- Museum number
Silver coin. (whole)
Head of Alexander the Great, right, diademed and wearing a ram's horn; dotted border. (obverse)
Athena Nikephoros seated left; Nike in outstretched right hand crowning inscription with wreath; spear resting behind; left arm resting on shield; to left, cult image; in exergue, crescent. (reverse)
- Production date
- 305BC-281BC (circa)
Weight: 17.250 grammes
- Curator's comments
- The conquests of Alexander the Great changed the world for ever. Following Alexander's death in 323 BC his generals divided his vast empire between themselves and began to squabble over his legacy. In the period of turmoil that followed, the image of the deified Alexander played an important part, as his successors tried to cast themselves as his heir. Various monarchs used coin designs in this context.
One of the most striking examples occurs on the coinage of Lysimachus. A former general and companion of Alexander, Lysimachus (reigned 305-281 BC) inherited the kingdom of Thrace in Northern Greece, to which he subsequently added parts of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Initially, Lysimachus was slow to mint coinage in his own name. But early in the third century, after his conquests in Asia Minor, he began to produce stunning silver and gold coins with identical types. On the front of the coins was placed a portrait of Alexander adorned with the ram's horn of the Egyptian god Amun. On the reverse was a seated figure of the goddess Athena, and a Greek legend which translates 'Of King Lysimachus'.
G.K. Jenkins, Ancient Greek coins (London, Seaby, 1990)
I.A. Carradice, Greek coins (London, The British Museum Press, 1996)
R.R.R. Smith, Hellenistic royal portraits (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1988)
O. Mørkholm, Early Hellenistic coinage (Cambridge University Press, 1991)
I.A. Carradice and M.J. Price, Coinage in the Greek world (London, Seaby, 1988)
- On display (G22/dc2/15)
- Exhibition history
2010-2011, London, BM/BBC, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
- Acquisition date
- Coins and Medals
- Registration number