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Marcus Antonius Polemo II - The Man Involved In Everything

 
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 Posted 11/04/2019  3:46 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Thrilled to pick up a very rare coin that went under the radar with a relatively new auction firm



Cilicia, Olba
Marcus Antoninus Polemon II, High Priest (AD 17 - 36)
AE 23mm, 10.42g (As?)
Dated RY 11, 28AD
Obv: ΜΑΡΚ ΑΝΤΩΝΙΟΥ ΠΟΛΕΜΩΝΟΣ ΑΡΧΙΕΡΕΩΣ, Bare head right
Rev: ΔΥΝΑΣΤΟΥ ΟΛΒΕΩΝ ΤΗΣ ΙΕΡΑΣ ΚΕΝΝΑΤ ΚΑΙ ΛΑΛΑΣΣΕΩΝ, Winged thunderbolt, date IA (11)

Born in 12 BC, Marcus Antonius Polemon was in many ways the pinnacle of the gradual Roman assimilation of the existing Greek power bases of Asia Minor who had allied with Rome rather than war with her. The son of Polemon I, king of Cilicia, Pontus, Colchis, and the Bosporus, Polemon II was on both sides the result of marriage alliances between powerful Roman aristocrats and Greek Hellenistic kings. Through his mother, queen Pythodoris, Polemon II was the great-grandson of Mark Antony by his daughter Antonia Prima with his second wife Antonia Hybrida.

When Polemon I died in 8 BC, Pythodoris remarried to Archelaeus, the last king of Cappadocia. Polemon was raised in his stepfather's court until Archelaeus died of advanced age, illness, or suicide (he was pending a treason trial by Tiberius) in 17. Polemon returned to Pontus with his mother, where she ruled as queen from 17 until her own death in 38. It was during this time that this coin was minted.

Polemon II inherited the Pontic throne from his mother in 38, and ruled as king over more than two decades of peace and prosperity. He unsurprisingly found favor with the new emperor Caligula, who was Polemon's second cousin. About the year 50, Polemon II married the Judaean princess Julia Berenice, daughter of Agrippa I and future paramour of Titus. Polemon converted to Judaism, but the marriage was doomed as his wife abandoned him to return to her brother's household. Some early Christian sources claim that at this time Polemon II converted to Christianity briefly before reverting back to paganism - Polemon's sister Tryphaena is also believed to have converted and may be the woman of the same name in Romans 16:12.

Shortly after his failed marriage to Berenice, Polemon remarried into the Edessan royal house to a woman named Julia Mamaea, who may or may not have been an ancestor of the Severan dynasty empresses 150 years later. Mamaea bore Polemon two sons, Polemon Eupator and Rhoemetalces Philocaesar. The fate of these two sons is uncertain.

In 62 emperor Nero pressured Polemon, now aged in his seventies, to abdicate the Pontic throne so that his kingdom could be absorbed into the Empire as a new province. Polemon was allowed sovereignty over Cilicia until his death in 74 of natural causes, aged about 86.

To recap, Marcus Antonius Polemon II was:
- The last direct descendant of Mark Antony to bear his namesake
- Second cousin to three Roman Emperors; Caligula, Claudius, and Nero
- Briefly a member of the Herodian dynasty of Judaea
- Potentially an ancestor of the Severan dynasty via Julia Domna and Julia Maesa.
- One of the last Roman client kings of the once-powerful Greek kingdoms of Asia Minor
- Potentially one of the earliest Christian kings, albeit briefly

In addition to this series of coins, Polemon II is perhaps better known for his extensive series of silver drachms featuring Claudius, Britannacus, Agrippina II, and Nero.
My Collections:
Roman Imperial
http://goccf.com/t/348979
Japan Type set Tokugawa + Modern
http://goccf.com/t/348999
Indo Sassanian
http://goccf.com/t/322087
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 Posted 11/04/2019  5:38 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add oriole to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It is rather remarkable that he died of natural causes at age 86. Few powerful people in that era were so lucky.
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 Posted 11/04/2019  5:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add flag4 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting read. Really nice ancient coin too.
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 Posted 11/04/2019  6:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Congrats on a nice rare find with some great detail...
Very interesting write up too...Learnt something today Thanks!
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 Posted 11/04/2019  6:41 pm  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Super coin, I never heard of him the Great Grandson on Marc Anthony. Excellent write up, congrats on finding this coin.
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 Posted 11/04/2019  7:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Strong work on this one @finn. Thanks for helping me learn something today.
"If you climb a good tree, you get a push."
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"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
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 Posted 11/05/2019  12:39 pm  Show Profile   Check FVRIVS RVFVS's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add FVRIVS RVFVS to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Marvelous find
What it lacks in diameter it certainly makes up in weight
Looks like it might even improve its handsome appearance with a short bath
I am jealous
A great bronze is good to find !
IN GOD WE TRVST ....... all others pay cash !

COGITO ERGO SPVD
I think ...... therefore I yam
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 Posted 11/13/2019  12:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks all for the kind words!

I am taking an increasing interest in these early Imperial-era "one-off" individuals, and as a result my "Twelve Caesars" set went from a half binder page to its third page! Once I get my Portraits thread up and running again (need to re-image some of the coins but haven't had time to) I'll have to add the newcomers on as well!

@Oriole - It is indeed interesting, considering that except for Augustus and Tiberius, few Roman emperors managed to live much past 70, and Augustus was pretty much the only one to come to power as an adult *and* rule for more than four decades. I guess everyone wants to be the head of the SPQR and being the lowly king of the Pontus isn't something you'd be killed for? Genetically, humans haven't changed significantly since the Paleolithic, so the maximal age has always been about 100-120 for people who maintain good health and don't live in areas being ravaged by war, famine, or plague.

@FR - The coin is actually about as cleaned as it will ever get; the "dusty" appearance is just the coloration of the patina - it is quite glassy smooth in hand. Also one thing that doesn't translate well in the picture is that the portrait is in fact in quite high relief - truly one of the final hurrahs of Greek die engraving here, as Polemo peeks out at you when the coin is on its side.
My Collections:
Roman Imperial
http://goccf.com/t/348979
Japan Type set Tokugawa + Modern
http://goccf.com/t/348999
Indo Sassanian
http://goccf.com/t/322087
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