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566261. SOLD $97500

SELEUCIS and PIERIA, Antioch. Mark Antony & Cleopatra VII of Egypt. 36 BC. AR Tetradrachm (27mm, 15.11 g, 12h). BACIΛICCA KΛЄOΠATPA ΘЄA NЄωTЄPA, diademed bust of Cleopatra right, wearing earring, necklace, and embroidered dress / ANTωNIOC AVTOKPATωP TRITON TPIωN ANΔ[PωN], bare head of Antony right. McAlee 174; Prieur 27; RPC I 4094; HGC 9, 1361. Light golden toning, areas of porosity. Choice EF. Exceptional portraits.

This remarkable silver tetradrachm was probably struck at Antioch during the Parthian / Armenian campaign of 36-34 BC to honor perhaps the most famous “power couple” of all time. The attribution to Antioch remains uncertain and other mint sites in the Levant have been proposed; it is also possible they were struck at a mint moving with the army. The talented die engraver has taken particular care to give Cleopatra a powerful, almost masculine profile to complement Antony’s pugnacious portrait. Ancient historians note that Cleopatra was not incomparably beautiful (although none suggest she was anything less than pleasing to gaze upon), but her remarkable mind, her musical voice, and the vast wealth of her kingdom made her irresistible to two of the most powerful men of the age: Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. The titles display Cleopatra’s dominance in the relationship, depicting her on the obverse and touting her as “Queen Cleopatra, new (or “young”) goddess,” while Antony remains only a mortal “victorious general and Triumvir.”