Overview of the Battle at Issus (November 333 B.C.)

Alexander the Great fought the Battle at Issus soon after the Battle at the Granicus. Like his father Philip, the glory-seeking Alexander aimed to conquer the Persian Empire. Although greatly outnumbered, Alexander was a better tactician. The battle was bloody, Alexander suffered a thigh wound, and the Pinarus River was said to have run red with blood. Despite injury and the steep cost in human lives, Alexander won the Battle at Issus.

Alexander's Opponents
After the recent Battle at the Granicus, Memnon was given command of all Persian forces in Asia Minor. Had the Persians followed his advice at Granicus, they might have won and stopped Alexander in time. In "Upset at Issus" (Military History Magazine), Harry J. Maihafer says Memnon was not only astute militarily, but doled out bribes. A Greek, Memnon almost persuaded Sparta to back him. As Greeks, the Spartans should have been expected to support Alexander, but not all Greeks preferred rule by Alexander to rule by the king of Persia. Macedonia was still Greece's conqueror. Because of mixed Greek sympathies, Alexander hesitated to continue his eastward expansion, but then he sliced the Gordian Knot and took the omen as urging him on.

The Persian King
Believing he was on the right track, Alexander pressed on his Persian campaign. A problem emerged: Alexander learned he had come to the attention of the Persian king. King Darius III was at Babylon, moving towards Alexander, from his capital at Susa, and gathering troops en route. Alexander, on the other hand, was losing them: he may have had as few as 30,000 men.

Alexander became seriously ill at Tarsus, a city in Cilicia that would later become the capital of that Roman province. While recovering, Alexander sent Parmenio to capture the harbor town of Issus and watch for Darius' approach into Cilicia with his perhaps 100,000 men. [Ancient sources say the Persian army had many more.]

Faulty Intelligence
When Alexander recovered sufficiently, he rode to Issus, deposited the sick and wounded, and traveled on. Meanwhile Darius' troops gathered in the plains east of the Amanus Mountains. Alexander led some of his troops to the Syrian Gates, where he expected Darius to pass, but his intelligence was flawed: Darius marched across another pass, to Issus. There the Persians mutilated and captured the debilitated people Alexander had left behind. Worse, Alexander was cut off from most of his troops.

Darius crossed the mountain range by what are called the Amanic Gates, and advancing towards Issus, came without being noticed to the rear of Alexander. Having reached Issus, he captured as many of the Macedonians as had been left behind there on account of illness. These he cruelly mutilated and slew. Next day he proceeded to the river Pinarus.
Arrian Major Battles of Alexander's Asian Campaigns

Battle Prep
Alexander quickly led the men who had traveled with him back to the main body of the Macedonians and sent out scouting horsemen to learn exactly what Darius was up to. At the reunion, Alexander rallied his troops and prepared for battle the following morning. Alexander went to a mountain top to offer sacrifices to the presiding gods, according to Curtius Rufus. Darius' enormous army was on the other side of the Pinarus River, stretched from Mediterranean Sea to foothills in an area too narrow to give advantage to his numbers:

...and that the deity was acting the part of general on their behalf better than himself, by putting it into the mind of Darius to move his forces from the spacious plain and shut them up in a narrow place, where there was suffficient room for themselves to deepen their phalanx by marching from front to rear, but where their vast multitude would be useless to the enemy in the battle.

Arrian Major Battles of Alexander's Asian Campaigns

Parmenio was in charge of the those of Alexander's troops deployed to the sea side of the battle line. He was enjoined not to let the Persians get around them, but to bend back, if necessary, and stick to the sea.

First, upon the right wing near the mountain he placed his infantry guard and the shield-bearers, under the command of Nicanor, son of Parmenio; next to these the regiment of Coenus, and close to them that of Perdiccas. These troops were posted as far as the middle of the heavy-armed infantry to one beginning from the right. On the left wing first stood the regiment of Amyntas, then that of Ptolemy, and close to this that of Meleager. The infantry on the left had been placed under the command of Craterus; but Parmenio held the chief direction of the whole left wing. This general had been ordered not to abandon the sea, so that they might not be surrounded by the foreigners, who were likely to outflank them on all sides by their superior numbers.
Arrian Major Battles of Alexander's Asian Campaigns

Alexander stretched his troops parallel to the Persian forces:

Fortune was not kinder to Alexander in the choice of the ground, than he was careful to improve it to his advantage. For being much inferior in numbers, so far from allowing himself to be outflanked, he stretched his right wing much further out than the left wing of his enemies, and fighting there himself in the very foremost ranks, put the barbarians to flight.
Plutarch Life of Alexander

Alexander's Companion Cavalry headed across the river where they faced the Greek mercenary forces, veterans and some of the best of the Persian army. The mercenaries saw an opening in Alexander's line and rushed in. Alexander moved to gain the Persian's flank. This meant the mercenaries needed to fight in two places at once, which they couldn't do, and so the battle tide soon turned. When Alexander spotted the royal chariot, his men raced towards it. The Persian king fled, followed by others. The Macedonians tried, but were unable to overtake the Persian king.

At Issus, Alexander's men rewarded themselves richly with Persian loot. Darius' women at Issus were frightened. At best they could expect to become the concubine of a high status Greek. Alexander reassured them. He told them not only was Darius still alive, but they would be kept safe and honored. Alexander kept his word and has been honored for this treatment of the women in Darius' family.

* Alexander won because of strategy
* He was important enough for the Great King of Persia to notice
* King Darius not only lost, but fled
* Alexander showed nobility in his treatment of the royal women
* Military payroll problem solved with plunder
* Alexander expanded his empire.

Motives of Alexander the Great

In From Alexander to Cleopatra, Michael Grant says Alexander's motives were

* to show that as a Macedonian he was better than the Greeks
* to surpass his father
* to fulfill his father's desire for vengeance against Persia.

Archontiko dig bears witness to rich warrior society

A fresh trove of ancient evidence attesting to the long, rich history of the region of Pella in northern Greece has been uncovered during recent archaeological excavations at the vast cemetery site of Archontiko, Pella.

Archaeologists Anastasia and Pavlos Chrysostomou, of the 17th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, report that another 37 burials dating from the late Iron Age to the early Hellenistic period (circa 650-280 BC) have been exposed during the 2010 season, according to a statement released by the Culture Ministry on September 20, 2010.

Investigation of the 20-hectare cemetery site, located 5 km west of Classical-Hellenistic Pella -- the capital of ancient Macedonia from circa 410 BC, has been ongoing since at least the summer of 2000, when the first warrior burials containing gold-decorated armor, weapons, and many other high-status funerary gifts were discovered. To date, with only about 5 percent of the site excavated, a total of 1,004 graves have already been found, including 259 from the Late Iron Age, 475 from the Archaic period, 262 from Classical and early Hellenistic times, and eight of unknown date.

Archontiko contains the cremated and inhumed remains of men, women and children buried with diverse collections of grave goods that indicate Macedonian culture had already attained a high level of development some two centuries before the time of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great.

Of the latest 37 graves to be opened, six belong to the Late Iron Age (circa 650-580 BC) and contained a variety of ceramic vases and metal objects. Thirty-one burials date to the Classical and Hellenistic periods (5th-3rd century BC). Sixteen of these graves belonged to well-to-do Macedonian men and women buried with distinctive assemblages of personal and precious items. Men were laid to rest with iron weapons (spearheads and knives), metal jewelry (fibulae, rings), gilded bronze wreaths of myrtle, iron strigils, bronze coins and ceramic vessels. Women were buried with metal jewelry (earrings, mouth coverings, necklaces, fibulae, buckles, rings), gilded bronze wreaths of myrtle, bronze coins, glass and ceramic vessels, ceramic busts and figurines, and knucklebones. Women of particularly high status had their graves adorned with iron knives, metal jewelry (diadem strips, mouth coverings, earrings, fibulae, rings, bracelets), amber beads, ceramic figurines and busts, and especially bronze, ceramic, faience and glass vessels. The remains of one young female, who had been cremated, were discovered in a ceramic box (pyxis) beside gold, silver and iron jewelry, a gold mouthpiece, and a unique miniature glass amphora intended for perfume.

