KINGS OF MACEDON - Alexander III 'The Great' and a Mouse

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Topcat7, May 16, 2022.

  1. Topcat7

    Topcat7 Still Learning

    This is not a 'great' coin, or a 'rare' coin, but on a number of occasions, on this page, collectors have shown coins with a variety of fauna. We have seen goats, octopi, turtles, donkeys, elephants and to name a few, but to my recollection, never a mouse, (let alone one on an 'Alexander 'The Great' coin).

    I recently purchased an Alexander III in a group of unattributed Greek bronzes, not knowing the mouse was there, so I shall share my surprise with you.

    Macedonian Kingdom. Alexander III 'the Great'. 336-323 B.C.
    AE unit (18.2mm., 5.86gm.)
    Uncertain Macedonian mint,
    Possible lifetime issue, ca.325-310 B.C.
    Obv: Head of Herakles right, wearing lion's skin headdress.
    Rev: Bow in bowcase above B A in L & R fields, Club below and mouse in exergue.
    Price 377; SNG Alpha Bank 791-3

    Magical_Snap_-_2022.05.17_10.25_-_090-removebg-preview.jpg Magical_Snap_-_2022.05.17_10.25_-_091-removebg-preview.jpg
    Last edited: May 16, 2022
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    I see your mouse and raise you a rat!

    Ti. Quinctius. (112 - 111 B.C.)
    AR Denarius
    O: Laureate bust of Hercules left, seen from behind, with club over shoulder.
    R: Two horses galloping left, with a desultor riding the nearest one; •/H above, rat below, •D•S•S on tablet in exergue.
    Rome Mint
    Crawford 297/1b; Sydenham 563; Quinctia 6
  4. The Meat man

    The Meat man Supporter! Supporter

    So what is the history/significance of the mouse? Seems a bit out-of-place on a coin with Alexander the Great and weapons of war. :D
    Topcat7 likes this.
  5. Topcat7

    Topcat7 Still Learning

    Hence my surprise at not only finding a mouse, but finding it on a coin of such a well thought of 'General'.

    Apparently, Apollo is sometimes called Apollo Smitheus. It is thought that this refers to a connection between Apollo and mice, which makes sense since Apollo shoots plague arrows to punish disrespectful humans.

    I am afraid I do not have that answer, yet. Perhaps someone else does?
  6. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE

    I see your Rat and Mouse, and raise you a poss... er a TRASH PANDA!

    JPD3 and DonnaML like this.
  7. Topcat7

    Topcat7 Still Learning

    To borrow from @Jochen1 . . .

    " . . . In the Aeolian dialect 'smintha' means 'mouse'. So Apollo Smintheus means 'Apollo the mice-god'. The mouse in ancient times was a symbol of prophetic power because it was thought mice were inspired by the exhaling coming out of the ground. That would match the prophetic power of Apollo."
    JPD3 and DonnaML like this.
  8. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Well-Known Member

    At one time I owned this coin
    Alexander III Ar Drachm 323-317 BC Lampsakos Obv beardless head of Herakles wearing Lions skin headdress. Rv Zeus seated left In left field a mouse. Price 1424 . 18 mm THIS IS NO LONGER MY COIN Xalexanderdr3.jpg I purchased this coin from a local dealer back in the late 90's It was part of a hoard of coins and thus was in a little bag with a group of similar drachms. I bought it because I liked the mouse. The date 323-317 BC is the date suggested by Price. I now believe that that is being somewhat optimistic and the date is most likely sometime later.
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