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Silver tetradrachm of Macedon Philip II with Zeus


Silver tetradrachm of  Macedon Philip II with Zeus


The ascension of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great,  on  the throne of Macedonia, marked a new age in all aspects of the ancient world.


From 359 to 336 BC, he succeeded in enlarging the boundaries of the Macedonian state and in making it the biggest power in Greece. By controlling the mines in Macedonia and Thrace, Philip managed to issue coins in quantities much larger than those minted by previous Macedonian kings, and to surpass in wealth every Greek city-state, with the exception perhaps of Athens.


The head of Zeus was chosen for the first time in the royal coinage of Macedonia, as the obverse of the silver tetradrachms.  Two types were selected for the reverse: the horseman who according to certain views represented Philip himself, and the young rider carrying a palm branch, an image referring to the victory of Philip’s horse in the 356 BC Olympic games.


Adapted from “The History of Coinage” – Hellenic Ministry of Culture – Numismatic Museum.




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