Beautiful Ancient Coin with the Image of Alexander the Great

This is a silver tetradrachm from the Thracian Kingdom under the rule of Lysimachus. It was struck sometime after the death of Lysimachus in 281 BC at an undetermined mint. The obverse shows the head of Alexander the Great wearing a diadem and the horns of Ammon. The reverse shows Athena Nikephoros seated. There are two monograms, one of which is in a wreath and the inscription BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY.

Lysimachus (r. 323-281 BC) was a Macedonian officer and diadochus (i.e. “successor”) of Alexander the Great, who became a basileus (“King”) in 306 BC, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedon. Read more about Lysimachus here.

Extremely Rare Coin Issued By One Of Alexander The Great’s Best Friends

Worth $164,683; one of only 4 known examples.

This gold stater was struck in Alexandria under Ptolemy I Soter while he was still satrap of Egypt, sometime between 313 and 311 BC.  On the obverse, the coin shows the diademed head of Alexander III (The Great) wearing an elephant’s scalp headdress, an aegis and the horn of Ammon over his ear. The reverse shows the  prow of galley adorned with one large and one small protective eye.

Ptolemy I Soter (c. 367-283 BC) was a Macedonian general under Alexander the Great, who became ruler of Egypt (323–283 BC) and founder of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and dynasty. In 305/4 BC he demanded the title of pharaoh. Before Alexander’s death in 323 BC, Ptolemy was one of Alexander’s most trusted generals, and was among the seven somatophylakes (bodyguards) attached to his person. He was a few years older than Alexander, and had been his intimate friend since childhood.

This is one of the greatest rarities of Ptolemaic coinage, and it celebrates the Ptolemy I’s use of Alexander’s figure as a badge of legitimacy. As is well known, Ptolemy arranged to capture Alexander’s body in 322 BC, when it was in Syria on the way to Macedonia. It was soon placed in a great tomb in Alexandria where it remained until at least the 3rd century AD (though there are reports of it having been seen in the 9th and 10th centuries). This coin bears the typically Ptolemaic portrait of Alexander (with the elephant’s skin headdress) and a prow, which probably commemorates some initial Ptolemaic victories in Cyprus. The portrait itself is remarkably evocative with the visage of a human who was also considered divine.

Sliver Tetradrachm with head of Alexander the Great, dating back to 297-281 BCE. This coin conveys Alexander’s superhuman status by endowing him with the ram’s horn of the god Zues-Ammon. The Macedonian king ruled Babylon from 331 BCE until his death in that same city in 323 BCE. Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

Photo by Babylon Chronicle

Eight-drachma coin (octodrachm)

Unknown artist, Greek

Eight-drachma coin (octodrachm), 261-252 BCE


Weight: 27.8 g

This coin is unusual not only because it is gold, but also because it portrays a woman, Arsinoe II, who ruled Egypt alongside her husband Ptolemy II. Although her reign was short, she was an exceedingly popular ruler, and was deified by her people almost immediately upon her death. She is shown here wearing a diadem and veil, both symbols of ancient religion. To the left of her head are the horns of Zeus Ammon, the Libyan god Alexander claimed as a father. Arsinoe’s depiction with such important religious symbols attests to the power she held in her community.

RISD Museum