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MYSIA, Kisthene.  Orontes, satrap

357-352 BCE

AE 11 mm, 1.11 gm 

Obv:  bearded head of satrap right, wearing tiara with diadem tied at rear; [below, K]

Rev:  [OPONTA]; forepart of winged boar right

Ref:  Troxell, Orontes 6


The auction house (G&N) had the attribution as follows, and I believe it is wrong based on reading Troxell's article online.  I have not yet accessed the S&B and McClean references. Troxell's Orontes 3 is from Adramytion and features a the forepart of a winged horse on the reverse, plus the satrap is wearing different headgear.  A similar coin in CNG's archives has the same Adramytion attribution.  As for the date, I'm leaving it as-is for now pending further research.

Obv:   bearded head right, wearing satrapal headdress
Rev:   forepart of winged boar right   
Ref:   S&B 10; Troxell, Orontes 3; SNG France –; McClean 7635; very rare


From CNG's archives:


If the two satraps named Orontes were a single individual (the debate over this continues), then he had a long and turbulent career. According to Troxell's article on his coinage, Orontes was the son-in-law of the Persian Great King, Artaxerxes II Mnemon, through his daughter Rhodogyne - as such, he was also related by marriage to another important satrap, Pharnabazos. Initially, Orontes was the satrap of Armenia when, in 401 BC, he harassed the Ten Thousand as they struggled to make their way home following their failed attempt to wrest the Persian throne for Cyrus the Younger at Cunaxa (Xen. Anab. 2.4-5 passim). In the 380s, he co-commanded with the satrap Tiribazos the expedition against Evagoras of Salamis; however, because of his intrigues against Tiribazos during the expedition, Orontes fell from favor and it may have been at this time that he was stipped of his satrapy and sent to Mysia.


By 362 BC, Orontes was then the satrap of Mysia and joined the revolt of the satraps against against his father-in-law, Artaxerxes II Mnemon (Diod. Sic. 15.91). Appointed to command the rebel forces and entrusted with a significant amount of money to pay for 20,000 mercenaries for a year, Orontes seized those who were bringing the treasury to him. By betraying these men, Orontes hoped that this would restore him to favor with Artaxerxes II and allow him to once again have control of Armenia. During this time, Artaxerxes II died and in 361 BC, Orontes was in the East fighting against Artaxerxes III Ochos, to whom he eventually submitted.


Around 355 BC, Orontes was once again in western Asia Minor and in revolt for a third time (Dem. De Symm. 186). During this period Orontes was fighting against the now-loyal satrap, Autophradates (who had been a co-rebel in 362 BC) in Lydia and Aeolis, where Orontes captured Kyme (Polyaenus 7.14-2-3). He also captured Pergamon, which he turned over to Artaxerxes II shortly before his own death (OGIS 264). From an inscription now dated to 348 BC, Orontes was allied with Athens in a commercial treaty designed to supply the Athenian army with grain during its attempt to relieve of the Macedonian siege Olynthos. After 348 BC, nothing more is known of Orontes.

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