Seleucid coinage

Seleucid coinage

The coinage of the Seleucid Empire is based on the coins of Alexander the Great which in turn was based on Athenian coinage of the Attic weight. Many mints and different issues are defined with mainly base and silver coinage being in abundance. The symbol of Seleucid power was the anchor which was placed on the obverse of coins depicting Alexander posthumous but prior to the issuence of coins portraying Seleucid I around 306BCE.


Bronze coinage were issued in five type denominations, the weight and size varies greatly and most likely no effort was made to conform to a set standard, they may be denominated in chalkoi.:

  • A size = 23+ mm = 10+ gm
  • B size = 18-23 mm = 6.77-8.63 gm
  • C size = 13-17 mm = 3.88 gm
  • D size = 12-13 mm = 1.59 gm
  • E size = 10-12 mm = 1.13 gm

Silver coinage come as follow:


Starting from Seleukos I, these mints were most likely a continuation from before his reign. Antioch: to ? Seleucia on the Tigris: to ?, Susa:, Ecbatana:, Apamaea mint:, Babylon:, Aï Khanoum, Seleucia in Pieria:, Arados:, Baktria:, Marathus:, Cyzicus, Lampsacus, Abydus.

Designs for each denomination

The coins have many images including the King with a Lion head dress or Zeus on a throne with a sceptre and eagle in each hand. Bronze coins usually didn't feature the King's image but mostly a god or goddess and in some cases like a chanrging bull and ancor

Under Seleukos I Nicator (Satrap 311–305 BC, King 305 BC–281 BC), as the first king the coinage varieties are similar to Alexander the Greats coinage with his the kings head wearing a lion skin, except the wording was different with BASILEWS SELEYKWS or BASILEWS SELEUKOU. After 300bce the head of this King is portrayed in a similar style to other Greek coinage. Obverses

  • 1:Alexander, Seleucid or Dionysis] in helmet covered with a panther skin & adorned with bull's ear & horns, panther skin tied around neck.
  • 2:Head of Herakles wearing lion's skin headdress.
  • 3:Head of Apollo facing right
  • 4:Young Heracles.
  • 5:A naked male figure seated facing left on a rock, holding an ankh in his right hand.
  • 6:Dioskouros
  • 7:Athena wearing an Attic helmet.
  • 8:Winged head of Medusa facing right.


  • 1:Zeus enthroned left, holding eagle and sceptre
  • 2:Athena advancing right, brandishing a spear & holding a shield
  • 3:Bull butting right. On bronze coins
  • 4:Athena over elephant.
  • 5:Boeotian shield between Nike & trophy
  • 6:Forepart of a horse facing right with an anchor above.

Antiochus I Soter (co-ruler from 291, ruled 281–261 BC) Coins Designs are much the same as the above ruler, in featuring the many Greek god's and the King's head, the style seems to evolve in the future.


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