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  • Michał Marciak and Robert S. Wójcikowski

This paper offers the first ever discussion of all extant images of Abdissar, Monobazos I and ’tlw (Attalos), Kings of Adiabene. In analysing the numismatic and sculptural data, a few conclusions on the historical context are suggested. First, it is argued that stylistic features of the coinage of Abdissar suggest a date in the first half of the second century b.c.e., and this dating bears upon the question of the historical origin of the Kingdom of Adiabene. Adiabene originated as one of many “post-Seleucid” states which arose in the Near East when the Seleucid kingdom started to crumble, before the advent of the Parthians. This suggestion is also corroborated by stylistic features of the coinage which accentuate the divine investiture of royal power in Abdissar. It is also held that the Batas-Herir monument depicts King Abdissar. Second, the images on the coin of Monobazos I clearly reflect the time of Adiabene's economic prosperity and political rise to significance among Parthian “lesser kings” in the first half of the first century c.e. Third, the reign of King ’tlw (Attalos) remains largely obscure, but the placement of his sculpture in Hatra clearly shows good political relations and close cultural ties between the kingdoms of Adiabene and Hatra in the first half of the third century c.e. Additionally, the authors argue that the images of Oriental kings on the coins of Septimius Severus do not represent any particular Oriental rulers (of Edessa, Adiabene or Hatra), but are merely stereotypical images of what the Romans considered to be typical Oriental royal outfits.

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Corresponding author
Michał Marciak, Department of Ancient History and Oriental Studies, University of Rzeszów, Al. Rejtana 16C 35-310 Rzeszów, Poland,
Robert S. Wójcikowski, Institute of Archaeology, The Jagiellonian University, Gołębia 11 Str., 31-007 Kraków, Poland,
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