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Coins in Antiquity

The mints of the 'Thraco-macedonian' people and of the aytonomous cities
The royal mint
The mints of the autonomous cities (2nd c. BC)
The mints of the Roman period

Images on this page

Octodrachm of Alexander I
Silver octodrachm of Alexander I showing a horseman holding two spears, 495-445 BC, Paris, Cabinet des Medailles.

Gold stater of Philip II
Gold stater of Philip II showing a chariot on the reverse and bearing the legend "Philippou" (of Philip), 345-336 BC, Athens, Numismatic Museum."

Tetradrachm of Alexander III
Silver tetradrachm of Alexander III with a head of Herakles, 336-323 BC, Athens, Numismatic Museum.

PreviousUpNext The royal mint

Octodrachm of Alexander I
495-445 BC

Gold stater of Philip II
345-336 BC

Tetradrachm of Alexander III
336-323 BC

Minting of coins by the Macedonian kings began at Aigai circa 480 BC, during the reign of Alexander I. The standards of measure and the metals used (initially silver, later gold and bronze), the regions they reached, and their depictions and inscriptions attest the power of each ruler, his attitude to the institution of monarchy and the extent of his country's commercial relations.

Excepting the coins of Alexander I, those of the kings who came after him, until Philip II, did not circulate beyond the borders of the state by reason of the instability which then reigned. The currency of Philip II and Alexander III on the other hand circulated widely; indeed the silver coins of the latter were the most popular in antiquity. Under the Hellenistic kings the circulation of coins was again limited to the Macedonian kingdom and central Greece.

In the Classical period the royal coins, of excellent artistic quality, were decorated with traditional or contemporary subjects, attesting their issuers' attempts to connect their origins to the mythical progenitor of their dynasty.

In the Hellenistic period the subjects were clearly chosen for the purposes of propaganda, while a novelty was the introduction of realistic portraits of the monarchs. The Successors also instituted the inscription of the royal title on the coins, which was not the case with the previous royal mints.

See Also
History - From Alexander I to Philip II
Philip II
Alexander III
The Successors
The Antigonids

Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.