To the strongest: The death of a god - OTD Alexander The Great dies a mysterious death

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ryro, Jun 10, 2021.

  1. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter


    So many questions about his death:
    • Why would such a young healthy (he was in the prime of his life at 32!) guy die?
    • Was it really from emptying Herakles horn (a large wine drinking vessel)?
    • Was he poisoned?
    • Did he even say, "To the strongest."
    (A cuneiform tablet from Babylon (323–322 BCE) recording the death of Alexander. Photo taken by a drunk man having his shoulder bumped into by another drunk man during an Earthquake)

    For those that want to say that was worn down from years of battle. I have to say, he led an active life and had access to the best foods and medicines gold and silver could buy!


    Same goes for drinking abilities! You don't know what kind of slushy combination of alcohol my liver had been bathing in when I was 32)
    (Athena and Herakles chillin like villains)

    The story goes that he was ill for 12 days, which is why many think that poison is not the cause.
    I am still skeptical. If one of his generals had an in with one of the servants that fed the king, it could have been a slow poisoning. Or, if the first dose of poison wasn't strong enough, we know that only a select few of his generals were at his side. It would have been easy if they were conspiring against the great one to finish off the week but recovering living god.


    After being asked, by his generals on his deathbed, who was to succeed him. It has been speculated that his voice may have been indistinct and that he may have said "Krateros" (the name of one of his generals), but Krateros was not around, and the others may have chosen to hear "Kratistos" — the strongest.

    Buuut the romantic in me sure loves the story that has passed down through the ages to us! So, I'll keep on believing that ;)
    Alexander III the Great
    336-323 B.C. AE 20 (19.5 mm, 5.74 g). Uncertain mint in Western Asia Minor, ca. 323-310 B.C. Head of Alexander the Great as Herakles right, wearing the lion-skin headdress /ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ
    bow in bow-case above and club, the weapons of Hercules; torch in field below. Hidden countermark on bow case mouth
    Pella,305-281 BC.
    Tetradrachm AR 27mm., 15,95g. Head of the deified Alexander the Great to right, wearing diadem with fluttering ends and with the horn of Ammon around his ear / ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΛΥΣΙΜΑΧΟΥ, Athena, wearing robes and helmet, seated to left on throne, holding Nike on her right hand and resting her left elbow on large round shield adorned with a gorgoneion; to left monogram. very fine. Thompson 253; Müller 471.

    Seleukos I Nikator,
    312-281 BC. Drachm (Silver, 16.5 mm, 4.25 g, 12 h), probably Seleukeia on the Tigris, after circa 305/4 BC . Bust of Alexander the Great to right, as Dionysos, wearing helmet covered with a panther skin and adorned with a bull's horn and ear, and with a panther's skin tied around his shoulders. Rev. ΒΑΣIΛΕΩΣ [ΣΕ]ΛΕΥΚΟΥ Nike standing to right, placing wreath on trophy; between Nike and trophy, monogram. HGC 9, 35. SC 197. Toned. Very fine. Ex: Nomos Obols

    Ptolemy I Soter
    305-282 BCE. Æ (15mm, 3.85 g, 12h). Tyre mint. Struck after 294 or 289/8 BC. Diademed head of Alexander the Great right / Eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings displayed.

    MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Alexander III the Great (336-323 BC). AR tetradrachm (15.98 gm). About VF, countermark, graffito. Late posthumous issue of Perga, dated CY 27 (195/4 BC). Heracles wearing lion-skin, AΛEΞANΔPOY, Zeus seated left on backless throne, right leg drawn back, feet on ground line, eagle in right hand, scepter in left; KI in left field, Seleucid anchor countermark in rectangle in outer right field. Price 2941.

    Koinon of Macedon.
    Pseudo-autonomous issue circa AD 200-300.
    Bronze Æ
    Obverse: diademed bust of Alexander the great right
    Reverse: horseman galloping (Alexander and Bucephalus)
    25mm., 11,48g.
    nearly very fine

    Please post all things GREAT especially Alexander!
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Alexander III the Great (336 - 323 B.C.)
    AR Tetradrachm
    O: Head of Alexander as Hercules right, wearing lion-skin headdress.
    R: AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style), eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, bow on left.
    Salamis mint, struck 332-323 B.C.
    Price 3139 ; SNG Alpha Bank 662; Newell. Salamis 7.

