Zamasp (Jamasp), Sasanian King AD 496-498

, Extremely Fine

Mint: WH (Veh Ardashir) (one of the satelite cities around the capital of Ctesiphon).


Zamasp was placed on the throne with the cooperation of the nobility and the priesthood after his older brother Kavad I was overthrown due to his Mazdakite sympathies. The Mazdakites were a communistic movement who pursued vigorously the redistribution of wealth and land among its members. Once Kavad I was able to muster sufficient troops to lay siege on the capital, Zamasp peacefully abdicated in favor of his brother. Kavad I treated Zamasp with great respect and offered him the governorship of Persearmenia and the Cacasus region. Later, the provinces of Tabaristan and Daylaman on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea were added to his governate. Zamasp was able to score a series of victories in Persearmenia. He also was able to defeat the nomadic Khazars who came from the northern region of the Caspian Sea and threatened the Sasanian’s northwestern frontier. In general, Zamasp is considered to be a fair and just king. After Zamasp, his sons and grandsons continued to rule the southern Caspian region even after the Arab invasion and the fall of the Sasanian monarchy. These successors of Zamasp continued issuing coins in Sasanian style, though typically half drachms rather thanf full drachms, well in to the 9th century. Their coins were typically minted in Amol, Gorgun and Abarshahr (all three were former Sasanian mint centers). Due to his short reign, Zamasp’s coins are rare. Typically there are silver drachms and smaller fractions such as obols which are of the highest rarity. His coin shows him facing right and a crowned figure offering him the ring of kingship. The identity of this figure has long been debated. Many historians believe that the figure represents Ahuramazda, the “wise lord” of the Zoroastrian religion.