Seleucid Empire, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Tetradrachm

This tetradrachm features the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BC) in the form of the Greek god Zeus. Today it may seem puzzling to show a political ruler as a god. In antiquity, however, this was nothing extraordinary; many kings had themselves portrayed with divine features and attributes. The phenomenon is easy to comprehend if one recalls that in antiquity, kings held their office as divine representatives.

The reverse depicts Zeus again, this time sitting on a throne. A nike is standing on his right hand, a godess of victory; she offers him a laurel wreath. In his left hand Zeus holds a scepter.