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Coins of Bagadat, son of Biurat. I type
Type: Coins of Bagadat, son of Biurat. I type

Description, picture:
Silver. Weights – 16,58 gr.

Obverse: Head of Bagadat r., bearded, with moustache, and taenia on forehead; wears satrapal head-dress (kyrbasia) with double tie behind, and flaps fastened over top; earring in ear; border of dots.

Reverse: Bagadat seated l. on throne with back; wears kyrbasia; long overgarment with false sleeves and arm-guards; holds in r. a long sceptre, in l. a flower (?); planted before him, standard with   decoration and hanging tassels – dirēfš-i Kaviān; Aramaic inscr. on r. downwards and on l. upwards, border of dots.



Scholarly commentary:
    “Now this is Hayk who begat Aramaneak, his son in Babylon. And Aramaneak begat many sons and daughters, of whom the eldest was Aramayis. And Aramayis begat many sons and daughters, of whom the eldest was Amasya… Now these are the names of the earliest men who founded the race in Babylon and who went across the northern regions of the land of Ararad. For Hayk set out from Babylon with his wife and sons and all his retinue…
    And there ruled over them Zareh, a son of [one of] Aramaneak’s sons, a powerful man and skilful with the bow; then Armong; then Sarhang; then Shavash; then Parnavas.
    This last begat Bagam and Bagarat, and Bagarat begat Biurat, and Biurat begat Aspat. And the sons of Bagarat succeeded to their inheritance in the regions of the west…
    At that time Arshak (king of the Parthians) made his son, called Arshak the Less, king over the land of Armenia and the city of Mtsurn. And he assigned to him as borders Aruastan by the land of the Tachiks, and the land of Syria and Cappadocia by Cilicia as far as the shore of the great western sea, and on the northern side to the great Caucasus Mountain…
    He sent him from Mtsurn to the west with greatest army… Bagarat Pʿarazean, one of the descendants of Aramaneak and great noble, went out to meet him with a large army. He offered him gifts of gold and silver, adorned him with the tunic and stole, crowned him with the hereditary crown, sat him on the throne of gold inlaid with precious stones, and gave him his daughter in marriage.
    King Arshak made him [Bagarat] aspet of the land of Armenia, that’s, prince and chief commander of the entire kingdom, and father and brother of the king, and to him he gave the authority of that power”.


    This is amalgam from Armenian Primary History. Using other more detailed accounts, it can be formulated like this: in the early years of the 3rd c. B.C. the northern and southern kingdoms of Kartli (Iberia, East and South Georgia) were united under Pharnavaz from the city of Mtskheta (northern kingdom), the first king of the Pharnavazid dynasty. Azo, the southern sovereign, seems to be killed in skirmish. Pharnavaz, now victorious, gratefully adopted his sons and kept them within the native domains as the dukes (residing somewhere in Klarjeti (now in Turkey) and possessing some more appanages in Speri (Ispir district)). Bagrat (Bagadat) Pharnavaziani, Bivrat (Biurat), Sumbat (Smbat) – these are the names of the first men from Bagrationi ruling clan. Sumbat revolted against Mtskheta overlordship, supported by Artaxias, the Armenian king; and thus Vitaxate of Gogarene (southern parts of Georgia) had emerged.
    Some coins provide more arguments for the genealogy. These silver pieces are wrongly attributed as a produce of Persis.
    The currency of Persis (250 B.C. until the rise of the Sassanids) consists of silver. The denominations are the tetradrachm, the drachm and smaller pieces. The inscriptions are in Aramaic, degenerating into Pehlevi. The debased and frequently illegible script, occuring on the coins the art of which is still good, indicates that the coins are the work of the Greeks who did not understand the language.
    This group is thought to be headed by the pieces of certain Bagadat.
    Coins with the same head on obv. have the inscriptions as follows:

