Alexander III the Great (336-323 BC)
AR Tetradrachm. 16.38g, 29mm
MINTED: Unknown mint, circa 320 - 280 BC. Posthumous issue, in the name and types of Alexander the Great
REF: Cf. Sear 6721
OBVERSE: Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin.
REVERSE: Zeus Aëtophoros seated left, legs crossed, holding eagle and scepter; uncertain control symbols.
Good. Scuffs and test cuts applied in ancient times to determine that this was authentic and not a counterfeit. Slightly cupped flan. Worn off control symbols prevent attribution to a specific mint, but nevertheless, an honest, well-circulated example of this historic heavy silver coin of Alexander the Great, and best of all, affordably priced!
Alexander III of Macedonia (336-323 BC) easily ranks amongst history's greatest conquerors, generals, and military strategists. He was tutored by the great philosopher, Aristotle, and ascended to the throne at the young age of 20 after his father Philip II was assassinated. After a quick consolidation of power and suppression of several revolts amongst his Thracian, Illyrian and Greek subjects, he embarked upon his storied conquest of Persia in 334 BC. Within a period of 4 years, Alexander had utterly defeated the armies of the Persian king Darius III and occupied all the major cities of the once mighty Empire, including its capital Babylon. Not satisfied with this achievement, Alexander continued to march his troops through Central Asia and towards India, in a quest to unify under his rule as much of the known lands of both the west and east.
In 326 BC, Alexander fought and defeated Porus, the Indian king who ruled over the region of what is now the Punjab. He was next going to send his army against the Nanda Empire to the east, but when his war-weary veterans refused to march and threatened to mutiny against him, and Alexander finally agreed to allow them to reutrn home. Alexander himself marched with some of his troops back to Babylon, where he based himself for the next few years. In 323 BC, he was planning an invasion of Arabia when he fell ill with a fever and died, at the age of 32. He was undefeated in battle and had created one of the largest empires in history, one over 5 million square kilometres in land area and stretching from Greece to northwestern India.
The iconic tetradrachms of Alexander III of Macedonia were minted at over two dozen cities spread throughout his vast empire during his lifetime. They served primarily to pay soldiers in his armies, and they uniformly featured the head a youthful Herakles wearing a lion-skin headdress on the obverse and Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned on the reverse. So powerful was Alexander's legacy that for more than two hundred years after his death, these tetradrachms bearing his name continued to be struck and used in numerous kingdoms and cities, even when they ceased to be part of the Macedonian Empire.
MACEDONIAN KINGDOM . Alexander the Great, 336-323 BC . AR Tetradrachm . *Budget*
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