Particularly remarkable are the graves of nine male warriors, including one that dates to circa 650 BC. This dead man, buried in a manner worthy of a celebrated hero, was interred with a bronze helmet adorned with gold strips; iron weapons (a sword with a gold-covered handle, two spearheads, four knives); a golden ring; a golden mouthpiece; gold hand coverings decorated with impressed spirals and gorgons; gold shoe covers decorated with golden strands; gold strips that once adorned the funeral shroud; three iron fibulae (one with gold on its head); iron models of a two-wheeled farm cart, furniture and roasting spits; and numerous other objects including molded ceramic vessels that depict a ram and a seated figure of Hades. With the excavators noting that this latest ceremonial helmet is the 404th helmet to have been found at Archontiko in Pella, it seems the site still has many secrets and rich details to tell about ancient Macedonian life and death.

Newspaper Kathimerini

Greeks and Macedonians by E. Badian 04

That these facts (fortunately for us) can be documented, for the period just after Alexander's death, by a late but reliable source is variously helpful to the historian. First, it throws much-needed light on the difficulties that Greeks had in commanding Macedonian infantry. Philip II, we remember, is not known to have employed any. Presumably, the first-generation Greek immigrants into his cities had not learned the language. Ambiance, however, is notorious for the trouble he repeatedly had in getting Macedonian infantry to fight for him, even though he was one of the ablest of the Successors. We can now see that his disability was not only his Greek birth, as has always been realized, but the simple fact that he could not directly communicate with Macedonian soldiers. His alien culture and provenance were not only obvious in an accent: it was a matter of language. In the end, he therefore lost his bid for power and his life. We also learn--and this is where this discussion started--that although Alexander's Greek companions (or at least some of them) did know the language, having come to Macedonia at an early age, Alexander never tried to impose Greek on his Macedonian infantry or to integrate it with Greek units or Greek "foreign" individuals.

Above all, however, this helps to explain how, half a generation after Philip's revival of the Macedonian king's claim to eminent Greek descent had been accepted at Olympia and his efforts to integrate his court had been bearing fruit, Greek opponents could still call not only the Macedonian people, but the king himself, "barbarian." In this respect, nothing had changed since the days of Archelaus. The term is in fact more than once used of Philip by Demosthenes, most notably in two passages. In one, in the Third Olynthiac (3.24), he claims that a century ago "the king then in power in the country was the subject [of our ancestors], as a barbarian ought to be to Greeks." In the second, a long tirade in the Third Philippic (9.30 f.) , he claims that suffering inflicted on Greeks by Greeks is at least easier to bear than that now inflicted by Philip, "who is not only not a Greek and has nothing to do with Greeks, but is not even a barbarian from a place it would be honorable to name--a cursed Macedonian, who comes from where it used to be impossible even to buy a decent slave." This, of course, is simple abuse. It may have nothing to do with historical fact, any more than the orators' tirades against their personal enemies usually have. But as I have tried to make clear, we are not concerned with historical fact as such; we are concerned only with sentiment, which is itself historical fact and must be taken seriously as such. In these tirades we find not only the Hellenic descent of the Macedonain people (which few seriously accepted) totally denied, but even that of the king. It is not even mentioned merely in order to be rejected: the rejection is taken as a matter of course. Now, the orator clearly could not do this, if his audience was likely to regard his claim as plain nonsense: it could not be said of a Theban, or even of a Thessalian. The polite acceptance of the Macedonian kings as Hellenes ruling a barbarian nation was still not totally secure: one would presumably divide over it on irrational grounds, according to party and personal sentiment--as so many of us still divide, over issues that are inherently more amenable to rational treatment.

As regards the Macedonian nation as a whole, there was (as far as we can see) no division. They were regarded as clearly barbarian, despite the various myths that had at various times issued from the court and its Greek adherents, perhaps ever since the time of Alexander I, and demonstrably ever since the time of Perdiccas II. This comes out most clearly in a well known passage by one of Philip's main supporters, the apostle of panhellenism, Isocrates. The passage is so important that it must be quoted in full in a note. Some time not long after the Peace of Philocrates, the orator congratulates Philip on the fact that his ancestor, had not attempted to become a tyrant in his native city (i.e., Argos), but "leaving the area of Greece entirely," had decided to seize the kingship over Macedon. This, explains Isocrates, shows that he understood that essential difference between Greeks and non-Greeks: that Greeks cannot submit to the rule of a monarch, live without it. It was this peculiar insight that enabled Philip's ancestor to found a firmly established dynasty over a "people of non-kindred race." He is described (with pardonable exaggeration, for it is unlikely that Isocrates was deliberately contradicting similar claims by other dynasties that had by then arisen: see above) as the only Greek who had ever done so.

Whether Philip was entirely happy about this we cannot know. As we have seen, he had made every effort to reconcile and integrate Greeks the Macedonians. But the passage provides the necessary background to the fact that even Philip had not tried to pass off his Macedonians as Greek and had been perfectly content to accept membership of the Delphic Amphictyony as a personal gift, just as, in due course, he never tried to make his Macedonians members of the Hellenic League. Meanwhile, he was hoping to leave the final settlement of the problem to the future: alexander was to prepare the way for fuller integration than could at present be attempted or claimed. We have no idea of what Macedonians, on the other side of this fence, thought of this whole issue: no Macedonian oratory survives, since the language was never a literary one. But that the feeling of a major difference (obviously, the Macedonians"), of their being "peoples of non-kindred race," existed on both sides is very probable. for one thing, the language barrier would keep it alive, even though the literary language of educated Macedonians could only be Greek. That fact was as irrelevant to ordinary people (and perhaps even to those above the ordinary level) as was the Hellenic cultural polish of the Macedonian upper class that has been revealed to us in recent years. The artistic and cultural koine of much of eighteenth-century europe was French; indeed, upper class German ladies might confess that it was the only language they could write. Yet not all of them, by any means, were even Francophile, and none of them felt that they were French. The reaction to a Greek "court philosopher,' or perhaps--if we can believe at least the outline of the story--the anger of Clitus: these help to document feelings in the very class that, as we now know, was culturally conspicuous for Hellenism. But like many prejudices, these feelings of antagonism are most clearly seen among ordinary people--whether the Athenians who applauded Demosthenes' tirades or ordinary Macedonian soldiers; and not only those who deserted Ambiance.

Alexander himself, with that basic tact that (at times surprisingly) links him to his father, had not tried to force military integration on his Greeks and Macedonians. both were useful to him as they were. Having monopolized the market in Greek mercenaries, he forced them to settle in the northeastern frontier region of the empire, in a ring of colonies that was to ensure its military safety. Even before his death, when he had disappeared into India and there were apparently rumours circulating that he would never return, some of the conscripts in those colonies started on the long migration home, and at least some of those who did were successful. As soon as he was safely dead, many thousands of them banded together for the long march back, through areas held by hostile Macedonians and inhabited by natives perhaps equally hostile to both. Of course, this movement had little to do with national antagonism on the mercenaries' side. It was a revolt against Alexander's despotism, which in the instance had happened to be aimed at Greeks. The fact that in the final battle a large contingent betrayed their comrades and deserted to the Macedonians shows that (as centuries before in the battle of Lade) national antagonism was by no means pervasive, and was perhaps not at all prominent. However, a Macedonian army under Pithon did defeat the rebels. Pithon, no doubt recognizing their immense value for the empire as a whole, persuade them to go back to their posts, assuring them personal safety in return. Yet, contrary to his oath, seventeen thousand Greeks were cut down, after surrendering their arms, by the enraged Macedonians, and Pithon could not stop them. The patent needs of the empire and the oath of their commander were swallowed up in the explosion of what we can only regard as the men's irrational hatred for their Greek enemies. The effect of the massacre on the later history of the region cannot be assessed; but it must have been considerable. The rebellion at the eastern extreme of the empire thus helps us document Macedonian antagonism toward Greeks. Correspondingly, rebellion at the other end documents Greek feeling about the Macedonians. Perhaps rebellion had been brewing even before. but it was in any case the immediate result of Alexander's disappearance. Once more Athens rallied the Greeks to freedom, and once more she found many followers. The war, known to us (and to some ancient sources) as the Lamian War, was described by it protagonists as "the Hellenic War." The term speaks for itself, at least concerning the feelings of those who used it. In a wider Greek theater, where love of Greek freedom was not easily given up, and where (just as in earlier) despotism was still equated with barbarian rule, the spirit we find in Demosthenes' oratories was thus confirmed.

In fact, these two rebellions at the two extremes of the empire were the only ones for a long time. It was (significantly) only Greeks, whether professional soldiers or mere Greek citizens, who showed enough spirit to challenge what they felt to be the foreign domination. But that they in fact did so shows that at this time the gap between Greeks and Macedonians was by no means bridged. The work of the Argead kings who had long tried to work toward bridging it, and the work of Alexander who was himself the result of the long process (though, as we saw, he did not try to force it on beyond what was acceptable), was to take perhaps another century to reach fruition. Perhaps it was not fully completed until both parties became conscious of their unity, as it had by then developed, in contrast to a conqueror from the barbarian West.


Greeks and Macedonians by E. Badian 03

Alexander, in fact, was to be the living symbol of the integration of Greeks and Macedonians, embodying its perfection. Unlike any of his predecessors. Philip seems to have planned far ahead. The integration of his court was a sample of what would some day come, led (he hoped) by his son--who, we ought perhaps to remember, had been born at the very time of Philip's Olympic victory. What Aristotle taught Alexander, we do not know and probably never shall. The facts were soon overlaid with historical romance, as it turned out (and it could certainly not be foreseen at the time) that the greatest philosopher of the ancient world had taught its greatest king. Romantic speculation must be resisted. In fact, were it not attested, there would be nothing in the future career of either man to enable us to guess the association, although it would be clear enough that Alexander had an excellent Greek teacher. They must have read the classics, like Herodotus and Xenophon. Above all, however, Aristotle inspired the prince with a love of Greek literature, especially poetry, and with the ideal of emulating the Homeric heroes. Aristotle or Aristotle's relative Callisthenes presented him with a text of Homer, which (we are told) Alexander later put in a valuable casket found among the spoils of Darius. Characteristically, he is said to have kept it under his pillow at night, next to his dagger. Characteristically: for alexander, despite his thorough Greek education and obviously genuine interest in Greek literature, was nevertheless a Macedonian king. romance about the "Idyll of Mieza" (in Wilcken's famous phrase) has tended to obscure the obvious fact that Alexander's contact with Aristotle was not the sole educational experience he had between the ages of thirteen and fifteen. It must inevitably have been during that time that he acquired the more obvious skills essential to a Macedonian king: skills physical, administrative, and political. It was presumable only to a small extent aristotle's political theory (if he got so far as to study it) that enabled Alexander, at the age of fifteen to sixteen, to act as regent of Macedon in Philip's absence and(necessarily with the help of experienced advisers, but nonetheless in his own name) to win a major victory; though when, with Philip's permission, he founded a colony and named it after himself, his teacher wrote a treatise for him on how to do it. throughout, Greek culture and Macedonian reality must have proceeded alongside each other. That, indeed, was the point

Alexander grew up in a circle that included Greek and Macedonian friends. Our best evidence on his early friends comes in the list of those exiled after the Pixodarus affair. We have the names of two Macedonian nobles and of three Greeks who had settled in Philip's refounded Amphipolis. The point is variously noteworthy. First, although(as we have seen) Philip seems to have made no social distinction between Greeks and Macedonians among his hetairoi, Greeks never commanded his armies. As we shall see, it would have involved technical difficulties and might have caused resentment among the Macedonian soldiers. Alexander, right from the start, entrusted commands to his Greek friends. Indeed, Erigyius received an important cavalry command in the first winter of the expedition and, when he died in 327 after a distinguished career, is described by Curtius as "one of the renowned commanders." Nearchus, another of these Greeks, ultimately rose to even greater fame, enhanced by the fact that he could also write. Promotion, though naturally helped by personal contact with Alexander and services to him, depended more on talent than on nationality. What is also worth noting is that these Greeks, of various origins, had become "Macedonians from Amphipolis." We have no detailed knowledge of Philip's administration, but it is clear that annexed Greek cities, including those founded by himself, counted as parts of the Macedonian kingdom, not (like those of the Hellenic League) as allies. That, indeed, was why they had not become members of the Hellenic League. Yet, while Macedonian subjects of the king, they nonetheless retained some sort of civic identity which put them on a level with (most obviously) the districts of Orestis or Eordaea within old Macedonia. Whatever it was, it was political masterstroke, for which Philip should receive due credit. There is no trace of it among any of his predecessors, and it foreshadows what was to become characteristic, centuries later, of the cities of the Roman Empire. It is also clear that these cities had attracted able and adventurous Greeks from the less prosperous parts of the Greek world as settlers. And some of them (a very select body) moved on to Pella, to become royal hetairoi. To these Greeks, the question of whether to regard Macedonians as Greeks or as barbarians would have been simply irrelevant.

It was perhaps far more relevant to a rather important class of Greeks who must not be omitted in any discussion such as this: Greek mercenaries. At the beginning of his campaign, Alexander had very few Greek mercenaries: he could not afford many and, at that point, did not need many. The Persian King, on the other hand, seems to have had a large number. Alexander's first contact with them was at the Granicus: those who were captured were sent to forced labour in the Macedonian mines, as traitors to the cause of Hellas. Clearly, this piece of terrorism, comparable with the destruction of Thebes, was intended pour encourager les autres. It turned out to be a mistake. Not only did Greek cities ask to have their citizens back (not, it seems, frightened into acquiescence by the implication that they were supporting or condoning treason), but the effect on the King's mercenary forces was the opposite of what had been intended. Seeing no hope in surrender, they prepared to fight to the death - as Alexander soon found out. Once he did, the policy was as quietly dropped as it had been flamboyantly started. To obtain their surrender he was happy to promise them safety.

Once the new policy had been established, fear for their own fate no longer guided the mercenaries' actions. their true feelings can now be seen and assessed. After the battle of Issus, eight thousand of them refused to surrender, made their way down to the coast, and escaped by sea. We are not concerned with the details of their later fate, conflictingly related in our poor sources, except to note that they all fought against Macedon again when they had the chance. But the mercenaries (not many of them) who fought in the Persian ranks at Gaugamela seem to have escaped and remained with Darius. In fact, they remained loyal almost to the end, and when Bessus could not be stopped, joined Artabazus in preparations to continue the war in the mountains. It was only when Artabazus himself surrendered, in exchange for very honorable treatment, that they had to give up. Alexander seems to have used the occasion for another resounding sermon on collaboration with the national enemy, but when they surrendered, he in fact treated them well, releasing those who had been in the Persian service since before war was declared on Persia and merely thanking those who had joined the Persians since (i.e., the real "traitors") into his own service.

Of course, it must by no means be thought that all Greek mercenaries hated Alexander: by the time these events were concluded, he himself had enrolled far more Greek mercenaries himself than were by now fighting against him. But the loyalty of those Greeks to Darius is nonetheless striking, both because it illustrates the persistent division of opinion among Greeks about the Macedonian conquest and the fact that some continued to prefer Persian barbarians to acquiescence in the conquest, and (although this is not relevant to us here) because it throws unexpected light on the character of Darius III, as at least some men saw it. As for Alexander, not that he was the only possible employer for their labour, his relations with Greek mercenaries continued to be uneasy. We shall come back to them.

