Description:This 2nd century BC 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 Pontus 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 rule until 63 BC when he was finally defeated by the Romans.
Artemis is shown on this coin as the huntress, carrying her bow and quiver of arrows over her shoulder. In Greek mythology, Artemis was one of the most widely admired and worshiped of all the ancient deities. She was the goddess of hunting, which encompassed all wildlife and her favorite hunting companion was Orion. Artemis was also the goddess of women, with a particular focus on childbirth. In the city of Ephesus, she was worshiped at the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The reverse of this coin depicts a tripod, which the Greeks used for trophies, sacrificial altars or cauldrons.