Sinope (now Sinop) was an old city even in Roman times, founded (or refounded) by the Greek Milesians around the 7th Century BC, and was the seat of kings of the region (Pontus). It was sited to the south of the Black Sea, about midway along the northern cost of modern day Turkey. It flourished as the location of a busy port trading with the caravan routes from the Euphrates valley and from the port operated a sizeable fleet. Many workshops operating the manufacture of amphora have been unearthed, essential for the transportation of wine, oil or fish. That it was a wealthy and sophisticated city can be inferred as the triumphant general Lucullus used statues from the city to adorn his gardens back in Rome.

The last, truly great king before subjection by the Roman Empire was Mithridates VI who successfully held back the advancing tide of Rome many times. His son, Pharnaces II was the final ruler before complete domination by Rome in 45BC. It issued Roman Provincial coins from the rule of Julius Caesar through to Maximus. Even though it was a colony of Greek origin it issued provincial coins using the Latin alphabet rather than Greek. The letters normally encountered are C.I.F.S which stands for Colonia Julia Felix Sinope.