As we have seen, it was Alexander who in himself symbolized and who ultimately inherited, Philip's policy of integrating Greeks and Macedonians. Indeed, it is probably not fanciful to suggest that this may be remotely connected with his own later policy of attempting a limited integration of Greeks and Macedonians with Iranians: the famous "policy of fusion." That policy, as is well known, aroused anger and resistance among the Macedonian forces near the end of Alexander's life. Yet after politic concessions he persisted, and at the very end of his life he is even reported to have initiated a rather mysterious military reform, which combined Macedonians and Persians in small tactical units on a permanent basis. In the light of this it is particularly interesting to notice that he never - either before or at the time - tried to integrate Greeks into the Macedonian units that were his best military asset, either in the tactical or in the emotional sphere, while at the very end, both for tactical and for political reasons, integration of Macedonians and Iranians was important, while integration of Greeks with either was not.

The fact as such, however, seems quite certain and has really been known for a long time, although it has not always been adequately noted. It is worth documenting once more, without reference to various late sources on the history of Alexander, where the evidence on the point is not worth much. Unfortunately these sources have at times been irresponsibly used in this context, and this has obscured the issue and the facts. Alexander himself, as we have seen, like any first-generation product of integration, in a way stood between two worlds not yet perfectly merged, rather than in a world that could be regarded as unified and Greek. Conflicts between the Greek and Macedonian elements occasionally emerge, especially where, in our sources, conflicts between actual Greeks and Macedonians are allowed to appear: thus most prominently, at the banquet that led to the death of Clitus, where Alexander, according to our tradition, sided with his Greek courtiers against his Macedonian officers and denigrated Macedonians as such in comparison with Greeks. At least the outline of that story must be believed, since the killing of Clitus did occur, as a result of a drunken altercation: that part is made clear by the official account, which used the fact to ascribe the event to the wrath of an accidentally neglected god. Although the end is variously told, and at least one of the versions is clearly distorted in the interests of exculpation, in the development of the quarrel we not only do not get alternatives, but it is hard to conceive of it as having been essentially different from what is described. However, although the whole of the argument had turned to a comparison of Greeks and Macedonians, with Alexander favouring the former, at the end he is said to have called for his guards in Macedonian when he felt his life threatened. It has often been argued that this was a reversion to a more primitive part of his psyche, under stress. This could be taken as overpowering his expressed intellectual preference for the Greeks, i.e., the Greek part of his own nature.

But the answer is probably simpler than that. He used the only language in which his guards could be addressed. an interesting papyrus fragment, known for some time, seems to be the only good source to reveal the fact. It tells of a battle, early in 321 B.C., in which the Greek Ambiance, with cavalry and light arms only, faced the Macedonain noble Neoptolemus with his Macedonian phalanx. Wanting to aoid battle and, if possible, to take over the opposing infantry rather than fight them, he set out to convince them of the hopelessness of their position - successfully, as we can gather elsewhere, though our fragment breaks off before we see the outcome. I quote the part that is of interest for our problem:

"When Eumenues saw the close-locked formation of the Macedonian phalanx ..., he sent Xennias once more, a man whose speech was Macedonian, biding him declare that he would not fight them frontally but would follow them with his cavalry and units of light troops and bar them from provisions.

Now, Xennias' name at once shows him to be a Macedonian. Since he was in Ambiance' entourage, he was presumably a Macedonian of superior status, who spoke both standard Greek and his native language. He was the man who could be trusted to transmit Ambiance' message. This clearly shows that the phalanx had to be addressed in Macedonian, if one wanted to be sure (as Ambiance certainly did) that they would understand. And--almost equally interesting-- he did not address them himself, as he and other commanders normally addressed soldiers who understood them, nor did he send a Greek. The suggestion is surely that Macedonian was the language of the infantry and that Greek was a difficult, indeed a foreign, tongue to them. We may thus take it as certain that, when Alexander used Macedonian in addressing his guards, that too was because it was their normal language, and because (like Ambiance) he had to be sure he would be understood. We may also take it as certain that educated Greeks did not speak the language, unless(presumably) they had grown up with Macedonians and had learned it, as some of Alexander's Greek companions clearly must have.


Greeks and Macedonians by E. Badian 02

As a matter of fact, there is reason to think that at least some even among Alexander I's friends and supporters had regarded the Olympic decision as political rather than factual--as a reward for services to the Hellenic cause rather than as prompted by genuine belief in the evidence he had adduced. We find him described in the lexicographers, who go back to fourth-century sources, as "Philhellen"--surely not an appellation that could be given to an actual Greek. No king recognized as Greek, to my knowledge, was ever referred to by that epithet. On the other hand, the epithet cannot come from his enemies; they(surely) would have had other tales to tell: of what he had done when the Mede came and before, perhaps. It may be, therefore, that we can trace a tradition that interpreted the decision on his Temenid descent as political gesture back to at least some of Alexander's own Greek friends. Once we notice this, it becomes even less surprising that, as far as we know, his successor Perdiccas did not tempt fate and the judges again, and that the next king, Archelaus, may have run into trouble when he did. Of course, as is well known, the claim to Hellenic descent is, as such, neither isolated nor even uncommon. It is perhaps the earliest we know of. And no other monarch had the imaginative boldness of Alexander I in having it authenticated, at the right political moment, by the most competent authority in Hellas. (Perhaps no other monarch ever found such an opportunity.) But by the fourth century, certainly, the rulers of Macedonian Lyncestis prided themselves on descent from the Corinthian Bacchiads--a royal dynasty fully comparable with the Temenid claims of their rivals at Aegae. The kings of the Molossi (another people not regarded as fully Hellenic) were descended from Achilles himself via Pyrrhus son of Neoptolemus: their very names proved it. And if not fully Hellenic, then at least equally ancient and connected with Greek myth. The distant Enchelei in Illyria were ruled by descendants of Cadmus and Harmonia, not unknown in the heart of Greece itself.

Whether aristocratic families in Italy and Sicily were at this time also claiming descent from Greek heroes or if not Greek, at least Trojan does not at present seem possible to discover. We have no literature or "family" art going back to such an early period. On the other hand, it is known and uncontested that, long before the fifth century, Sicilian and Italian tribes and peoples were linked by Greek speculation, and had learned to link themselves, to Greeks or Trojans. The two were by no means clearly distinguished at the time, but conferred common legitimacy and antiquity as properly Homeric. Odysseus as Ktistes seems in fact to have preceded Aeneas, at least in central Italy. This makes it very likely (one would think) that the ruling families of the peoples concerned took their own descent back to the mythical ancestor, thus legitimizing their rule. If so, they would precede Alexander I by several generations. This, as I have had to admit, remains speculation, since relevant evidence is simply unknown. But what we do thus attain is a certain and extensive cultural background to the claim of the Greek origin of the Macedonian people (as distinct form the kings). That claim,.too first appears in Herodotus. It makes the original Macedonians identical with the original Dorians. When it first arose, we cannot tell. It is almost certainly later than the royal lineage, in support of his own contention. Yet in Herodotus it appears as a separate issue, and it is clear that (by his day, at any rate) it had never been submitted to the judgment of the Hellanodikai, presumably because supporting material could not be found and (as we have seen) Macedonian influence at Olympia was never again such as to make acceptance of this much wider claim probable. Certainly, no Macedonian appears on the lists of Olympic victors that have survived (a fair proportion of the whole)until well into the reign of Alexander the Great. Yet one would have thought that Macedonian barons, who thought highly of physical prowess and who certainly had the resources needed, would have been able to win one of the personal contests, or at least a chariot race--a feat that, by some time early in the fourth century, even a Spartan lady could perform. As we have seen, by the end of the fifth century counter-Olympics had been established in Macedon, and Macedonians were free to indulge their competitive ambitions without undergoing the scrutiny of the Hellanodikai. We may confidently assert that the claim to Hellenic descent, as far as the Macedonians as a whole were concerned, was not officially adjudicated for generations after Herodotus and Thucydides.