    Lifetime Issue
  4. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    There is speculation he died of Malaria after visiting a swamp/
    Perdikkas was the chosen one , but he was killed by his own soldiers after they refused to go over the Nile infested with crocs.

    P1180363b2 best.jpg P1170657 best.jpg
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  5. J.T. Parker

    J.T. Parker Well-Known Member

    My one & only Alexanderian tetradrachm. Excellent strike, well centered and from the Myriandrus mint in Syria 16.98 grams 323-325 B.C.E.
    J.T. D4AADF90-E7FA-4431-94A4-EFD353853799_1_201_a.jpeg F3913CF7-D699-4BF5-8582-A4558F0EC895_1_201_a.jpeg
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  6. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    Wonderful coins and a nice write up @Ryro!
    His death will always stay a mystery, I do not know, on one side poison by Macedonian nobles could have very well have been possible. But on the other side, there were a lot of deadly diseases, which without modern medicines and treatment would lead to fatality. Even a strong lion like Alexander cannot defeat these 'invisible' attackers!

    Some coins:
    Alexander III the Great, struck under Philip III – Antigonos I Monophthalmos. Circa 323-310 BC. Æ Unit. Uncertain mint in Western Asia Minor.
    Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin.
    Reverse: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ. Bow-in-bowcase and club; torch below.
    Reference: Price 2800.
    6.19; 19mm
    Ex. Dr. W. R. Collection.
    Ex. CNG Electronic Auction 350, Nr. 10

    Alexander III. "the Great". AR Tetradrachm. Civic issue, Odessos mint (80-72/1 B.C.). Struck in the times of Mithridates VI of Pontos.
    Head of Herakles wearing lion's skin right, with the features of Mithradates VI.
    Reverse: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left; ΛΑΚΩ above knee, ΟΔΗ in exergue.
    Reference: Callataÿ Group 3; Topalov, Odesos 80; Price 1193; HGC 3, 1589.
    16.12g; 29mm

    Alexander III the Great. AR Tetradrachm. Civic issue, Mesembria mint 100-72/1 B.C. Struck in the time of Mithridates VI.
    Head of Herakles wearing lion's skin right, with the features of Mithradates VI.
    Reverse: BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ / MEΣAM, Zeus seated left, holding spear and eagle; to left, ΔIO.
    Reference: Price 1128; Karayotov I 316; HGC 3, 1570.
    16.10g; 33mm
  7. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I've got nothing, except this little drachm I bought a long time ago, issued under Philip III Arrhidaeus, who certainly wasn't great:

    Macedon, Alexander III (under Philip III Arrhidaeus), AR Drachm, Miletos mint, 323-319 BCE. Obv. Head of beardless Herakles to right, wearing lion skin headdress / Rev. Zeus seated left on stool-throne, holding long scepter in left hand, with eagle standing right with closed wings on his right hand; KH monogram (Price Monogram 476) in left field; in right field, ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ. Price 2121 [Price, M., The Coinage in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus (London, 1991)]; Pella database at; Müller 847 [Müller, L., Numismatique d'Alexandre le Grand; Appendice les monnaies de Philippe II et III, et Lysimaque (Copenhagen, 1855-58)]. 16 mm., 4.21 g. Purchased from Harmer Rooke Numismatists, Ltd., New York City, 21 Feb. 1986.

    COMBINDED Alexander III drachm Miletos.jpg
  8. J.T. Parker

    J.T. Parker Well-Known Member

    Hello Donna,
    So this is a drachma of Alexander, The not-so Great, Alexander The Mediocre,
    Alexander The Parvenu, Alexander The Poser ?
    Nice coin though,
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  9. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    I don't have lifetime issues of Alexander the Great (since this is my given name and I'm getting very close to 100 kilos, I could easily use this nickname)
    But I have 2 "related" coins


    Philip II 359-336 B. C.

    Kings of Macedon, Philip II (359-336 BC). Æ Unit (15mm, 5.49g, 12h). Uncertain mint in Macedon. Diademed head of Apollo r. R/ Youth on horseback riding r.; monogram and trident head below. SNG ANS 908.


    Alexander III, AR Drachm, 323-319 BC. Philip III Arrhidaios Struck under Menander or Kleitos. Magnesia ad Maeandrum mint. Head of Herakles right, wearing lionskin headdress. / AΛEXANΔΡOY to right of Zeus seated left, right leg drawn back, holding eagle and sceptre. bee left in left field, spear-head in outer right field. Price 1937-1938; Mueller 322-323; SNG Cop. 952.
  10. Di Nomos

    Di Nomos Well-Known Member

    My only coin connected to Alexander. Minted after his death by Ptolemy I in Alexandria in Egypt.

