Guide The Legend of Alexander the Great on Greek and Roman Coins

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The portraits "show a degree of individuality never matched by the often bland depictions of their royal contemporaries further West" Roger Ling, "Greece and the Hellenistic World". The most striking new feature of Hellenistic coins was the use of portraits of living people, namely of the kings themselves. This practice had begun in Sicily, but was disapproved of by other Greeks as showing hubris arrogance. But the kings of Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleucid Syria had no such scruples: having already awarded themselves with "divine" status, they issued magnificent gold coins adorned with their own portraits, with the symbols of their state on the reverse.

The names of the kings were frequently inscribed on the coin as well. This established a pattern for coins which has persisted ever since: a portrait of the king, usually in profile and striking a heroic pose, on the obverse, with his name beside him, and a coat of arms or other symbol of state on the reverse.

Many Greek communities in the eastern half of the Roman empire continued to issue their own coinages, known as Roman provincial coinages or 'Greek Imperials' in older scholarship, until the third century AD. Coin of Apollodotus I , Indo-Greeks. All Greek coins were handmade , rather than machined as modern coins are.

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The design for the obverse was carved in incuso into a block of bronze or possibly iron, called a die. The design of the reverse was carved into a similar punch. A blank disk of gold, silver, or electrum was cast in a mold and then, placed between these two and the punch struck hard with a hammer, raising the design on both sides of the coin. Coins of Greek city-states depicted a unique symbol or feature, an early form of emblem , also known as badge in numismatics, that represented their city and promoted the prestige of their state.

Corinthian stater for example depicted pegasus the mythological winged stallion, tamed by their hero Bellerophon. Coins of Ephesus depicted the bee sacred to Artemis. Drachmas of Athens depicted the owl of Athena. Drachmas of Aegina depicted a chelone.

The Legend of Alexander the Great on Greek and Roman Coins by Karsten Dahmen (2007, Paperback)

Coins of Heraclea depicted Heracles. Coins of Gela depicted a man-headed bull, the personification of the river Gela. Coins of Knossos depicted the labyrinth or the mythical creature minotaur , a symbol of the Minoan Crete. Coins of Thebes depicted a Boeotian shield.

Collections of ancient Greek coins are held by museums around the world, of which the collections of the British Museum , the American Numismatic Society , and the Danish National Museum are considered to be the finest. The American Numismatic Society collection comprises some , ancient Greek coins from many regions and mints, from Spain and North Africa to Afghanistan. To varying degrees, these coins are available for study by academics and researchers.

There is also an active collector market for Greek coins. Several auction houses in Europe and the United States specialize in ancient coins including Greek and there is also a large on-line market for such coins.


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Hoards of Greek coins are still being found in Europe, Middle East, and North Africa, and some of the coins in these hoards find their way onto the market. Due to the numbers in which they were produced, the durability of the metals, and the ancient practice of burying large numbers of coins to save them, coins are an ancient art within the reach of ordinary collectors.

Numismatics portal. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For modern Greek euro coins, see Greek euro coins. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Further information: Attic weight. See also: Archaic Greece.

- The Legend of Alexander the Great on Greek and Roman Coins by Karsten Dahmen

Archaic coinage. Uninscribed electrum coin from Lydia , early 6th century BC. Obverse : lion head and sunburst Reverse : plain square imprints, probably used to standardise weight. Horse head, rough incuse. Coins of Aegina. Silver stater of Aegina, BC. Sea turtle with large pellets down center. Silver drachma of Aegina, BC. Obverse: Land tortoise. Tetradrachm of Athens c.

HORSES on Ancient Greek & Roman COINS including Races, Chariots & Pegasus

A Syracusan tetradrachm c. Coin of Cyprus , circa BC. Further information: Ptolemaic coinage , Seleucid coinage , and Indo-Greek coinage. Diodotus I BC. Head of Athena r. Abydos Mint, c. Abydus Mint, c. Abydus Mint BC. Abydos Mint, c BC. Abydos mint. Lion standing right, looking left in left field, ivy leaf beneath chair. Assos mint, autonomous issue ca BC.

ME in left field, ivy leaf beneath chair. Head of Athena to right, wearing Corinthian helmet adorned with a coiled serpent. Male head right wearing Phygian cap beneath chair. Price var lists monogram is over the lion. Male head left wearing Phrygian cap beneath chair.


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Tenedos mint. Price ; Tell Halaf hoard 21 this coin. Temnos, late posthumous issue, ca. Temnos mint. Price ; Propontis hoard ; Tell Kotchek hoard AESK over vine tendril and amphora in left field. Temnos mint, civic issue struck ca BC.

Alexander the Great

Temnos, ca BC. Methymna mint, struck BC. Arion, holding lyre, on a dolphin right in left field. Price ; Mueller ; Mektepini hoard IX and IM monograms above Arion, holding lyre, on dolphin right in left field. Price var monograms. Arion, holding lyre, on a dolphin right, all above a prow in left field. Price var monograms ; Mueller var ditto. Elsen 93, Style of Price a and Bodenstedt 96, an electrum hecte of Mytilene. Mytilene mint.