The origin of this claim (as an unofficial myth) can be dated to some time between the admission of Alexander I and the middle of the century (when Herodotus must have picked it up: i.e., it presumably does still go back to Alexander I himself) and , as I have already implied, may be looked for in the search for further support for the authenticity of the king's own Hellenism, which was (as scrutiny of the scant evidence has suggested) not entirely un-debated. Like the principal issue itself, it soon developed further. By the time of the Caranus myth (noted above) it had been supplemented by an actual migration of Peloponnesians. This was clearly a more specific event than a claim (to identity with the Dorians) that might arouse both disbelief and even opposition; and it fits in well with the way in which "ancient history" was conceived of in the case of most peoples in the Graeco-Roman world--all but the few who, like the Athenians, laid claim to being(within limits that had to recognized)"autochthonous." The claim to Greek origin of the Macedonians as a people, therefore, can be seen arising and developing within the fifth and possibly early fourth centuries, at a time when similar claims were familiar and indeed commonplace in the West. In fact, the historian Hellanicus, at some time later in the fifth century, seems to be the earliest literary source that makes Aeneas the founder of Rome. The first half(approximately) of the fourth century was a sorry time for Macedonia. Between the assassination of Archelaus about 400 B.C. and the accession of Philip II, the gains of the able and long lived kings of the fifth century seem to have been largely lost, and Macedon was weakened by civil war and foreign invasion to the point where, by 359, the kingdom seemed close to disintegration. Philip's mother and her intrigues (whatever the truth about that obscure and much-expanded topic) had not improved matters. When Philip's brother and predecessor Perdiccass III was killed in a military disaster in Illyria, Philip (who took over, whether or not as protector of Perdiccas' young son) was faced by several pretenders, each supported by a foreign power. That had been the pattern in several changes of monarch in the Argead kingdom. In this as in other respects, Philip's achievement deserves to receive full justice.

During the long-drawn-out anarchy and regression, the Macedonian claim to "Hellenism" cannot be expected to have made much progress. As we have seen, no Macedonian (king,baron,or commoner) appears in the Olympic victor lists. Nor do we find the Macedonian people ever regarded as a political entity, transacting business with Greek states. It is the kings that make alliances and (at least on one attested occasion) take part in panhellenic congresses. The Macedonians as such do not appear, any more than, for example, the Persians or the Thracians do. We have to wait until the time of Antigonus Doson, it seems, before the Macedonians are attested as a people in the political sense. This in itself, of course, may not be relevant to the issue of their presumed "Hellenism," any more than the king's presence at a congress was to his. For obvious reasons, congresses were political meetings, and attendance at them would be ruled by political needs and convenience. The king of Macedon would be asked to send representatives, just as the king of Persia did, when the Greek states though this desirable or even when he himself did. There is no record of tests by Hellanodikai at such meetings. It does, however, show that for political purposes no difference was seen between Macedonians and (say) Thracians and Persians, i.e., other nations under monarchical rule. This may have been a contributing factor in unwillingness to recognize Macedonians as Greek. Whatever the truth(and I repeat that I am not concerned with the issue of fact), they would easily be assimilated to barbarians, and it seems that indeed they were. It is well known that, when Philip II, after winning the Sacred War, was rewarded by Apollo with the places of the defeated Phocians on the Amphictyonic Council, the seats went to him personally. His representatives are Philip's men; they have nothing to do with the Macedonians. There is no question here, as there might be in the case on international relations, of his acting as the empowered ruler of his people. He is acting in his own behalf, just as 130 years earlier Alexander I had acted at Olympia. A claim for admission of "the Macedonians" to the Amphictyony would have been much harder to enforce. Philip was far too good a diplomat to advance it.

We have seen that earlier Macedonian kings had been "philhellenic" and had attracted and patronized Greek culture. The precise results of this within Macedonia cannot at present be documented. It is to be supposed that such outstanding works as Zeuxis' paintings on the walls of the royal palace had some effect on the tradition (obviously a long one) that we have now seen exemplified in the Macedonian tomb paintings. But the missing links have not yet been found. It is to be hoped that they will be. However, if there ever was any really deep penetration even into the circle of the court and the nobility, that presumably regressed in the first half of the fourth century. It is only with Perdiccas III that we for the first time find a demonstrably genuine attachment to an aspect of Greek culture: in this instance, philosophy. We are told extravagant tales of his expecting his nobles to share those interests, and of his excluding from his company (and that may mean from the very title of hetairoi) any that did not conform. At any rate, he had links with the Academy and appointed what appears to have been a court philosopher from that school, Euphraeus of Oreos. The stories we have about him and his influence are overlaid with later amplification, and the fats in any case do not matter here. but as has been rightly observed, the demonstrably false and tendentious account of his death as due to the nobles revenge may be taken as attesting their hatred for him and his influence. Philip himself learned his lesson if he needed to: he cannot be shown to have had any cultural interest himself,a s his brother(and later his son) did. But he certainly lost no time in reinstating the Macedonian king's claim to Temenid descent as a practical matter. We have no Herodotus to tell the details. (Perhaps Theopompus did, but his account is unfortunately lost.) What is certain and it cannot be accident is that for the first time since Archelaus, and for the fist time ever reliably, we hear of a Macedonian victory at Olympia: needless to say, the king's own. And it comes, significantly, at the very first games (356 B.C.) after his accession to power. The story of his victory in the chariot race, which was announced to him at the same time as the birth of a son and one or two military successes, must in its essentials be believed. And since such victories did not come easily or spontaneously, we can see that he had considered the image of the Macedonian monarchy in Greece as important, and as immediately important, as the restoration of Macedonian military power. This, of course, does not mean that he at once developed his plans for winning hegemony over Greece. We have no good evidence on when and how those plans developed, and it would be unrealistic to put them as early as this. But it clearly shows that he had ambitious plans for his relations with the Greek international community: he knew that those relations would be based on actual military strength (of course), but greatly assisted by recognition of his standing as a Temenid and (now) an Olympic victor. Philip was never one to underestimate propaganda and the importance of his image. In the light of our investigation so far, we can trace this trait back to his accession.

In due course, as we know, he did see the opportunities presented by the apparently incurable mutual wars and hatreds of the Greek states. The response of some Greek intellectuals to this (it cannot be shown to have had much effect on practicing politicians, or any at all on ordinary Greeks) had been a call for a Hellenic crusade against the Barbarian in the East. As the hope of having a city-state (Sparta or Athens) lead it faded, they were willing to accept even a monarch as leader in this crusade. Jason of Pherae had been cut off before he could attempt the task. By the time Philip was ready to consider it, the Persian empire was tearing itself to pieces in strapal rebellions; if one could only overcome the first hurdle, the union of the greek states, the rest seemed almost easy. After his victory in the Sacred War, at the latest, his plans seem to have been ready. By 342, he took the first step toward the military goal by invading Thrace in order to make the invasion of Asia strategically possible.

About the same time he invited Aristotle to become the teacher for his son and designated heir Alexander. Apart from all else, the invitation was a political masterstroke. As was brilliantly recognized by Werner Jaeger, it secured for Philip an alliance (secret for the time being, of course) with the philosopher-tyrant Hermias of Atarneus, Aristotle's patron and relative by marriage, who could provide both a bridgehead and connections with other potentially disloyal subjects of the king. It also resumed, after a necessary interruption, the Macedonian king's connection with the Academy; but this time cautiously. The Greeks who mattered would obviously be impressed, but the Macedonian barons need fear no repetition of the Euphracus episode. For one thing, Aristotle was the son of a man who had been court physician to Philip's father. This not only ensured personal loyalty: it meant that he knew the Macedonian court and (we might say) he would know his place. Moreover, it was at once made clear that he was not coming as a court philosopher. He was installed with the young prince in a rustic retreat at a safe distance from the court and the capital. It is to be presumed that Aristotle was as happy to be a Mieza as the courtiers were to see him settled there. At Philip's court, Greeks and Macedonians seem to have been completely integrated: there is no observable social difference among the Hetairoi. But as contemporary observers noted, the social tone was far from lofty, as it had been under Perdiccas. Indeed, Theopompus has left us his famous satirical description, culmination in the epigram that the hetairoi might more suitable have been called hetairai: not courtiers should not be taken too literally. Philip's court was no Bacchic thiasos, nor a collection of runaway criminals. His own success and (under his direction) that of his commanders and diplomats suffices to prove it. But it is clear that it was better for Aristotle to be at Mieza.


Greeks and Macedonians by E. Badian 01

This paper does not propose to bring up the much-debated old question of whether the ancient question of whether the ancient Macedonians "were Greeks." From the anthropological point of view, if suitably reworded, it could no doubt be answered; I suspect that, to the anthropologist, remains found in the areas of ancient Greece, Macedonia, and surrounding parts would not show significant differences. However, this is of no historical importance: no more so than it would have been to point out in the 1930s (as I am told is the fact) that there is little anthropological difference between Jewish communities and the non-Jewish populations among whom they happen to live. From the linguistic point of view, again, if suitably reworded (i.e, "Did the ancient Macedonians speak a form of Ancient Greek?"), the question seems to me at present unanswerable for the period down to Alexander the Great. We so far have no real evidence on the structure of the ancient Macedonian language; only on proper names and (to small extent) on general vocabulary, chiefly nouns. This is not a basis on which to judge linguistic affinities, especially in the context of the ancient Balkan area and its populations.

Let us again look at the Jews-those who in the 1930s were living in Eastern Europe. Their names were Hebrew with a slight admixture of German and Slav elements; their alphabet and their sacred writings were Hebrew. Yet their vocabulary was largely, and the structure of their vernacular language almost entirely, that of a German dialect. As a precious survival of a pronationalist world, they are of special interest in such comparisons. One wonders what scholars would have made of them, if they had been known only through tombstones and sacred objects. In any case, interesting though the precise affinities of ancient Macedonian must be to the linguistic specialist, they are again of very limited interest to the historian. Linguistic facts as such, just like archaeological finds as such, are only some of the pieces in the puzzle that the historian tries to fit together, In this case, unfortunately, as every treatment of the problem nowadays seems to show, discussion has become bedeviled by politics and modern linguistic nationalism: the idea that a nation is essentially defined by a language and that, conversely, a common language mean s a common nationhood--which is patently untrue for the greater part of human history and to a large extent even today. The Kultursprache of ancient Macedonians, as soon as they felt the need for one, was inevitably Greek, as it was in the case of various other ancient peoples. There was no feasible alternative. But as N.G.L. Hammond remarked, in the memorable closing words of volume I of his History of Macedonia, "a means of communications is very far from assuring peaceful relations between two peoples, as we know from our experience of the modern world." It is equally far (we might add) from betokening any consciousness of a common interest.

What is of greater historical interest is the question of how Greeks and Macedonians were perceived by each other. We have now become accustomed to regarding Macedonians as "Northern Greeks" and, in extreme cases, to hearing Alexander's conquest described as in essence Greek conquests. The former certainly became true, in Greek consciousness in the course of the Hellenistic age; the latter may be argued to be true ex post facto. But it is an important question whether these assertions should properly be made in a fourth-century B.C. context. Not that Greeks abstained from ruthless fighting among themselves. But as is well known, there was in the classical period and above all since the great Persian Wars--a consciousness of a common Hellenism that transcended fragmentation and mutual hostility: of a bond that linked those who were "Hellenes" as opposed to those who were "barbarians," and (by the fourth century at any rate) of certain standards of behaviour deemed to apply among the former that did not apply between them and the latter. The question of whether the Macedonians, in the fourth century B.C., where regarded as Greeks or as barbarians--a question which, as I have indicated, is not closely connected with the real affinities that a modern scholar might find--is therefore of considerable historical interest. Of course, any answer we might tentatively give must be one-sided at best. The average Macedonian (as distinct from the royal family and the highest nobility) had left us little evidence of what he thought--or indeed, whether he cared. But on the Greek side, fortunately, there are far more records. An answer can and should be attempted.

There is no evidence whatsoever of any Macedonian claim to a Greek connection before the Persian War of 480-479 B.C. Amyntas I had long before this recognized the suzerainty of Darius I; his daughter had married an Iranian nobleman, and his son Alexander I loyally served his suzerain, continuing to profit by Persian favour and protection, as his father had done. However, being a shrewd politician. Alexander I took care to build bridges toward the Greeks, giving them good advice that would not harm his overlord; and when at Plataea it became clear to anyone who would look that a decisive Greek victory could not be long delayed, he came out in full support of the victors, rendering them services that were appreciated. In fourth-century Athens a record of this appears to have survived-and it is of a certain interest that this great Macedonian king, the first of his line to have serious dealings with the Greeks and a friend of Athens in particular was confused with his successor Perdiccas. In any case, with Persian overlordship gone for good, cooperation with his southern neighbours became an essential aim of policy. It was no doubt at this time, and in connection with his claim to have been a benefactor of the greeks from the beginning, that he invented the story (in its details a common type of myth) of how he had fought against his father's Persian connection by having the Persian ambassadors murdered, and that it was only in order to hush this up and save the royal family's lives that the marriage of his sister to a Persian had been arranged. It was also at this time that he took the culminating step of presenting himself at the Olympic Games and demanding admission as a competitor. (The date is not attested, but 476 the first opportunity after the war, seems a reasonable guess.) In support, he submitted a claim to descent from the Temenids of Argos, which would make him a Greek, and one of the highest extraction. With the claim, inevitably, went a royal genealogy going back for six generations, which(again) we first encounter on this occasion. We have no way of judging the authenticity of either the claim or the evidence that went with it, but it is clear that at the time the decision was not easy. There were outraged protests from the other competitors, who rejected Alexander I as a barbarian--which proves, at the least, that the Temenid descent and the royal genealogy had hitherto been an esoteric item of knowledge. However, the Hellanodikai decided to accept it-- whether moved by the evidence or by political considerations, we again cannot tell. In view of the time and circumstances in which the claim first appears and the objections it encountered, modern scholars have often suspected that it was largely spun out of the fortuitous resemblance of the name of the Argead clan to city of Argos; with this given, the descent (of course) could not be less than royal, i.e., Temenid.

