Kingdom of Macedon - The Oktadrachms of Alexander I

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Alexander I, the first Macedonian king to issue coins in his name, emerged from the Greco-Persian Wars with a political strength that seems never to have been challenged during his reign. He secured the former Derronian silver mines by extending his rule eastwards, and it is at this time that the considerable output of Thraco-Macedonian tribal coinage ended. Shortly thereafter, Alexander began issuing coins with his name neatly arranged around the incuse square on the reverse. Interestingly, on this regal coinage of Alexander the weights of the oktadrachms and heavy tetrobols are struck on a heavier Thraco-Macedonian standard, while the tetradrachms, oktobols and light tetrobols are struck to a lighter standard following that used at the principal Greek mints. 


The earlier coins of Alexander, of which this coin is a particularly outstanding example, employed the denominations, types and weight standards of the surrounding Thraco-Macedonian tribal coinages. The oktadrachms in particular strayed little from the preceding tribal oktadrachms, and show on the obverse a horseman either leading or riding his steed, while the reverse employs a quadripartite square in incuse, such as is found on contemporary oktadrachms of the Bisaltai (e.g., see Kraay, ACGC, 494). The engraving style is still provincial, and has not yet been replaced by the more sophisticated style that appears later in Alexander's reign, perhaps indicative of the employment of Greek artists at the royal Macedonian court.

Kingdom of Macedon. Alexander I AR Oktadrachm. Circa 492-479 BC. Horseman, wearing chlamys and petasos, carrying two spears, leading horse to right / Quadripartite incuse square. SNG ANS 1 = Rosen 117; SNG Lockett 1266; D. Raymond, Macedonian Regal Coinages to 413 BC, ANSNNM 126, pl. 2, 4 (same dies); Goldberg 72, 5 February 2013, 4042 (same dies). 28.41g, 33mm.

Slight roughness, otherwise Extremely Fine. Sharply struck from fresh dies and very well detailed for the issue.