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Struck under Bassus

Lot 367: Syria, Seleucis and Pieria. Antiochia ad Orontem. Q. Caecilius Bassus. Rebel Governor, 46/5 B.C. AR tetradrachm. In the name of Philip I Philadelphos of Syria. Year 4 of the Caesarean Era (46/5 B.C.).

AUCTION:  Triskeles - Auction 17 (Auction 320)

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  • Sold Winning Bid: $460
  • 6 Bid(s)
Description

Syria, Seleucis and Pieria. Antiochia ad Orontem. Q. Caecilius Bassus. Rebel Governor, 46/5 B.C. AR tetradrachm (25 mm, 15.14 g, 1 h). In the name of Philip I Philadelphos of Syria. Year 4 of the Caesarean Era (46/5 B.C.). Diademed head of Philip I Philadelphos right / [Β]ΑΣΙΛΕΩ[Σ] ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟ[Υ] ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟ[ΥΣ ΦΙΛ]ΑΔ[ΕΛΦΟΥ], Zeus Nikephoros seated left, holding Nike and long scepter; in inner left field, monogram of Antioch; below throne, stylized monogram; in exergue, date (Δ) and thunderbolt. McAlee 5b; Prieur 5b; RPC 4128; SC 2491.2; HGC 9, 1360b. Rare. Extremely fine.

Purchased by the previous owner from Carlo Cassano at the Reno Coin Show, 30 April 2005.

This autonomous pseudo-Philip tetradrachm is dated to year 4 of the Caesarean Era, i.e., 46/5 B.C., when Q. Caecilius Bassus had assumed control at Antioch. Bassus was a Pompeian who had fought at Pharsalus, and after the Pompeians' defeat he fled to Tyre. The then governor of Syria, Sextus, was a partisan and relative of Caesar, and Bassus immediately set about gathering a following of Sextus' troops in order to incite them against the regime. He was caught but managed to deceive Sextus by telling him that he was only collecting troops to use against Mithradates of Pergamon. Then, by means of a forged letter which claimed that Caesar had been killed at Thapsus and that the governorship of Syria had been assigned to him, he tricked Sextus once again. When Sextus discovered the ruse the two sides fought with neither gaining the upper hand; however, Sextus was soon murdered by troops loyal to Bassus. Bassus then assumed control over Sextus' troops, and became de facto governor at Antioch.

For two years Bassus staved off attacks by Caesarean forces under Gaius Antistius, who was later joined by Marcius Crispus and Lucius Staius Murcus. He managed to recruit both the Arabians under Alchaudonius (the same Alchaudonius who betrayed Crassus to the Parthians) and the Parthians to his cause, but neither side was able to gain the upper hand. Finally, when one of Caesar's assassins, Cassius, arrived on the scene, Bassus decided that he was no longer in a position to maintain his rebel empire and joined forces with the Republicans.

Lot Details
  • Offered By: Barry P. Murphy
  • Lot #: 367
  • Listing #: 177217
  • Closed: Friday, September 16, 2016 7:02:00 PM CT
  • Estimate: $500