However that may be, Alexander had clearly made a major breakthrough. He seems to have appreciated the Argive connection and cultivated it. Professor Andronikos has suggested that the tripod found in Tomb II at Vergina, which bears an Argive inscription of the middle of the fifth century, was awarded to Alexander I at the Argive Heraea, to which the inscription refers. Moreover, the official decision by the Hellanokikai won wide recognition. We find it recorded in Herodotus, as proof of the Macedonian king's Argive descent, and Thucydides accepts the latter as canonical. As might be expected, it was by no means the only version. Flatterers accepting the pedigree to Temenus himself and by the fourth century we find that a version extending the royal line by several generations, to make it contemporary with Midas(a known historical figure of considerable importance), had won general acceptance, indeed seems to be official; the first king's name is now the very suitable Caranus(Lord). By the time Herodotus picked up the story of the verdict by the Hellanodikai, a graphic detail about Alexander's participation had been added. Unfortunately the meaning of his words is not perfectly clear, but the most plausible interpretation is that alexander in fact tied for first place in the race. In any case, it is clear that Herodotus version comes, directly or ultimately, from the Macedonian court. One might have thought that the historic decision would have encouraged other Macedonian kings to follow Alexander's example. His successors, Perdiccas and Archelaus, certainly continued to be involved in the international relations of the Greek states and patronized Greek culture. Yet we have no evidence of any participation by Perdiccas and only a late and unreliable record of an Olympic victory by Archelaus, which is difficult to accept. With the exception of the single item, no Macedonian king between Alexander I and Philip II is in anyway connected with the Olympic or indeed with any other Greek games. There is not (so far, at any rate; though this may change) even another Argive tripod. Another item deserves comment is this connection. It is said to have been Archelaus (and here the evidence is more reliable) who founded peculiarly Macedonian Olympics at Dium. We might call them counter- Olympics, for everyone know where the real Olympic Games were celebrated. It is possible that Archelaus, trying to revive Alexander's claim at Olympia(and Euripides development of his lineage perhaps was intended as further support), either had difficulties in gaining acceptance or was even rejected, despite the precedent. Such decisions might change with political expediency, and there were certain to be some Greeks who would challenge his qualifications and provide a reason for a new investigation. The suggestion is not based only on the establishment of the counter-Olympics. As it happens, even Euripides manufacture of an older and unimpeachable Temenid descent did not convince everyone. When Archelaus attacked Thessalian Larisa, Thrasymachus wrote what was to become a model oration On Behalf of the Larisaeans. Only one sentence happens to survive: "Shall we be slaves to Archelaus, we, being Greeks, to a barbarian?" Ironically, it is based on a line by Euripides. Now, that is an odd piece of rhetoric, as applied to Archelaus. Its significance is not merely to demonstrate that as late as c. 400 B.C. the official myth of the Temenid descent of the Argead kings could be derided. What makes it really surprising is that Archelaus seems to have done more than any predecessor to attract representatives of Greek culture and to win their approval--which, like representatives of culture at all times, they seem, on the whole, to have willingly given to their paymaster, even though he had won power and ruled by murder and terror. As we have already noted, Euripides wrote for him and produced a myth of immediate descent from Temenos; a host of other poets are attested in connection with him; and Zeuxis painted his palace (giving rise to a suitable witticism ascribed to Socrates) and gave him a painting of Pan as a gift. It is really remarkable that this king, of all Macedonian kings, should be described as--not a tyrant, which would be intelligible, but a barbarian. It may add up to a declaration at Olympia that either reversed the judgment of Alexander's day or, at least, confirmed it against strong opposition: our decision on these alternatives might be influenced by whether or not we regard the late report of Archelaus' Olympic victory as authentic. In any case Thrasymachus' description of Archelaus should be seen in close connection with the counter-Olympics founded by him and (in whatever way) with the report of his Olympic victory.


The Dating of the Coinage of Alexander the Great by Zoë Sophia Kontes 03

Zervos's theories were questioned by Martin Price, and the two scholars amicably published their views side by side in the Numismatic Chronicle of 1982. In examining the characteristics common to the Zeus of Tarsus and the Zeus of Macedonia, Price finds that each of them could have been introduced on the coinage independently in Macedonia. The styles used are not uniquely 'oriental,' and all have precedence in earlier Greek coinage. In particular, he argues that the outstretched hand is not an unnatural pose at all, but one proper for holding a bird. The hand is depicted in this manner at the main Macedonian mint during Alexander's lifetime, while at another significant mint the hand is rendered more 'classically,' or naturally. But, as Price argues, the 'unnatural' pose must have been acceptable to the classical aesthetic as well, and had been presumably prescribed by Alexander or the controller of his coinage, only changing after the king's death. Price also argues against the hoard evidence given by Zervos. He asserts that Zervos's interpretation of the evidence of wear in the Demanhur hoard to mean that 46% of the Tarsus coins were struck before 81% of the Macedonian coins is faulty. It merely indicates that the hoard contained a large number of late lifetime and early posthumous Alexanders. Price maintains that Alexander began minting his silver coins immediately upon becoming king. Three years later, in 333 B.C., he set up a new mint in Tarsus after his success in the Battle of Issus. Tarsus was an administrative center close to Issus, and his mint was established at the mint which had been used by the Persian satraps of Cilicia. At this point, as is accepted by scholars in general, eastern influence can be seen on the Alexander coins, since the die-engravers were the very same who had produced the coins for the satraps.

Price calls on the evidence of two separate factors: the chronology of the main mint of Macedonia, and the historical probability. At the main mint, the latest issues of Philip II are closely die-linked, as well as having the same symbols on the reverse (prow, etc.) These same symbols are found on the first Alexander coins of the mint, and are not found again on either, indicating that the two issues were contemporaneous. Price asserts that no group of Philips can be placed later than the first Alexanders, and believes that the Philips must have directly preceded the first Alexanders. Although this alone does not testify to a striking in 336 of Alexanders, Price notes that the silver issues of Philip were not minted again until after Alexander's death, perhaps indicting that Alexander was not interested in striking Philip's coinage during his reign. As every other of Alexander's actions was for the purpose of installing himself solidly as king and promoting himself among the Greeks, it is unlikely that in all of his preparations for war he would not have included his own coinage. In 1991, Price again upheld these theories in his large work on the coinage of Alexander, which began as a catalogue of the British Museum collection and evolved into a comprehensive study of the coinage in total. With regard to dating, his work essentially follows Newell.

In the same year, 1991, H.Troxell published an article entitled "Alexander's Earliest Macedonian Silver ," joining the great date debate. She takes up the theme of this article in her more recent publication of 1997, a detailed study of Alexander's coinage in Macedonia (the site of his most prolific mints, which used close to 750 obverse tetradrachm dies during the period of Alexander's lifetime and for the first decade after his death). She does not address the question of which mint might have been the main one (most likely Amphipolis or Pella). In this work she discusses Alexander's lifetime and posthumous issues, including both tetradrachms and the smaller issues. She also outlines the post-323 posthumous issues of Philip types which Le Rider did not address in his work of 1977. Troxell follows Newell with regard to most of the aspects of the Macedonian issues, with one major exception. She, like Zervos, believes that the Alexander coins did not begin to be minted until c. 332. Her argument adds to that of Zervos, and indeed has convinced many, including Le Rider, that the lower dates were correct. Like Price, Troxell is unconvinced by the five eastern elements which Zervos cites as evidence that the Tarsiote Zeus preceded the Macedonian Zeus. Only the bell-covers present on perhaps a few early Macedonian tetradrachms, she argues, are evidence of this eastern influence with no precedent in Greece. She also suggests that there are two additional elements from Tarsus coins found on the earliest coins of Macedonia, the so-called 'flowering scepter' and the footstool. First of all, she clarifies the identification of the initial issues. Two coins in Newell's group A established as the earliest group by their relationship to the latest Philips prove to be the earliest in the early group. Troxell uses two characteristics to identify them as such: first, the style of the Heracles' hair (a double row of locks which differs from the single row of curls found on most other early Alexanders of this mint and on coins of Philip's predecessors), and second, the prow symbol on the reverse facing right (rather than left, as it does on most others). Having identified these as the earliest coins, Troxell then points to other aspects of eastern influence. The reverse side of both coins show Zeus holding a flowering scepter, a type found on the earlier coins of Mazaeus. In addition, one of the coins seems to have the bell-covers on the throne legs. Three other coins with the reverse mark of a prow facing left are used with the obverse die on which the head of Heracles has the double row of locks. Two of these coins at least appear to have bell-covers. In addition, another coin from the same die (but with the prow facing right and reverse symbol of a fulmen) has a footstool clearly derived from the Tarsiote model, which consists of a line raised on one end by some sort of support. Citing a few other examples of bell-covers, footstools, and flowering scepters, Troxell concludes that these eastern elements are found only on very early issues from Amphipolis, and do not endure. While some of these elements had existed before in Greek art, they are the exact elements found on the coins of Tarsus and their presence must be explained by the fact that they were known in some way to the die cutters at Amphipolis. Therefore, the Amphipolis Zeus had to have been minted subsequent to the Tarsiote Zeus. The results of Troxell's findings struck another blow to the traditional dating system, and it seemed as though the series of lower dates would in fact hold court with most numismatists (excepting Price of course). Yet the battle was far from over.

