Tarsus, Silver Stater, 373/72-369/68 BCE
weight: 10.7g; width: 2.2cm; die axis: 10h

Datames OBVDatames REV

OBV.: Facing head of a goddess or nymph, inclined to left, wearing a sphendone, multipendant necklace, and earrings, all set in dotted border.
REV.: Bearded male head (Ares?) wearing an Attic helmet with three-part crest and movable double visor, facing to the right, set in dotted border. Aramaic inscription in right field: TRKMW, i.e., Tarkamuwa, the Persian satrap known to the Greeks as Datames.

HFMA nr. 2006.010.008. Ref.: Kraay (1976) pp. 201-2.

Datames (ca. 407 - ca. 362 BCE) was satrap (Persian governor) of both Cappadocia and Cilicia under the Persian Great King Artaxerxes II (405-359 BCE). Datames served first in Artaxerxes' palace guard, then proved his loyalty and military talent in several bloody campaigns. He became Artaxerxes' most powerful satrap, ruling all of Eastern Anatolia up to the Black Sea. In the end, however, he led the great Satrapal Revolt against Artaxerxes that took almost a decade to suppress. Datames was assassinated in 362 BCE.
Around 378, Pharnabazus, the satrap of Dascylium in Northwest Anatolia, was ordered to prepare an invasion of Egypt, which had temporarily freed itself of Persian rule. When Pharnabazus' attempt to recover Egypt failed in 373 BCE, the command for another, similar invasion was given to Datames.

To pay their armies for these expeditions, both satraps minted near-identical coins, distinguished only by their inscriptions. The reverse of these coins may show a representation of Ares, the Greek god of war. The facing head of an unidentifiable female deity (Aphrodite, the wife of Ares?) on the obverse is clearly influenced by the famous representations of the nymph Arethusa created by the artist Kimon for the coins of Syracuse. Both designs were probably meant to appeal to the thousands of Greek mercenaries that each Persian satrap hired for their Egyptian campaigns.


Kraay, Colin M., Archaic and Classical Greek Coins. Berkeley; Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1976.
Moysey, R. A., "The Silver Stater Issues of Pharnabazos and Datames from the Mint of Tarsus in Cilicia," The American Numismatic Society Museum Notes 31 (1986) 7-61.

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