"COIN OF THE MONTH" - ARTABANOS "ARDAVAN" VI AR DRACHM, PARTHIA 78 - 120 C.E.
Sellwood 89.1 (Artabanos IV), Sunrise 461, Near Mint State, 20mm, 2.76 grams, Ekbatana Mint
Obverse: Bust of Artabanus VI left, with forked beard, wearing domed tiara with earflaps, decorated with pearls around crest, double banded diadem with double loop dotted border, two Aramaic letters ’r (for ‘rtbnw = Artabanos) behind head
Reverse: Archer (Arsakes I) seated to right on throne, holding bow, monogram below bow, legend around
Artabanos was the last Parthian King and his coins are not often found. The coin features a deeply struck portrait with stunning original toning. A SUPERIOR example of this rare coin!
Artabanos was said to have a good relationship with the leadubg Judaean leaders of the period both in Israel and the diaspora. He appears to be the same king mentioned in Talmudic sources as "Ardavan" who ruled in the time of Rabbi Judah the Prince (in Israel) and Rav (in Babylonia, i.e. Parthia, Sassania).
The Talmud (Avodah Zarah 10/11) states that upon hearing of his death, Rav exclaimed "the bond has been broken." The Jerusalem Talmud (Yerushalmi) relates a story of how King Ardavan sent Rabbi Yehuda the Prince a most precious jewel, challenging him to send back something of similar value. Rabbi Yehuda sent back a Mezuzah (parchment scroll with Biblical writings to be affixed to a doorpost). Ardavan was annoyed and relayed to Rabbi Yehuda, "I sent you something priceless and you send me something nearly worthless?" To which Rabbi Yehuda replied, "you sent me a gift I have to guard whereas my gift will guard you."
Artabanos was killed by Ardashir I Circa. 224 C.E. marking the end of the Arsacid dynasty. His son (and co-ruler) King Shapur I had a particularly good relationship with Shmuel, the colleague of Rav.
We have also just listed a SUPERIOR example of a Shapur I drachm. Both coins would make a good set relating to the Babylonian - Judaean connection at this juncture in history.