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The Past

2,000 - 200 years ago
Kingdom of Characene
















Named after the city of Charax in southern Iraq, this small kingdom was founded in the late secondnd century BC by Aspasine, known in the Classical tradition as Hyspaosines. Aspasine was an official in the government of the late Seleucid empire (the Greek successors of Alexander the Great) at the time of the break-up of the empire and the rise to prominence in Iran of the Parthians. In spite of pressure from Parthia, the kingdom survived until it was conquered by the Sasanians in the early third century AD

That Characene interests extended into the Gulf region is shown by the recovery of several Characene coins at al-Dur. These include a tetradrachm of Attambelos III, dated to 38/39 AD; two tetradrachms of Attambelos V, dated to 58/59 AD; and three tetradrachms of Attambelos VI, dated to 104/105 and 105/106 AD The presence of Characene coins at al-Dur is all the more interesting in that Apologos, another city in the kingdom of Characene, is mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea as having been a trading partner of Omana, possibly to be identified with al-Dur.


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