Illustrated introduction to Mesopotamia, £8.99
Diameter: 21.000 mm
Weight: 8.470 g
CM Thomas N C. XV p.80 fig.1
Coins and Medals
Gold dinar of Ardashir I
Sasanian dynasty, AD 224-41
A new dynasty, a new religion
Ardashir defeated the Parthians in AD 224 and founded the Sasanian dynasty. The portrait on this dinar shows in high relief a bearded king wearing a necklace with a star pendant. His tall hat is elaborately decorated with pearls and a star motif. It also has earflaps, and is identical to the tiara of Mithradates II (123-88 BC), the Parthian 'king of kings'. The diadem is tied in a bow, with the long ends hanging at the back. By adopting the hat of the famous Parthian ruler, Ardashir is declaring himself as the rightful successor to the kingdom of Iran.
The king describes himself as a worshipper of Akura-Mazda in the Middle-Persian inscription on the obverse (front), while the reverse shows a fire altar and a throne. In Zoroastrianism, Ahura-Mazda is the Creator and source of all goodness. Fire is the son of Ahura-Mazda son and the symbol of the religion. By using such explicit imagery on his coins, Ardashir is clearly announcing the unity of state and religion.
R. Göbl, Sasanian numismatics (Braunschweig, 1971)