Stater: coin of Bosporan Kingdom (Panticapaeum)


Stater, 322: Bosporan Kingdom

Stater, 322: Bosporan Kingdom

Bosporan Kingdom (Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus) — an ancient Greco-Scythian state located in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula on the shores of the present-day Strait of Kerch. The 1st and 2nd centuries AD saw a period of a golden age of the Bosporan state. It was briefly incorporated as part of the Roman province of Moesia Inferior under Emperor Nero, before being restored as a Roman client kingdom. At the end of the 2nd century AD, King Sauromates II inflicted a critical defeat on the Scythians and included all the territories of the Crimean Peninsula in the structure of his state. The capital of the European part was Panticapaeum (modern city of Kerch in Crimea, Ukraine), and the Asian part was Phanagoria (modern village Sennoy, Russia).

Ruler: Rhescuporis VI (314-341) — probably last king of the Bosporan Kingdom and the last known representative of its ancient Tiberian-Julian ruling dynasty. His reign came to an end around 341, when he have been overthrown by the Sarmatians or Alans, tribes which at the time were becoming increasingly influential and powerful in Crimea.

ΘΙΧ: year 619 according to the Bithynian /Bosporan/ calendar or 322 AD.

Bosporan era (BE or AB), also called the Bithynian era, Pontic era or Bithyno-Pontic era, was a calendar era (year numbering) used from 149 BC at the latest until at least AD 497 in Asia Minor and the Black Sea region.

Roman emperor (Flavius Julius Crispus ruled during this period) and an eagle on a globe.

According to the assumption of some researchers, in the mentioned period, portraits of both the current ruler of the Roman Empire and the local ruler (governor) were simultaneously placed on the Bosporus coins.

ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΡΗΣΚΟΥΠΟΡΙΔΟΣ (lost inscription): King Rhescuporis.

Portrait of the Bosporus ruler.

Trident (probably Mint mark).

In essence, the coin is a degraded stater (copper is an atypical material for Greek staters, which were mostly made of silver and gold).

  • Copper: 20 mm - 7.31 g
  • Reference price: 14$

COIN STATER — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  1. ANCIENT WORLD (starting from the 6th century BC): a number of different issuers on the territory of ancient Eurasia (in numismatic catalogs mostly staters of state entities in the lands of modern Greece and Turkey are mentioned)

STATER as coin name.
Stater — one of the first coins in human history. It was produced in the lands of ancient Lydia and Greece from the 6th century BC. There is information that two centuries before the appearance of these coins, staters were already used as a means of payment in the form of ingots.
At different times, staters were made of various metals and alloys: electrum (a natural alloy of silver and gold — a mineral in the form of nuggets), gold, silver and even copper (we are talking about the so-called "degraded staters" of the Bosporan Kingdom, 3rd-4th centuries).
Accordingly, the ratio between the stater and other Greek coins was not constant either. Initially the silver stater was equal a tetradrachm (a coin worth 4 drachmas). Later – didrachm (2 drachmas). The gold stater was equated to 20-28 drachmas (also not a constant).
There were also fractional parts of the stater: 1/2 — hemistater, 1/3 — trite, 1/4 — tetarte, 1/6 — hekte...
On the territory of modern Ukraine (my state), a rather common coin is an atypical copper stater of Pantikapaion (the capital of the Bosporan kingdom; the Latin name Panticapaeum is often used) — the so-called degraded stater: spoiled by a constant decrease in the content of silver. These coins of the Bosporan rulers from the Rhescuporis (Rescuporid) dynasty are of extremely dubious quality. We are talking, first of all, about the low qualification of coin masters.
According to one of the versions, the name of the stater coin is translated from ancient Greek and means "rocker of scales". It is not known how accurate this translation is. However, it is undeniable that the ancient Greeks called a stater a unit of weight measurement (originally 50 staters were roughly equivalent to 600 grams).