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594194. Sold For $2500

CILICIA, Tarsos. Mazaios. Satrap of Cilicia, 361/0-334 BC. AR Stater (22mm, 10.92 g, 1h). Baal of Tarsos seated left, his torso facing, holding eagle-tipped scepter in extended right hand; to left, grain ear and grape bunch above L (in Aramaic) to left, M (in Aramaic) below throne, B’LTRZ (in Aramaic) to right / Lion left, attacking bull right above crenellated walls; MZDY ZY 'BRNHR’ W ḤLK (‘Mazaios, Governor of Transeuphrates and Cilicia’ in Aramaic) above. Casabonne Series 4, Group A; SNG BN 360; SNG Levante 113. Lightly toned, slightly weak strike on obverse. Near EF.

The Aramaic inscription on the reverse of this stater has prompted Biblical coin researcher David Hendin to reconsider the meaning of this coin type. It traditionally is translated as “Mazaios governor of Transeuphrates and Cilicia,” but Hendin translates it somewhat differently as “Mazaios who is over Eber Nahara and Cilicia.” The similarity of this inscription and a descriptive phrase used in two books of the Old Testament (which was codified at approximately the time this coin was struck) has led to Hendin’s suggestion that the walls on this coin represent the ones encompassing Jerusalem, which less than a century before had been rebuilt by Nehemiah, as related in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. (A fuller discussion of the subject is presented on pp. 100–3 of the 4th edition of Hendin’s Guide to Biblical Coins.)