Agesilaos Antik Sikkeler Nümzimatik

Kingdom Of Pontos Mithradates IV Philopator

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Mithradates IV Philopator - BAΣIΛEΩΣ MIΘPAΔATOY

ANTİK SİKKELER NÜMİZMATİK_Mithradates IV Philopator.jpg


Mithradates IV was an unlikely successor to the throne, for he was King Pharnakes' [circa 196-155 BC] brother, not his son. He apparently assumed the diadem as his nephew, Mithradates, later King Mithradates V, was still a minor when his father passed away. We know little of the reign of the fourth Mithradates other than that he supported Attalos II in his war against the Bithynian King Prusias II, that he aligned himself with Rome, as can be deduced from his dedication on the Capitoline Hill , and that he married his sister, Laodike.

The king's coins, on the other hand, is of great interest, as it employs some highly unusual iconography. In total, de Callatay recorded one stater and fourteen tetradrachms in the name of Mithradates, five tetradrachms for the royal couple combined, and a doubtful stater and a unique tetradrachm in Laodike's name alone. The striking prominence of the Pontic queen in the royal self-representation is undoubtedly modelled on Ptolemaic and Seleukid prototypes, but it also emphasized the dynastic legitimacy of a king who perhaps feared not being accepted as the rightful heir to the throne. Another interesting aspect of Mithradates' coins are the reverse types, which show Hera on his staters, Perseus on his tetradrachms, Zeus and Hera on the joint tetradrachms with his sister-wife, and Hera again on Laodike's unique tetradrachm.

Clearly Zeus and his wife Hera aligned the royal couple with the world of the divine, whereas Perseus referred to the Persian ancestors of the dynasty. Laodike's prominence is further enhanced by the fact that it is Hera who appears on the reverse of Mithradates' staters, not Zeus. Last but not least, Mithradates was also the first Pontic king to use epitheta on his coins, namely ΦΙΛΟΠΑΤΟΡΟΣ and ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦΟΥ [father-loving and sibling-loving], following, once more, Ptolemaic and Seleukid role models and propagating the legitimacy of his rule.

However, there is another aspect regarding the royal couple's coinage worth considering, and that is whether Mithradates' two gold staters and Laodike's unique tetradrachm were actually struck posthumously. This theory was first proposed by Kleiner, who argued that the king wearing a laurel wreath instead of a diadem, the universal Hellenistic royal headgear, on his then unique gold stater indicates that the coin was struck by his successor, Mithradates V, and that the same was true for Laodike's unique tetradrachm, which shows her veiled rather than diademed. Tempting as this proposition is, it is ultimately unprovable, and it begs the question why Mithradates V would honor his uncle, Mithradates IV, and his aunt, Laodike, but not his own father, Pharnakes I.