№1. BaGaDaT FRaTaRaKA ZI ALaHIA (Coins of Bagadat, son of Biurat, I type, tetradrachm)
№2. BIURaT FRaTaRa ZI ... (Coins of Bagadat, son of Biurat, II type, tetradrachm)
Obv. Head of Bagadat r., bearded, with moustache, and taenia on forehead; wears satrapal head-dress (kyrbasia) with double tie behind, and flaps fastened over top; earring in ear; border of dots.
Rev. Fire-temple, with double panelled doors, podium, pilasters, and architrave; above, three battlements, each with two horns; on l., Bagadat, in satrapal head-dress and long garment, standing right, r. raised in adoration; on r., standard; Aramaic inscription, on r. downwards and in exergue, inscription on l., if any, off the flan; border of dots.
№3. BIURAT BaGaDat... (Coins of Bagadat, son of Biurat, II type, hemidrachm)
Obv. Head of Bagadat r., bearded, with moustache, and taenia on forehead; wears satrapal head-dress (kyrbasia) with double tie behind, and flaps fastened over top; earring in ear; border of dots.
Rev. Fire-temple, with double panelled doors, podium, pilasters, and architrave; above, three battlements, each with two horns; on l., Bagadat, in satrapal head-dress and long garment, standing right, r. raised in adoration; on r., standard; Aramaic inscription, on r. between standard and temple, outside obliterated, in ex., on l.; border of dots.
№4. BaGaDaT FRaTaRaKa BIURat ZI ALaHIA
    (Fratakara – “fire-kindler”(?), Frataraka – “Oberer” (in Germ.); ZI ALaHIA – “of the Gods” or “of divine origin”).
    It is suggested that the coins represent the same man; and if so № 1, on which the inscription is complete, shows that he must have been Bagadat. Then Biurat was his father, and the word Bar, for son, is omitted, as in modern Persian.
    The coins are not much earlier than Antiochus III.
    Bagadat as a satrap of Persis is not mentioned in records; that is why his Persian identity is still slightly suspected. But fire-temple type seems to be very Persian: Polyaenus mentions a satrap of Persis called ’Όβορζος, he is Vahuberz, and he has a temple on his Rev. Many other rulers of Persis followed him. And the intricacy of the relations between the small groups is too great to allow of their being divided up. Yet, none of the Persians is seated on throne, that leaves our №1 beyond the group.
    The coin evidence and narrative clearly demonstrate that throughout the last half of the 3rd c. B.C. Bagrat Pharnavaziani, duke of Klarjeti, issued the coins with proud legend – BaGaDaT FRaTaRaKa BIURat ZI ALaHIA. №1 is designed originally, while fire-temple type was, perhaps, borrowed from the silver pieces of Vahuberz, who ruled in Persis. Neither satrapal garment, nor fire-temple were alien to Iberians, who worshiped Armazi-Ahurō-Mazdāo and used to be dressed in Iranian fashion (Strabo XI. 3. 3).
    What conlusions are we to draw from all this?
    A genealogy of early Bagratids is as follows – Bivrat (Biurat), son of Azo –> Bagrat (Bagadat), son of Bivrat –> Bivrat, son of Bagrat –> Sumbat (Smbat) Bivritiani…
    Saurmag, the next king of Iberia, had to deal with a revolt of the dukes (eristavi). Was ambitious Bagrat among them, did he secure southern principality for himself? Perhaps, we need more records for the full picture. But still, his coins are present, ordered, maybe, to the nearest Greek community. And that could be either Phasis, or Trapezus.

Mint: Unknown (Phasis (?), Trapezus (?)).
Nominal: Tetradrachm.
Date: Second half of the 3rd c. B.C.
Collection: This sample is preserved in the British Museum (№1854,0405.19).
Bibliography:
T. Dundua.
Bagrat, Son of Bivrat. The Bagrationis. Tb. 2003 (in Georg.); Bagrat, Son of Bivrat – Origin of the Bagrationis. “Istoriani”. 8(32). August 2013 (in Georg.).

Catalogue of the Greek Coins of Arabia, Mesopotamia and Persia (Nabataea, Arabia Provincia, S. Arabia, Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, Alexandrine Empire of the East, Persis, Elymais, Characene) by G. F. Hill. London. 1922.

T. Dundua. Bagrat, Son of Bivrat (Towards a Genesis of the Georgian Royal Family – the Bagratids). Tb. 2001; Georgia within the European Integration. Graeco-Roman World, Byzantine Commonwealth, Orthodox Alliance and the Georgians. Tb. 2013.

R. Göbl. Antike Numismatik. Band 2. München. 1978.

D. R. Sear. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. The Local Coinages of the Roman Empire. Printed and Bound by Bookcraft (Bath) LTD. 1997; Greek Coins and Their Values. Volume II. Asia and North Africa. Printed in England by the Bath Press, Bath.1998.


