control of the Babylonians and would have been home to Jewish exiles. This specimen is unusual in that it portrays what may be a Star of Bethlehem on the obverse and a cross on the reverse. The obverse design was used continuously throughout the life of the kingdom, but the star was always engraved as a dot or a 5- or 6-point star, not as a cross. Since this coin is estimated to date in the 1st century AD, it may have been influenced by Jewish Christians.

Elymais Kamnaskires-Orodes (III) Late 2nd Century AD, Drachm, 14mm. Susa mint? Ob.: Facing bust, hair in two large bunches at sides; anchor symbol and crescent at right. Rv.: Random dashes. BMC Arabia, etc. pg. 269, 90 (pl. XLI, 8); Alram 486 var.; Sear Greek Imperial pp582-5, nos 5884-5921.

The Kingdom of Elymais - a satrapy of the Parthians with its capital at Susa - near the outlet of the rivers Tigris & Euphrates into the Persian Gulf.  Elymias is sometimes also referred to as the "Kingdom of Susiana".

This coin appears to be what was once a silver-washed AE drachm of Kamnaskir-Orodes III c. 192 A.D., deMorgan 50. There are a few others who issued facing-bust, moon & star, and anchor obverses with the "gibberish inscription" of meaningless dashes on the Rx., but yours seems to resemble  Orodes-Kamnaskir's style the closest with the upswept hair on the bust.

Attribution and notes provided by Mark Lehman, Robin Baker and Josh Moran.