Description:This coin was minted during the 1st century BC in the historic city of Antioch, which was located in present-day southern Turkey, just north of Syria. This region was under Persian control until Alexander the Great defeated the Persians in the Battle of Issus in 333 BC. After the death of Alexander, this Greek land became the Seleucid Empire, ruled and named after one of Alexander's generals Seleucus I Nicator. With its prized location along major trade routes, including the Silk Road, Seleucus founded Antioch and the city quickly prospered.
Antioch was the capital of the Seleucid Empire until 63 BC, when the Romans took control of the city. Julius Caesar visited here in 47 BC and the city was favored by subsequent Emperors. Antioch grew to more than 500,000 inhabitants, becoming the 3rd largest city in the Empire after Rome and Alexandria.
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. The reverse side of this coin shows Zeus enthroned while holding Nike and a scepter. Nike, the Greek goddess of strength, speed and victory, was a close companion of Zeus. It was believed that Nike would fly around the battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame.