CA1701

A Greek AR Tetradrachm of Alexander the Great, Hellenistic Period, ca. 2nd century BC

Macedonia, Amphipolis mint. The obverse depicts a portrait of Herakles (Roman Hercules), the greatest warrior hero of ancient Greek mythology, facing right, wearing the famed lion skin headdress. The reverse depicts the divine Zeus, king of the Gods on Mount Olympus and father of Herakles, seated on a throne facing left, one leg crossed behind the other, an eagle perched in his outstretched right hand, a long scepter in his left, and a torch underneath, ANAPOYAPOY (of Alexander) to the right, a monogram H under his throne.

Although some people have argued the image of Herakles was Alexander himself, there is no convincing evidence of this and the face of Herakles is different in different regions. Herakles was the greatest hero of the Greeks. Born of the Greek god Zeus and made mortal, Herakles attained divine status by accomplishing 12 great tasks on Earth known as the 12 Labors of Herakles. The idea of a man becoming a god obviously was an attractive image for Alexander. The headdress that appears on the head of Herakles is the lion skin of the fierce Nemean lion that was killed by Herakles during his first labor.

Alexander III, better known a Alexander the Great, ruled the Greek Kingdom of Macedon from 336-323 BC. The thirteen-year rule of Alexander is remembered for his territorial expansion into surrounding regions, including the areas of Asia Minor, Egypt and Persia. Coins continued to be struck in the name of Alexander for more than two centuries after his death, produced by approximately 120 different Mints. This silver tetradrachm is among those produced in the years after Alexander's death, and is considered a Late Posthumous issue.

Dimensions: Diameter: 1 inch (2.54 cm)

Condition: Intact and in fine condition.

Provenance:   Private NYC collection

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