Imported coins found in Georgia:

Money Circulation in Hellenistic Iberia (the 3rd-1st cc. B.C.)

The coins of the 3rd-2nd cc. B. C. are rarely discovered on the territory of Iberia.
1. In 1940 badly preserved Egyptian copper coin of Ptolemy III (?) (247-222 B.C.) was found nearby Zemo Avchala railway station, during the bridge construction. Obv. Zeus’s head; Rev. Eagle sitting on lightning.
2. In 1950 the famous archaeologist Prof. B. Kuftin discovered small copper coin in the burial near Tskhinvali. The coin’s obverse has depiction of a laureted profile, and reverse – effigy of a bull’s head with letters depicted between its horns. B. Kuftin wrote in his archaeological diary that the letters were Aramaic. The investigation concerning the coin seemed to prove that the inscription was Greek, though it is difficult to decipher it properly. The coin is a subject of great interest. B. Kuftin and D. Kapanadze thought that this unique sample, the analogy of which cannot be found in any special research, could have been struck in Iberia.
3. In the 19th c. hoard of the 3rd-2nd cc. B.C. Parthian drachms was accidentally found in Gori outskirts. Its exact consistence and quantity is not known. However, we know for sure that I. Bartholomaei purchased 30 samples from this hoard.
4. The drachm of Ariarathes IV (220-163 B.C.), the king of Cappadocia was found during Aghaiani (Kaspi district) archaeological excavations. Cappadocian coins are of the same type, only the legend and the king’s portray is changed. The description is as follows: Obv. Head of Ariarathes IV, laureted, right; Rev. Full-length effigy of Athena, left, holds a spear and a shield with Gorgon-effigy in her left hand, and Nike in her right hand.
5. Drachm of the Parthian king Mithridates I (171-138 B.C.) was found in the outskirts of Gori, in unknown circumstances. Identical coin was discovered during Nastakisi (Kaspi district) archaeological excavations in 1979.
6. In 1939 copper coin of Demetrius I Soter (150-145 B.C.), the king of Syria, was found by chance in Dighomi village. Obv. Demetrius’ head, right; Rev. Apollo sitting on omphalos, holding a bow.
7. In 1943 silver coin of Antiochus Euergetes (138-129 B.C.), the Seleucid, was found in Tskhinvali, during agricultural works.
8. Six drachms of the Parthian king Mithridates II (123-88 B.C.) are found in Eastern Georgia in the following places: Gori, Kornisi district, Mtskheta and Aghaiani. Parthian coins are also of a standardized type: Obv. Parthian king’s bust or head, right; Rev. Arsaces (founder of the Parthian dynasty) enthroned holding a bow, right. Corresponding Greek legend around the depiction.
9. In 1979 Nastakisi archaeological excavation revealed Roman republican denarius, struck in 118 B.C., in one of the burials. Obv. Roma, right. This deity was a symbol of Rome; Rev. Winged Victoria standing on quadriga (chariot drawn by four horses), holding a crown in her right hand. Latin inscription below.
10. In the 70s of the 19th c. six Bactrian silver coins of the 2nd c. B.C. (?) were found during the construction of women gymnasium in Tbilisi. Their location is unknown.
11. In the 90s of the 19th c. the 2nd-1st c. B.C. coin of Soli, a Cilician city, was found by chance.

