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Kingdom of Macedon, Alexander I AR Oktadrachm 479-460 BC Ancient Greek Silver Coin Museum Reproduction CSGDO0020


Silver Greek Oktadrachm, Kingdom of Macedon, Alexander I, struck 479-460 B.C. Unpublished reverse type.

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Alexander I, the first Macedonian king to issue coins in his name, emerged from the Greco-Persian Wars with a political strength that seems never to have been challenged during his reign. He secured the former Derronian silver mines by extending his rule eastwards, and it is at this time that the considerable output of Thraco-Macedonian tribal coinage ended. Shortly thereafter, Alexander began issuing coins with his name neatly arranged around the incuse square on the reverse. Interestingly, on this regal coinage of Alexander the weights of the oktadrachms and heavy tetrobols are struck on a heavier Thraco-Macedonian standard, while the tetradrachms, oktobols and light tetrobols are struck to a lighter standard following that used at the principal Greek mints.The earlier coins of Alexander employed the denominations, types and weight standards of the surrounding Thraco-Macedonian tribal coinages. The oktadrachms in particular strayed little from the preceding tribal oktadrachms, and show on the obverse a horseman either leading or riding his steed, while the reverse employs a quadripartite square in incuse, such as is found on contemporary oktadrachms of the Bisaltai (e.g., see Kraay, ACGC, 494). The engraving style is still provincial, and has not yet been replaced by the more sophisticated style that appears later in Alexander’s reign, perhaps indicative of the employment of Greek artists at the royal Macedonian court.

Alexander I, byname Alexander Philhellene, or Alexander The Wealthy, (died c. 450 bc), 10th king of ancient Macedonia, who succeeded his father, Amyntas I, about 500 bc. More than a decade earlier, Macedonia had become a vassal state of Persia; and in 480 Alexander was obliged to accompany Xerxes I in a campaign through Greece, though he secretly aided the Greek allies. With Xerxes’ apparent acquiescence, Alexander seized the Greek colony of Pydna and advanced his frontiers eastward to the Strymon, taking in Crestonia and Bisaltia, with the rich silver deposits of Mt. Dysorus.

It was probably Alexander who organized the mass of his people as a hoplite army called pezhetairoi (“foot companions”), with rudimentary political rights, to act as a counterweight to the nobility, the cavalry hetairoi (“companions”). His byname, the Philhellene, indicates his efforts to win Greek sympathies; and he obtained admission to the Olympic games. From Persian spoil he erected a golden statue at Delphi, and he entertained the poet Pindar at his court.

Obverse side
Horseman, in chlamys & petasos, holding two spears in his right hand, riding horse right

Reverse side
Goat right within incuse square, amphora with high handles above, all within larger incuse square

A perfect choice for Numismatists, Historians, Military Veterans, Collectors.

Weight 28,3 g
Dimensions 28,5 mm


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