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ALEXANDER THE GREAT
GREECE
by Mariangela Piziali

Favourable opportunities for a coinage of gold coins presented themselves again with Philip's son, Alexander III of Macedon (336-323 B.C.). The conquest of the Persian Empire and the exploitation of the mines that were already active yielded vast quantities of precious metal. At the same time there was the need of a huge amount of coins to maintain the army and a sovereign state with the monopoly of coinage.

Alexander the Great introduces gold staters and double staters, in addition to fractions (the half, the quarter, the eighth) on the Attic standard.

The heaviest denominations are characterized by the type of Athena's head with a Corinthian helmet on the obverse, and a standing Nike with crown and stylis on the reverse. Fractional denominations bear the typical weapons of Heracles - the hero believed to be the founder of the Macedonian dynasty - on the reverse.
The presence of symbols of moneyers and mintmarks (letters and monograms) enables us to trace the various mints - more than twenty - that were opened by Alexander during his conquest of the East. The inscription is usually limited to the genitive of the king's name. It rarely includes the royal title: ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ (Alexandrou Basileos = [coin] of King Alexander).

Click on the images of the coins to enlarge them

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