Description:This coin, featuring Ares, was minted in the city of Amisus in the ancient Greek Kingdom of Pontus. Amisus was founded in the 6th century BC along the Black Sea Coast in present day Turkey. It was re-settled by the Athenians a century later and became a flourishing city on a major trade route. 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 five 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 reign until 63 BC, when he was finally defeated by the Romans.
Ares, shown on the obverse side of this ancient coin wearing a crested helmet, was the Greek god of war. He was one of the Twelve Olympians and the son of Zeus and Hera. In Greek literature, he embodied the physical valor necessary for success in war, although he was known as a dangerous force. Ares was the well-known lover of the most beautiful goddess Aphrodite. Two of his sons with Aphrodite, Fear (Phobos) and Terror (Deimos) would accompany Ares on his battle chariot. The counterpart of Ares among the Roman gods is Mars, who was revered as a father of the Roman people.