    Money market became very variegated in Iberia from the beginning of the 1st c. B.C. On the territory of Eastern Georgia 65 coins of the first half of the 1st c. B.C. are found. Their grouping by origin gives us very interesting picture.
    39 coins out of 65 are the Parthian drachms. 11 of them belong to Artabanus II (88-77 B.C.), places of discovery: Mtskheta, Khashuri district, Gurjaani district, Aghaiani; 9 – to Sinatruces (77-70 B.C.) – Mtskheta, Dighomi, Kornisi, Aghaiani; 13 – to Phraates III (70-57 B.C.) – Mtskheta, Kareli district, Kornisi district; 6 – to Mithridates III (57-54 B.C.) – Mtskheta, Java district. It should be mentioned that the most part of the Parthian drachms are found in Mtskheta and Aghaiani.
    Roman denarii of Republican period are in the second place by number – 12 samples:
1. During Aghaiani archaeological excavations, Republican denarius struck in 93-92 B.C. in a certain Italian mint was found in one of the burials. Obv. Double-faced head of Janus; Rev. full-length effigy of Roma, draped, with a helmet on her head, holding a scepter in her left hand, placing a crown on the trophy with her right hand. Two long Gallic shields and horns on the basement of trophy. Star above Roma’s head.
2. Denarius struck in Rome in 87 B.C. was found in Aghaiani. Obv. Bearded head of the Sabine king Tatius, right; Rev. Tarpeia with long hair loose, trying to defend herself from two soldiers intending to crush her with the shields (Tarpeia is a traitor in Roman mythology, who opened one of the citadel doors of Rome to the enemy. The enemy king ordered to crush her with shields despite her “merit”).
3. One more denarius struck in Rome in 87 B.C. was found in Aghaiani. Obv. Of the same type as №2; Rev. Two warriors kidnapping two Sabine females.
4. One more denarius struck in 87 B.C. was found in the same place. Obv. Of the same type as №2; Rev. As №3.
5. Denarius struck in 87 B.C. in Rome was found in the same place. Obv. Laureted and bearded head of Jupiter, right; Rev. Victoria standing on quadriga, holding crown.
6. Denarius struck in the same mint and the same year was found in Aghaiani. Obv. Of the same type as №2; Rev. As №3.
7. Roman denarius dated back to 72 B.C. was found in Aghaiani. Obv. Helmeted bust of Virtus, right (Virtus is a Roman god of bravery and victory, companion of Mars); Rev. Consul Manius Aquilius standing, holding shield in his left hand, with the other hand helping half naked female, symbolizing Sicily, to get up.
8. Denarius struck in Rome in 67 B.C. was found in Aradeti (Kareli district) by a local. Obv. Bust of Vacuna, ancient Sabine goddess of harvest, right; Rev. Eagle sitting on thunderbolt.
9. Denarius struck in Rome in 60 B.C. was found in Marneuli district in 1965. Obv. Short-bearded draped helmeted bust of Mars, right. Trophy behind the composition; Rev. Horseman, left, killing a Gallic warrior. The horseman holds a spear and an oval shield. Corpse of slain enemy nearby. A spike helmet and an oval shield in front of the horseman.
10. Denarius struck in Rome in 60 B.C. was found during Aghaiani archaeological excavations. Obv. Concordia – Roman goddess of consent among the citizens, cities, states, etc; Rev. Two-storeyed public building with the pillars.
11. In 1948 denarius struck in Rome in 59 B.C. was found in Tbilisi. Obv. Bearded head of patrician Lucius Junius Brutus, the one, who overthrew the kingship in Rome and founded a republic; Rev. Bearded head of consul Gaius Servilius Ahala, right.
12. Denarius struck in Gallic mint in the name of Gaius Julius Caesar in 54-51 B.C. was found in Aghaiani. Obv. An elephant with a raised trunk, right; Rev. A priest’s emblem consisting of several sacrificial instruments.
    Discovery of the municipal copper coins struck in the time of Mithridates VI Eupator (120-63 B.C.) on the territory of Iberia is somewhat unexpected.
1. Amisus’ coin of this period was found by chance on the road of Akhaltsikhe-Bogdanovka (Ninotsminda) in 1951 with depiction of Perseus on obverse and Pegasus on reverse.
2. In 1939 badly preserved tetrachalkon struck in one of the cities of Pontus in 111-105 B.C. or in 105-90 B.C. with the depiction of Ares and a sword was found in Mtskheta during archaeological excavations.
3. In 1939 Sinopean tetrachalkon, which dates back to 111-105 B.C. or 105-90 B.C. was found in Samtavro necropolis. Obv. Of the same type as №2; Rev. Sword in a scabbard.
4. Copper coin of Pontus struck in one of the Pontic cities in 111-105 B.C. or in 105-90 B.C. was found in 1968 in Mtskheta, near the old gateway of the city.
5. Amisus’ coin of the same period with a deer-effigy was found during Armazi excavations in 1945.
6. In 1961 Amastris’ coin struck in 105-90 B.C. was found in Mtkvari river-bed, in Tbilisi. Type: Gorgon-Nike.
7. In 1945 during Bagineti archaeological excavations the coin struck in Amisus in the 80-70 B.C. with the depiction of Zeus and an eagle was found.
8. In 1958 dichalkon, struck in one of the cities of Pontus in the 80-70s B.C., with the depiction of Zeus and an eagle was found in Mtskheta.
    Finding of Mithridates VI Eupator’s tetradrachm, struck in 72 B.C., in Aghaiani during archaeological excavations, is of great interest. This is the only case of finding of coin of Pontic king on the territory of Iberia. Description is as follows:
Obverse – Mithridates Eupator’s right profile with long hair loose (he has Alexander’s features).
Reverse – a deer-effigy, grazing grass, left. Crescent and a star (dynastic emblem of Mithridatids) in front of it. Legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ above, ΜΙΘΡΑΔΑΤΟΥ ΕΥΠΑΤΟΡΟΣ below, and date.
    Three tetradrachms of the Armenian king, Tigranes II, who was an ally of Mithridates VI Eupator, were found in Aghaiani. It should be discussed in connection with the numismatic material of Pontus unearthed in Eastern Georgia. The tetradrachms are struck in Antioch on the Orontes in 83-69 B.C. Obv. Tigranes’ bust with Armenian tiara on his head. Two eagles in the center of tiara, an eight-pointed star between the eagles; Rev. Tyche holding a palm branch, right, a tall crown on the head. Swimming man below her impersonates the Orontes river. Greek inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΤΙΓΡΑΝΟΥ.
    The 1st c. B.C. Sogdian imitation to tetradrachm was also found by chance in Iberia, near Pasanauri.
And finally, in 1969 during archaeological excavations a drachm of Ariobarzanes I (96-63 B.C.), the king of   Cappadocia was found in Mtskheta.
    Thus, the majority of 65 coins of the 1st half of the 1st c. B.C. found in Iberia are concentrated on the territories of Mtskheta and Aghaiani.

    The major direction of Iberian economy is the same in the 2nd half of the 1st c. B.C. Statistics and topography of the coins discovered here give the following picture: Parthian drachms – 135 samples, Orodes II (57-38/37 B.C.) struck 119 of them; Phraates IV (38/37-3/2 B.C) issued 16 samples. 55 coins out of 135 are concentrated in Mtskheta and 44 are found in Aghaiani.
    There are 12 Roman denarii of this period found on the territory of Eastern Georgia.
1. In 1934 denarius struck in Rome in 47 B.C. was found in Abisi, Kareli district. Obv. Gorgon’s head, facing; Rev.Winged Aurora standing on quadriga, flying to the Sun, holding a palm branch.
2. Coin struck in Rome in 46 B.C. was found in Kavtiskhevi, Kaspi district. Obv. Profiles of twin brothers – the Dioscuri; Rev. Venus, left, holding scales in her right hand and scepter in her left hand. Cupid behind her.
3. In 1967 during archaeological excavations denarius struck in Rome in 36-24 B.C. was found in Mtskheta, near the old gateway of the city. Obv. Diademed head of Pax, right; Rev. Octavianus heading left, holding a spear in his left hand and a right hand stretched.
4. Roman coin dated back to 39 B.C. was found in Aghaiani, during archaeological excavations. Obv. Bearded head of the praetor Lucius Regulus, right; Rev. Curule seat.
5. 6. 7. Three identical denarii struck in eastern mint in the name of Marcus Antonius in 32-31 B.C. were found in Aghaiani, during archaeological excavations. Obv. Warship with oarsmen, right. Standard on the prora; Rev. Three standards and a legionary eagle.
8. Augustus’ (27 B.C.-14 A.D.) denarius struck in Gallic mint in 14-12 B.C. was found in the same point. Obv. Head of Augustus, right; Rev. Butting bull, right.
9. Denarius struck in the name of Augustus in 19-16 B.C. in one of the mints of Spain was found during Nastakisi archaeological excavations. Obv. Depiction of insignias; Rev. Quadriga, right, Victoria standing on it.
10. Roman denarius dated back to 19-12 B.C. was also found in Nastakisi.
11. Several coins were found in the 1900s in Gori, by chance, during agricultural works. Tetradrachm struck in Antioch in the name of Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra (69-30 B.C.) was among them.
12. Octavianus’ denarius dated back to 28-27 B.C. was found at 17 km. from Tbilisi, during construction of road in the forest.