Alexander III, The Great - Pamphylia - AR Tetradrachma - Circa (212-181 BCE)

Denomination: AR Tetradrachm

Type: Alexander III, the Great 

Date: 212-181 BCE

Mint: Pamphylia - Aspendus - Macedonian Kingdom - Greek

Obverse: Head of Heracles right, wearing lion-skin headdress, paws tied before neck    AΛEΞANΔPOY,

Reverse: Zeus seated left on backless throne, right leg drawn back, feet on ground line, eagle in right hand, scepter in left; AΣ above IΘ (date) on left  

Grade: NGC XF (3958537-010)

Historical note: Pamphylia (/pæmˈfɪliə/; Ancient Greek: Παμφυλία, Pamphylía) was a region in the south of Asia Minor, between Lycia and Cilicia, extending from the Mediterranean to Mount Taurus (all in modern-day Antalya province, Turkey). It was bounded on the north by Pisidia and was therefore a country of small extent, having a coastline of only about 120 km (75 miles) with a breadth of about 50 km (30 miles). Under the Roman administration the term Pamphylia was extended to include Pisidia and the whole tract up to the frontiers of Phrygia and Lycaonia, and in this wider sense it is employed by Ptolemy.

History: Alexander, King of Macedonia, began ruling immediately after the death of his father, Philip II and brought the Greek Empire to its peak. Through his conquests, he minted these coins in many variations of type and style. Each bears the face of Herakles (Hercules) wearing a headdress of the Nemean Lion. This animal was fierce and virtually indestructible, so using his super-human strength and intelligence, Herakles decided to strangle the lion since he was unable to cut through its skin. After he killed the lion, he used its own razor-sharp claws to remove its hide, and forever after Herakles wore the lion's skin for protection and as a symbol of his victory. Alexander wanted to be like Herakles, and was also known to wear a lion’s skin, invoking his strength and courage. On the obverse, Zeus is enthroned, holding an eagle in one hand and royal scepter in the other with the name “Alexander” inscribed on the side. These coins continued to circulate hundreds of years after the death of Alexander the Great.