Kingdom of Characene, Hyspaosines


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Charax- Spasinou, 123/2 BC. AR tetradrachm, 16.30 gr.

Obv: [ΒΑ]ΣΙΛΕΩΣ YΣΠAOΣINOY; diademed head of Hyspaosines to the right.

Rev: Heracles seated left on rock, holding club on knee; monogram to outer left, in exergue: φP (= date = SE 190 = 123/2 BC).

Ref: P. Assar fig. 16. Alram 491.2.

Exceedingly rare! A bold portrait in the best Hellenistic style. Good very fine.

The Kingdom of Characene was centered in present-day Kuwait, and was initially a part of the Seleucid Kingdom. The governor Hyspaosines was instructed to build a city on the Persian Gulf to facilitate the trade with India. In 127 BC he declared the region’s independence and named himself as king. He is named on a Babylonian tablet naming him as king in the capital city of Charax-Spasinu (meaning “walls of Hyspaosines”, referring to the quaywalls); the inscription also names his wife as Thalassia. Hyspaosines’ kingdom extended all the way to Bahrain.