Roma Numismatics Ltd > E-Live Auction 5Auction date: 27 September 2022
Lot number: 450

Price realized: 3,000 GBP   (Approx. 3,236 USD / 3,355 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:


Sasanian Kingdom, Shapur I AV Dinar. Mint I ("Ctesiphon"), Phase 2, circa AD 260-272. Draped bust to right, wearing diadem and mural crown surmounted by a korymbos / Fire-altar flanked by two regal attendants each wearing mural crown with ribbons and korymbos and holding staff surmounted by pellet-in-crescent; two pellets above. SNS type IIc/1b, style P; Göbl type I/1; Saeedi AV4 var. (no pellets on rev.); Sunrise 739 var. (same). 7.40g, 23mm, 3h.

Extremely Fine.

From the Italo Vecchi Collection;
Ex private European collection, Roma Numismatics Ltd., E-Sale 92, 16 December 2021, lot 706.

Shapur was the second shahanshah (king of kings) of the Sasanian empire, apparently joining his father Ardashir I as king in joint rule in AD 240, and then succeeding in around 242 as sole ruler. Shapur had accompanied his father on campaign against the Parthians who then still controlled much of the Iranian plateau, and already before his accession was praised for his intelligence and learning, as well as for boldness and kind-heartedness.

Continuing his father's war with the Roman empire, Shapur conquered the Mesopotamian fortresses of Nisibis and Carrhae, advancing into Syria, which required the young emperor Gordian III to set out with a vast army to counter the Sasanian threat. Gordian's army won battle after battle, at last routing the Sasanian army at Rhesaena, forcing Shapur to hand back all of his gains. Gordian's death and the succession of Philip 'the Arab' ended the Roman campaign against Shapur, who was able to extract considerable advantages from Philip including an enormous indemnity in gold.

Shapur soon resumed his attacks on Rome, and in 253 met and annihilated a Roman army of 60,000 at the Battle of Barbalissos, and proceeded then to burn and ravage the Roman province of Syria. Armenia was conquered, and Georgia submitted to Sasanian control. With his northern borders secure, Shapur then led an army which penetrated deep into Syria, plundering all the way to Antioch which quickly fell to his forces. The Roman counter-offensive under emperor Valerian was slow, but by 257 Antioch had been recovered and the province of Syria returned to Roman control. Shapur's speedy retreat caused the Romans to launch a hasty pursuit of the Sasanians all the way to Edessa, where they were severely defeated by the Persians, and Valerian along with the survivors of his army were led away into captivity.

The defeat and capture of Valerian surely marks the greatest achievement in the reign of Shapur, who is also called 'the Great', and the submission of Valerian is commemorated in a mural at Naqsh-e Rustam, which shows the Emperor bending the knee before Shapur on horseback. Valerian's army was sent to Bishapur, and the soldiers were used in engineering and development works, such as the Band-e Kaisar (Caesar's dam) near the ancient city of Susa.

Estimate: 2000 GBP