Demetrios III

Founded 31-Dec-2003
Last update 30-Jul-2009

Silver coin Bronze coin References

Identification Number DE3-AR-01

Mint: Damaskos1
Period: 92/1 BC
Denomination: AR Tetradrachm
Weight: 16.31 g
Diameter: 25 - 28 mm
Obverse: Diademed, bearded head of Demetrios III right; fillet border (off flan)
Reverse: ‘ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩ[Σ] ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ’ right, ‘ΦΙΛΟΠΑΤΟΡΟΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ’ left (“of King Demetrios, Father-Loving God, Savior”); cult image of Atargatis2 standing facing with arms extended, holding flower, barley stalk rising from each shoulder; ‘Ν’ above ‘Α’ in outer left field; Seleukid date ΑΚΣ (year 221 of the Seleukid Era, i.e. 92/1 BC)3 in exergue, control on the right; laurel wreath border
Die axis:
References: Houghton, Lorber and Hoover, SC II, 2451.4; Newell, LSM, 126 (same obverse die as the plated coin 126.ε); SNG Spaer, 2862 (same obverse die)



Identification Number DE3-AE-01

Mint: Damaskos1
Period: 97/6 - 88/7 BC (probably 96/5 BC)
Denomination: AE Unit
Weight: 6.13 g
Diameter: 19 - 20 mm
Obverse: Diademed, bearded head of Demetrios III right; dotted border
Reverse: ‘ΒΑΣΙΛ[ΕΩΣ] ΔΗΜΗΤΡ[ΙΟΥ] [ΘΕ]ΟΥ’ right, ‘ΦΙΛΟΠΑΤΟΡΟ[Σ] ΣΩΤΗΡΟ[Σ]’ left (“of King Demetrios, Father-Loving God, Savior”); naked Hermes standing left, holding caduceus4 in left hand and palm in right hand; control mark in outer left field partially off flan, Seleukid date in exergue nearly off flan (probably Ζ[ΙΣ], i.e. year 217 of the Seleukid Era = 96/5 BC)3, control mark in exergue, if any, illegible or off flan; dotted border
Die axis: c. -20º
References: Houghton, Lorber and Hoover, SC II, 2455.1; Houghton, CSE, 863 (date off flan); Hoover, CSE 2, 802; Newell, LSM, 118; SNG Spaer, 2840 - 2844



1 One of the most important cities of Syria and probably the oldest city in the world.

2 Atargatis, also known as Dea Syria (“the Syrian Goddess”), was the main goddess worshipped in Syria. For detailed information, see: Per Bilde, Atargatis/Dea Syria: Hellenization of Her Cult in the Hellenistic-Roman Period? (Studies in Hellenistic Civilization, Vol. I – Religion and Religious Practice in the Seleucid Kingdom, pp. 151-187. Aarhus University Press, 1990, 1996).

3 The Seleukid Era is based on a lunar calendar, beginning with the autumn of 312 BC. It means that if x is a Seleukid year (and x<312) then the corresponding BC time interval is from 313–x to 312–x.

The beginning of the Seleukid Era was set as follows: In 311 BC, shortly after capturing Babylon, Seleukos I Nikator began the enumeration of his satrapal years there. However, after his decisive victory over Antigonos Monophthalmos in 307/6 BC, he backdated his “fictitious” first regnal year to coincide with Nisanu 1, 311 BC (New Year’s Day in the Babylonian calendar). This marked the antedated epoch of the Seleukid calendar according to the Babylonian reckoning. Later in 305/4 BC, when Seleukos I took the diadem and assumed the royal title “King”, he retained the numbering of his regnal years in Babylon but employed the Makedonian calendar and thus pushed his accession year back to Dios, 312 BC (Dios was the first month of the Makedonian calendar; it corresponds to October-November). This became the antedated epoch of the Seleukid era on the Macedonian calendar. (Assar, Recent Studies in Parthian History, Part I, p. 6)

The Seleukid Era was used at least until the first century AD in some Eastern countries.

4 The staff carried by Hermes, the messenger of the gods, as a symbol of peace. It was carried by Greek ambassadors and heralds in time of war signifying their inviolability. It was originally depicted as a rod or olive branch ending in two shoots and decorated with garlands or ribbons; in later iconography the garlands became two snakes and a pair of wings was attached to the staff to represent Hermes’ speed. Caduceus is the Latin form of Greek κηρυκειον, which means a herald’s wand (κηρυξ = a herald). (Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities - Caduceus; Britannica Concise Encyclopedia from Encyclopedia Britannica - Caduceus)


Assar, Gholamreza F.:Recent Studies in Parthian History, Part I. The Celator, Vol. 14, No. 12 (December 2000), pp. 6-22.
Encyclopedia Britannica:Britannica Concise Encyclopedia,
Hoover, Oliver D.:Coins of the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton, Part II. The American Numismatic Society, New York, 2007. (abbr. CSE 2)
Houghton, Arthur:Coins of the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton. The American Numismatic Society, New York, 1983. (abbr. CSE)
Houghton, Arthur; Lorber, Catharine; Hoover, Oliver:Seleucid Coins, A Comprehensive Catalogue. Part II, Volumes 1 and 2. The American Numismatic Society, New York, in association with Classical Numismatic Group, Inc., Lancaster/London, 2008. (abbr. SC II)
Houghton, Arthur; Spaer, Arnold (with the assistance of Catharine Lorber):Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum. Israel I. The Arnold Spaer Collection of Seleucid Coins. Italo Vecchi Ltd., London, 1998. (abbr. SNG Spaer)
Newell, Edward T.:Late Seleucid Mints in Ake-Ptolemais and Damascus. The American Numismatic Society, Numismatic Notes and Monographs No. 84, New York, 1939. (abbr. LSM)
Peck, Harry Thurston:Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers. 1898. (The Perseus Digital Library,