    Head of the deified Alexander on the obverse in elephant skin headdress.

    Ptolemy I Tetradrachm.png
  11. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    A couple of rough additions...

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  12. J.T. Parker

    J.T. Parker Well-Known Member

    Greetings Di Nomos,
    Really nice example of this (usually struck off-center) tetradrachm.
    Call me envious,
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  13. ancientone

    ancientone Well-Known Member

    My only Alexander is this 10mm from Kaunos.

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  14. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    In 1988 I went to a coin show in London at the Marlborough Crest. John Cummings (a dealer) had a whole tray of Alexander drachms, presumably part of a hoard. This one was, to me, the best of the group:


    Price 1362c, Lampsacus mint, 328-323 BC.
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  15. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Alexander III Ar Tetradrachm Amphipolis 332-326 BC Obv Head of beardless Herakles right wearing lion skin headdress. Rv Zeus Aetophoros seated left Price 29 Troxell Issue B7 17.16 grams 24 mm photo by w. Hansen alexandert50.jpg
    This coin is part of the second issue initiated by Antipater in response to problems being stirred up by the Persians in Greece as Alexander was occupied with his invasion of the Persian Empire. Troxell identified four issues from the mint of Amphipolis as being lifetime, these being issues A through D. Group E is now considered posthumous. Troxell had identified this much larger issue as being used to pay Alexander's veterans when they had returned home but unfortunately these individuals were still in Tarsos Cilicia when he died.
  16. Broucheion

    Broucheion Supporter! Supporter

    Hi @Ryro,

    That is CPE-B44, not listed by Svoronos, a coin of Alexandria. Disregard Lorber’s typo on size. It should be about 16 mm. Nice coin!

    - Broucheion
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  17. Broucheion

    Broucheion Supporter! Supporter

    Hi @ancientone,

    Lorber makes this the head of Basileus Kaunios, and minted under Ptolemy III (CPE-B433). A very nice one.

    - Broucheion
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  18. Di Nomos

    Di Nomos Well-Known Member

    Thankyou. Though you may be less envious if you knew what I paid for it! It wasn't cheap, but i love having it in my collection.
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  19. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    I must conquer... that is concur;) with JT, whatever you paid, it was the right choice. I won't even get started about the stunning portrait. That Athena reverse is foxy like Pam Grear!
    My only elephant hat of Alexander's, so far, are bronze.
    Here's the other one that I didn't show earlier.
    Though, not as beautiful as my Ptolemy I, it was minted under the last great Ptolemy #3:
    Ptolemy III Euergetes
    AE Obol. Alexandria Mint 246-222 BCE. Obverse: Deified head of Alexander the Great right, wearing elephant skin. Reverse: Eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head right, cornucopia over shoulder; E between legs. References: Svoronos 976; SNG Copenhagen 232. Size: 24mm, 10.36g. Numismatic Notes: Good VF grade and done in choice style!
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  20. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Nice array of Alexanders, @Ryro!

    MACEDONIA Alexander III - AR Tetradrachm Amphipolis 2895.jpg
    MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Alexander III the Great.
    AR Tetradrachm. 17.17g, 24.4mm. MACEDONIA, Amphipolis. Lifetime issue, struck under Antipater, circa 332-326 BC. Price 44. O: Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin. R: AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left; in left field, forepart of Pegasos upward.

    Alexander III - Tetradrachm Pella 1899.jpg
    MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Alexander III the Great.
    AR Tetradrachm. 17.4g, 31.9mm x 25.5mm. Pella mint, late lifetime or early posthumous issue, circa 325-315 BC. Price 245. O: Head of Herakles to right, wearing lion skin headdress. R: AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus seated left on low throne, holding long scepter in his left hand and, in his right, eagle with closed wings; club in left field.

    Kassander Tetradrachm 647.jpg MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Kassander – Antigonos II Gonatas.
    AR Tetradrachm. 16.72g, 29mm. Uncertain mint in Greece or Macedon, in the names and types of Alexander III, circa 310-275 BC. Price 866; Stuttgart 1, lot 178 (same dies). O: Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin. R: AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left; in left field, forepart of Pegasos left.
    Ex Dr. Will Gordon Collection
  21. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

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