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by Mariangela Piziali

Coins in the name of Alexander continue to be minted even after his death until 305 B.C., when the various heirs of the Macedonian king took the title of king, and the production of coinage became diversified. Particularly noteworthy are the gold staters struck by Lysimachus (king of Thrace) at the end of the 4th century, which bear an extraordinary portrait of Alexander the Great with Ammon's horns.

In the West Alexander's gold coinage influenced the production of Agathocles, the tyrant of Syracuse (317-289 B.C.): Agathocles' coins bear a helmeted head of Athena on the obverse and the title of King on the reverse.

In the Hellenistic kingdoms the issue of gold coinage becomes episodic, therefore taking the connotation - in a system essentially monometallic (silver) - of prestige. The Attic standard was used predominantly. Egypt is the only exception. Here the Ptolemaic dynasty controlled the rich gold mines of Nubia and the Red Sea, and issued a large amount of gold coins on the Ptolemaic standard based on a tetradrachm of 14.3 grams. The gold and silver coins of the Hellenistic kings usually depict the royal portrait on the obverse. In Egypt we also have gold series issued in the name of queens, such as Cleopatra Thea, Arsinoe II and Berenice II.

Click on the images of the coins to enlarge them

Statere di Lisimaco

Statere di Agatocle

di Tolomeo II

di Berenice II

Statere di Seleuco II

di Tolomeo IV

Statere di Farnace II
L'oro dei Theoi Adelphoi, by A. Cavagna (courtesy of)

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