Description:This ancient coin features the laureate head of Zeus, who in Greek mythology, oversaw the universe and was the "Father of gods and men." He ruled as king of the gods on Mount Olympus and as god of the sky and thunder with the power to hurl lightning bolts as a weapon. Known for his escapades, Zeus fathered many godly and heroic children including Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Persephone, Dionysus, Perseus and Hercules. One of the symbols of Zeus was the eagle, and on the reverse of this coin an eagle is shown standing on a thunderbolt.
This coin was minted in the city of Sinope, the capital of the ancient Greek Kingdom of Pontus. Sinope was founded as a Greek colony in the 7th century BC, along the Black Sea Coast in present day Turkey. The city flourished as the Black Sea port of a caravan route that led from the upper Euphrates valley. In 120 BC, Mithridates VI ascended to the throne and he began expanding his Kingdom around the Black Sea and into Greece and Asia Minor. This territory included Roman client states and led to the 1st Mithridatic War against Rome in 89 BC. The war lasted 5 years and ended in a Roman victory which forced Mithridates to abandon all his conquests and return to Pontus. However, the conflict would continue in two further wars and Mithridates, who is remembered as the last great Hellenistic ruler, would rule until 63 BC, when he was finally defeated by the Romans.