Rivalling Rome: Parthian coins and culture

by Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis

Rivalling Rome: Parthian coins and culture

by Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis | on 28 November, 2022

The first official encounter between Parthia and Rome happened in 96 BC when envoys from these two empires met along the river Euphrates. This was the beginning of a series of endless encounters, clashes as well as periods of peace between two political powers who fought over political and economic supremacy in the ancient world. Under Mithradates II (122/1 -91 BC) the consolidation and expansion of the Parthian empire and its influence in neighbouring kingdoms caused a potential threat to Rome and its client kingdoms in Asia Minor, resulting in military campaigns to Parthian territories and political interference in Parthian affairs. While numerous secondary Roman sources describe Rome’s continuous clashes with its mighty eastern opponent, Parthian sources are few and far between, but the coins of this period are an important primary source for Parthian history and culture.

About the speaker:

Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis is Curator of Middle Eastern Coins in the British Museum and Vice-President of BIPS. She is Co-Editor of the International Parthian Coin Project, The Sylloge Nummorum Parthicorum (SNP) series and co-author of SNP 2: Mithradates II  published by the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.  She is currently preparing with her team the next SNP volume, Mithradates III – Pacorus I (57-2 BC). She is particularly interested in the royal and religious iconography of the pre-Islamic period of Iran and Mesopotamia from 6th century BC- 7th century AD. She has published extensively on ancient Persian coins, art, culture and mythology. Together with Sarah Stewart they started the successful Idea of Iran series with lectures and publications.

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