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Ancient Nomos Art is a museum of galleries exhibiting ancient coins and ancient mint maps. The coin gallery displays the diverse art and history of hand-crafted ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian and Medieval coinage. The ancient mints mapping gallery features Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Asia Minor and Medieval mint city regions and territories. Visitor's are welcome to explore, study and enjoy Ancient Nomos Art.

 

Greek, Tarsos – 318 BC

Alexander III

From Ancient Galleries

Obverse: Youthful head of Herakles facing right, wearing a lion's skin headdress.
Reverse: Zeus seated left, holding eagle in right hand and scepter in left hand.

LEGEND SYMBOLS
Obv: Youthful head of Herakles facing right, wearing a lion’s skin headdress. Rev: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ (top), ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ (right), Zeus Aetophoros seated left, holding eagle in out stretched right hand and scepter in left hand; ΙΙΑΡ monogram before; Θ under his throne.

This coin is a splendid posthumous tetradrachm issued in honor of Alexander the Great. Alexander’s regional mints continued to issue his coinage for nearly 200 years after his death in 323 BC. This coin was struck at the Tarsos mint, a newly Hellenized Greek city in Cilicia. Alexander type coins are said to have been so popular that the coinage continued to be reproduced by his successors as a dominant currency throughout the Hellenistic world and has been found to have circulated over vast distances far beyond mainland Greece. As a result of Alexander’s death, the Macedonian empire did not remain whole and was divided into three distinct regions by his generals (see Lysimachus tetradrachm). Interestingly, the posthumous coins were typically minted along with the new city-state coins, but often with the name of his successors added to the reverse. The reverse engraving of this issue does not add the successor’s name, but does add the legend ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ or “king,” which was a typical feature for many posthumous coins and not typically found on his life-time issues, along with ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ, for “Alexander” to the left of seated Zeus. Otherwise, the posthumous coins closely resemble his earlier issues, but with some minor artistic and stylistic changes, along with the usual reverse symbol and monogram changes based on the new mint authorities. Some have suggested that the later tetradrachm obverse images of Herakles have been transformed to resemble that of Alexander, since by this time the Asia Minor mints began to portray the successor kings on their own coins. The reverse image continues the Cilician practice of depicting the Greek god Zeus Aetophoros, who is seating enthroned facing left and perhaps modeled after the cult statue sculpted by Pheidias in the Temple of Zeus at Olympia.

DOCUMENTATION
Value: Tetradrachm. Metal: AR Silver. Weight: 17.23 grams. Mint: Tarsos. Date: circa 323-317 BC.
Attribution: Price 3036a (same obverse die); Müller 1286.

 

Legend, Documentation and Attribution

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