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The author analyzes two series of Bosporan coins issued during the rule of Mithradates VI Eupator, the King of Pontus. The fi rst coinage consists of Panticapaeum and Phanagorian bronze coins with Аrtemis r./stag lying l. The other coinage contents Panticapaeum silver drachms with Artemis r., bow and a quiver at shoulder/stag feeding (drinking) r., monogram l. Basing on the dates for the quasi-autonomous copper of Pontus and Paphlagonia suggested by F. Imhoof-Blumer, scholars dated the fi rst series to the end of the 2nd century BC (or to the turn of 1st – 2nd centuries BC). The second series of silver coins was dated to the 90–80 BC (a group of researchers proposed a wider date – circa 100–75 BC). There is a common opinion that the type of lying or feeding stag refl ected the Pontic (i.e. Mithridatic) motives and was even directly connected with the personality of Mithradates VI. But the chronology of copper coins of Pontus was recently précised by F. de Callatay. It allows us to date the fi rst series of Bosporan coins to the late 90s – 80s BC, what is close to the period when the second coin series appeared. Their reverse type is linked with the increased worship of Artemis of Ephesus in the Bosporus and other cities of the Black Sea Region, which took place shortly before and during the fi rst years of the First Mithridatic war. The symbols of Artemis’ cult on coins of Bosporus, Chersonesus Taurica and Amisus appeared not under the direct infl uence of Mithridatic ideology, but as a result of an impact from Ephesus, its coinage and popularity of Artemision, the Panhellenic temple there. The spreading of traditional worship of the Ephesian goddess was due to the polis freedom and privileges given to Greek cities by Mithradates Eupator. This allowed them to be easier in choosing polis cults and coin types. The type of a stag on autonomous coins didn’t contradict to the so-called “Mithridatic propaganda” using the cult of Artemis of Ephesus in late 90s – early 80s BC for uniting the Greeks in Asia Minor and in the Black Sea Region around the king of Pontus who had been proclaimed as the liberator of the Greeks.


Bosporus, Ephesus, Mithradates Eupator, Artemis, stag, Phanagoreia, Panticapaeum, Pontic Kingdom

Sergey Yu. Saprykin

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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