Obverse: Alexander in the Guise of Hercules
Reverse: Zeus Seated Holding an Eagles and Scepter
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or your purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after us. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and place, whether currency in the age we live or an artifact of a long forgotten empire. Worth a month’s pay, a silver coin like this would have rewarded the bravery and fortitude of the officers serving under one of history’s most celebrated generals, Alexander the Great. Son to King Phillip II of Macedon, tutored in his youth by Aristotle, Alexander conquered one of the largest kingdoms the world has ever known. Marching from Egypt, through Asia Minor, and into the heart of central Asia, Alexander lead a swift and successful military campaign that defeated the potent Persians and stretched the edges of Hellenic civilization to new lands. While his vast empire dissolved after his death, the carefully cultivated legend of Alexander will continue to live on not only in our history books and museums, but also in artifacts like this coin: concrete remnants of ancient empires passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation.