Alexander III, the Great: Macedonian Greek
King: 336-323 B.C.
Roman Era, Olympic-Style Games Issue
Bronze( 27mm, 10.33 grm.) from the Koinon of Macedonia in Thrace under
Struck circa 222-235 A.D. under the reign of Roman Emperor Severus Alexander
AΛЄΞANΔPOV, Draped bust of Alexander the Great right with loose, flowing hair.
KOINON MAKЄΔONΩN, Two four-column temples in 3 dimensional perspective with B
above in at center.
* Numismatic Note: Leaders like Julius Caesar and the Romans
and the Greeks alike had immense respect for the great accomplishments of
Alexander the Great. Macedonia, being the kingdom of Alexander the Great's
birth, this coin featuring his likeness heralds the Neocorate status of the
area, along with the Olympic-style games that accompanied it. Highly-coveted
Provided with certificate of authenticity.
by Sergey Nechayev, PhD -
The provincial coinage issued in the name of a district
council (KOINON) was not very common at the time of Augustus and the formation
of provincial Roman governments. Most cities issued coinage in their own names -
either as autonomous or as individual subjects of the emperor or a client king.
In fact, the koina never became very widespread in practice or authority. From
inscriptions on provincial coins, we know of koina in Macedon and Thessaly in
Greece - also on the islands of Lesbos, Crete and Cyprus. The remainder were
from the East.
In theory, the koinon may be likened to a federation where representatives of
each city in the district form an assembly with a democratic voice. In practice,
however, they had very limited powers. One of their main functions was the
organization of festivals and games in favor of the imperial cult. The allusion
to these games is normally seen in the legends or iconography of the coins which
they issued. Other typical images are the temple of the koinon or
personifications of the Senate
The koina should not be thought of as independent political powers. They were,
of course, under Roman control. In fact, the Roman proconsul or provincial
governor is sometimes named on these coins.
Neocorus was a Greek title which designated the individual who had
charge of the interior of a temple and looked out for the temple's needs. In
Roman times, provincial Greek cities often styled themselves as the neocori of
the imperial cult. This was an obvious form of flattery, which insinuated the
godliness of the emperor and indicated the city's devotion and loyalty. The
neocorate of a city was a great and coveted honor, and not one which was
presumed arbitrarily. The emperor allowed the bestowing of this right only to
cities which had earned the status. Consequently, cities were eager to announce
this consideration and usually did so on their coinage. The proclamation of a
neocorate on coins was often accompanied by a depiction of the temple.
Originally, it was imperial policy that only one neocorate would be allowed in a
city. This rule was later relaxed, and several cities were allowed two or more
neocorates. The subsequent awards were depicted on coins by showing two or three
temples along with an appropriate inscription. The first neocorate of a city was
usually mentioned in the inscription simply as NEΩKOPΩN. The second appeared as
B NEΩKOPΩN, the third as F NEΩKOPΩN (e.g. Pergamum).
The approval of neocorate was usually accompanied by games and festivals. The
coins struck for these events often displayed a combination of neocorate and
agonistic imagery. Like the number of temples depicted, there also seems to be a
correlation between the imagery and the award on some of the "games" issues.
Although this may be coincidental, coins bearing the single NEOKOPOC often have
a singular agonistic crown or urn, which is in the center field between the
temples. Those indicating a second or subsequent neocorate have two or more
The iconography of neocorate and agonistic references is very complex and not
fully understood by most numismatists. It is, however, a wonderful area for
study, research and discovery. You may learn more about the interrelationships
between these aspects of religion, civic administration and public events, and
then we will undoubtedly be able to unravel some of the underlying symbology.
Alexander III of
Macedon, popularly known to history as Alexander the Great,
Aléxandros") was an
Ancient Greek king (basileus)
Macedon. Born in 356 BC, Alexander succeeded
Philip II of Macedon to the throne in 336 BC,
and died in
Bablyon in 323 BC at the age of 32.
Alexander was one of the most successful military commanders
of all time and it is presumed that he was undefeated in battle. By the time of
his death, he had conquered the
Achaemenid Persian Empire, adding it to
Macedon's European territories; according to some modern writers, this was much
of the world then known to the ancient Greeks (the 'Ecumene').
His father, Philip, had unified most of the
city-states of mainland Greece under Macedonian
hegemony in the
League of Corinth. As well as inheriting
hegemony over the Greeks, Alexander also inherited the Greeks' long-running feud
Achaemenid Empire of
Persia. After reconfirming Macedonian rule by
quashing a rebellion of southern Greek city-states, Alexander launched a short
but successful campaign against Macedon's northern neighbours. He was then able
to turn his attention towards the east and the Persians. In a
series of campaigns lasting 10 years,
Alexander's armies repeatedly defeated the Persians in battle, in the process
conquering the entirety of the Empire. He then, following his desire to reach
the 'ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea', invaded India, but was
eventually forced to turn back by the near-mutiny of his troops.
Alexander died after twelve years of constant military
campaigning, possibly a result of
typhoid fever, viral
encephalitis or the consequences of alcoholism.
His legacy and conquests lived on long after him and ushered in centuries of
Greek settlement and cultural influence over distant areas. This period is known
Hellenistic period, which featured a
Middle Eastern and
Indian culture. Alexander himself featured
prominently in the history and myth of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. His
exploits inspired a literary tradition in which he appeared as a legendary
hero in the tradition of
Alexander fighting Persian king Darius III. From Alexander
Mosaic, from Pompeii, Naples, Naples National