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Title: Political and religious ideologies on Parthian coins of the 2nd-1st centuries BC
Author: Magub, Alexandra
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 9935
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis examines a key period of change in Parthian coinage, as the rebellious Parthian satrapy transitioned first from a nomadic to sedentary kingdom in the second half of the 3rd century BC, and then into a great empire during the 2nd-early 1st century BC. The research will focus on the iconography and inscriptions that were employed on the coinage in order to demonstrate how Parthian authorities used these objects to convey political and religious ideologies to a diverse audience. The Parthian Empire reached its greatest territorial extent under the Parthian king Mithradates II (c. 121-91 BC), stretching from Bactria (modern northern Afghanistan) in the east to the River Euphrates (modern Iraq) in the west. Various kingdoms from this vast landscape were brought under Parthian control. The coinage issued by the ruling kings was an effective means of propagating their ideologies on royal authority and divine legitimacy. The numismatic material is the only continuous source of primary evidence that has survived the Parthian period (c. 247 BC-AD 224), encompassing the diverse cultural, social and economic circles of its makers and handlers. It has, nevertheless, remained an understudied source of evidence for this period. The following research questions will be addressed: 1. How can we form a better understanding of the Arsacids' transition from their tribal origins to an imperial successor of the Hellenistic Seleucid dynasty and the Achaemenid kings of preceding centuries? 2. Did the Arsacid dynasty perceive itself as a continuation of the deeprooted Iranian tradition, and interweave its history into the existing narrative of Iran's legendary and historical kings? 3. Using numismatic evidence, how can we better understand the revival of Mazdaean ideology within the iconography of the ruling Arsacid dynasty, particularly at a time when its rituals and hymns were performed orally across different centres of tradition?
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral