Ancient Derivatives:
Alexander the Great
Classical Copies

   

Side AE-16, Pamphylia, Asia Minor, c. 3rd to 2nd century BC, Sear 5440.

The inscription on the above coin, whose design copies that of Alexander's staters, translates not into "Of Alexander" or "Of King Alexander" but "Of the Sideons." It was issued in Side, Pamphylia, which is current-day Turkey but at the time was a Greek city in Greek Asia Minor. This coin, which features an attracive earthen or desert-sand patina, is about the same size as Alexander's gold staters, though lighter in weight because of its metallic content.

As do Alexander's staters, the obverse of this coin depicts Athena wearing a crested Corinthian helmet and the reverse a standing Nike advancing left holding a laurel wreath in her outstretched right hand. With this coin, however, Nike is holding a palm in her left hand, not a stylis. The mint mark in the reverse left field is a pomegranate, which was common on coinage from Side.

In ancient times Side was a pirate stronghold and a slave market. This coin was minted after Side gained autonomy from Ptolemaic Egypt. Pamphylia, the region in which Side is located, means "People of All Races."

   
   
   

Some rulers and cities issued coins that copied the obverse and reverse designs of Alexander coinage but changed the inscription. Though these coins aren't typically considered imitatives, they are in fact imitations, according to the common, nonnumismatic meaning of this word. Those who copied Alexander staters in this way include Philip III, Lysimachos, Seleukos I, Demetrios Poliorketes, Antigonos Gonatas, Pyrrhos, Oxyartes of Baktria, and Mithradates II of Pontos. Those who copied Alexader tetradrachms in this way include Philip III, Lysimachos, Seleukos I (and his successors Antiochos I, Antiochos II, and Seleukos II, who sometimes used Seleukos' inscription, sometimes their own), Antigonos II, the Paeonian dynast Audoleon, and the Thracian dynasts Kersibaulos and Kavaros. Those who copied Alexander's main bronze type, with Herakles obverse and weapons reverse, include Erythrai (though it's not clear if these coins were initiated before or after Alexander initiated his), Herakleia Pontika, and Bosporos.

I'm calling these coins derivatives. Sometimes these derivative coins were of the same metal and denomination as the originals. Other times they weren't. The coins illustrated on this page are a selection of ancient Greek bronze coins who's types are derived from Alexander's gold staters, from large to small.

Apameia AE-20, Syria, c. 130 BC, Sear 5868, SNG Fitz. 5950.

This is another ancient bronze coin from the East that copies the style of Alexander's gold staters. Like the previous Side bronze, this coin from Apameia, Syria, depicts Nike holding a palm in her left hand, not a stylis. The inscription translates into "Of the Holy and Autonomous City of Apameia."

Apameia was named for the wife of Seleukos I, the founder of the Seleukid dynasty in the Greek East. The city was later conquered by the Roman general Pompey the Great, in 64 BC, during the Roman annexation of Syria.
Antiochos III AE-20, uncertain mint in southern Coele-Syria, c. 198-187 BC, SC (Houghton & Lorber) 1095, SNG Spaer 245-247. Nike standing left, holding wreath and palm, Seleukid anchor in oval punch in left field, "Of King Antiochos."

   

Along with the coin types illustrated here, other bronzes that imitated the Alexander stater design include those of Eumeneia, Phrygia (Asia Minor), Sear 5140; Elaiussa Sebaste, Cilicia (Asia Minor), SNG Pfälz 455-459; Heiponion, Bruttium (Italy), Sear 659; Prusias II, SNG von Aulock 6885; Antiochos I, SNG ANS 68; Seleukos II, Sear 6910; and Athens, SNG Braunschweig 834. Silver coins imitating the Alexander stater design include those of Side, Pamphylia (Asia Minor), Sear 5431-5436; Tabae, Caria (Asia Minor), Sear 4944; and Amyntas of Galatia (Asia Minor), Sear 5693.

   
Side AE-16, Pamphylia, Asia Minor, c. 3rd to 2nd century BC, Sear 5440.

These bronze coins are examples of coins that aren't typically considered imitatives though they closely imitate another coin type, in this case Alexander staters. These are official coins but not Alexanders. The inscription on the above coin translates not into "Of Alexander" or "Of King Alexander" but "Of the Sideons." It was issued in Side, Pamphylia, which is current-day Turkey but at the time was a Greek city in Greek Asia Minor. This coin, which features an attracive earthen or desert-sand patina, is about the same size as Alexander's gold staters, though lighter in weight because of its metallic content.

As does Alexander's staters, the obverse of this coin depicts Athena wearing a crested Corinthian helmet and the reverse a standing Nike advancing left holding a laurel wreath in her outstretched right hand. With this coin, however, Nike is holding a palm in her left hand, not a stylis. The mint mark in the reverse left field is a pomegranate, which was common on coinage from Side.

In ancient times Side was a pirate stronghold and a slave market. This coin was minted after Side gained autonomy from Ptolemaic Egypt. Pamphylia, the region in which Side is located, means "People of All Races."

                   
    Many other ancient coin types copied only the obverse or reverse design of Alexander coinage, either as is or modifying it slightly. I'm not including these here.    
                   
    Nabataean AE-15, Damascus, Syria, c. 110-96 BC, Meshorer 1, Nike holding wreath, no legend.    
                   
    Rubi AE-11, Apulia, Italy, c. 300-225 BC, SNG Cop. 677, Nike holding wreath and palm, magistrate's name (PYBA).    
                   
         

Intro

Alexander Tets

Alexander Staters

Alexander Fractions

Alexander Bronzes

Alexander Portrait

Alexander Copies

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More Info

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Oldest Coins

 Athenian Owls

Alexander the Great Coins

Medusa Coins

Thracian Tetradrachms

House of Constantine

Draped Bust Coins

Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles

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Bogos: Counterfeit Coins
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© 2014 Reid Goldsborough

Note: Any of the items illustrated on these pages that are in my possession are stored off site.