At the very end of the 20th century, in fact just this past December, 1999, Patrick Marchetti published an article which attempts to once again establish the accuracy of Newell's traditional chronology. His argument has nothing to do with the tetradrachms of Tarsus, rather it is based on the epigraphical evidence recording the money of the Amphictionic league. After the earthquake at Delphi in 373 B.C., the Amphictionic council set up a group called the naiopoioi to oversee the reconstruction of the temple of Apollo and be responsible for the collection of dues from the members of the Amphictionic League. Their work was interrupted by the Third Sacred War in the years 356-346 B.C., when the Phocians took over the treasury and used the money stored there to pay their mercenaries. After their defeat at the hands of Philip, they were required to pay an indemnity of 60 talents a year. In addition, and significantly, their seats on the Amphictionic council were taken over by two representatives of Philip. The amount of money which the Phocians paid to the Amphictionic council was recorded each year, and the epigraphical evidence shows that the amount was reduced first to thirty talents, then to ten talents by the year 335 or 334. The payments were suspended for two years between 343 and 334, most likely at the time of the Fourth Sacred War in 338. In this war Philip put down the resistance of the Thebans and Athenians at Chaironeia and as a result secured his place as the hegemon of Greece. It is directly after this success that a new Amphictionic coinage was instituted. The new money was based, like previous Delphic money, on the Aeginetan standard. It had an obverse with a head of Demeter with a reverse of Apollo seated on the omphalos with the inscription AMPHICTIONON. Treasurers were appointed to manage the money at Delphi, and their accounts dated with the name of the archon were inscribed twice a year, in spring and fall. One of these accounts is particularly important. It has four columns: the first, the name of a mint; the second, the amount of each denomination; the third, the apousia; the fourth, the remainder. The apousia was the difference between the theoretical total weight of the coins of each denomination taken in, and the actual weight of the metal when melted down. The actual weight would then be the amount of metal restruck in the new Amphictionic type. The result was less than what would have been expected if the old coins weighed their face value. This account was inscribed during the archonship of Dion at the fall meeting of the treasurers in 336, and so the institution of the new money must have taken place under his predecessor, Palaios, in 337.

A second fragment refers to the 335 B.C. spring meeting under Dion. It records that forty-four talents of Amphictionic money was posted as forty-five talents of Attic money. However, this conversion does not make any sense based on the rate of exchange between the two standards (seven Aeginetan drachmae to ten Attic drachmae). What then, is going on here? According to Marchetti, we must reevaluate what is meant by the apousia in this situation. Marchetti defines the apousia as discussed above: ". . .l'écart entre le poids théorique des exemplaires dénombrés et le poids réel que devront peser les futures monnaies amphictioniques."In this situation, however, the apousia is not the actual result of the recoining but an estimate of the same:

Il n'est à a mon sens qu'une manière d'interpréter le passage: là oú les trésoriers auraient dû inscrire l'équivalent de 44 Talents . . .amphictioniques, résultant de l'estimation préalable à la frappe suite au décompte "arithmo" de l'apousia, ils n'ont pu que transcrire, après décompte (arithmo), donc après avoir dénombré les pièces, 45 talents . . .attiques. Ce qui vient à dire que l'on a recompté en monnaies attiques (attikou arithmo) une somme qui avait été évaluée précédemment (amphictionikou arithmo), comme devant fournir le métal indispensable à la frappe de 44 Talents, 18 Mines . . . d'amphictionique, après soustraction de l'apousia. Le fait de retrouver le terme "arithmo" joint à "amphictionikou" et à "attikou" dans le compte 76 nous place logiquement dans une situation comparable à celle du début de la session-automne, soit avant la frappe des monnaies amphictioniques. Ce qui nous mène à la conclusion que la frappe du nouvel amphictionique a dû être interrompue avant la refonte des monnaies attiques qui constituaient une partie du stock remis à Dexios. Et l'on aurait alors compté à nouveau, pièce par pièce, à raison de 6.000 drachmes par talent, les espèces « anciennes » d'étalon attique qui avaient été précédemment estimées, pour leur poids réel, à 44 Talents, 18 Mines . . . amphictioniques.

There is, in my opinion, only one way to interpret the passage: there where the treasurers should have had to list the equivalent of 44 (in round numbers) Amphictionic talents, resulting from the estimate before striking following the subtraction (arithmo) of the "apousia" based on the number of coins, they could not transcribe, after the subtraction (arithmo), thus after having counted the coins, 45 Attic talents (in round numbers). This is to say that one recounted in Attic money (attikou arithmo) a sum which had been estimated previously (amphictionikou arithmo) as providing the metal needed to strike 44 talents, 18 mines, (in round numbers) of Amphictionic money, after the subtraction of the "apousia." The fact that the term "arithmo" is joined to "amphictionikou" and to "attikou" in Account Number 76 places us logically in a situation comparable to that of the beginning of the autumn session of the treasurers, before the striking of Amphictionic money. This leads us to conclude that the striking of new Amphictionic money must have been interrupted before the reissue of the Attic money which constituted a part of the stock handed over to Dexios. And one would therefore have counted again, piece by piece, on the scale of 6,000 drachmas per talent, the old coins of the Attic standard which were previously estimated, according to their real weight, to 44 talents, 18 mines, (in round numbers) of Amphictionic money.

As this passage indicates, the treasurers recounted in Attic values the group of coins that had already been figured in Amphictionic value, but not yet minted as such. So the apousia then is an estimate of what would have been the difference had the coins actually been restruck. The decision to coin new money on an Attic standard was an unexpected one, and the Amphictionic money was only struck for one year, between the fall of 336 and the spring of 335. This fundamental change in the coinage is supported by another inscription, the epikatalage, which stated that a new exchange rate would be followed between the two standards. Instead of a ratio of 7 Aeginetan drachmae to 10 Attic drachmae, it was now 7.5 to 10, benefiting the Attic standard.

Realizing the importance of the Amphictionic League and Delphi to a ruler trying to establish himself as hegemon of Greece, we can understand the importance of these inscriptions. The new Amphictionic money was set up under Palaios, the last archon during the reign of Philip. The decisive battle of the Chaironeia essentially united all of Greece under Philip. It is not hard to imagine then that the striking of a new Amphictionic coinage would be at the behest of Philip, identifying himself as the hegemon. Following that then, as Marchetti argues, Alexander would have wanted to establish himself at Delphi as soon as possible upon his accession to the throne. The abrupt cessation of the newly created Amphictionic money must have been ordered by Alexander. If this money was stopped before the recasting of money on an Attic standard, as Marchetti has shown, then the use of the Attic standard cannot be separated from Alexander's use of the Attic standard for his own coinage. Therefore, Alexander's coinage must have already been in effect.

The scholarship of the Alexander coinage has advanced greatly since Newell's first works in the early part of the twentieth century. But his work has been the basis for all advancement in the field, and will continue to be the foundation of future study. Is it possible that his assumption that Alexander began minting his coins at the beginning of his reign is incorrect? This question has not been answered fully. While Zervos, adding to the work of Kleiner, seems to give valid reasons for the lower dates, Price has just as much proof to support the higher dates. Troxell, on the other hand, adds sufficient evidence to Zervos's argument, which indicates that in fact Price's dating scheme (following Newell) may not be valid. It remains to be seen how other scholars will respond to Marchetti's arguments; whether or not they will accept that the striking of new money in Delphi on the Attic standard was necessarily at the behest of Alexander. If so, then the traditional chronology set up by Newell will once again hold sway. Regardless, the date debate will no doubt continue, as Marchetti's evidence is, in the last analysis, indirect. We will have to look forward to when and if new numismatic evidence becomes available for an answer to this intriguing question.

This paper was originally written for a graduate seminar entitled "Value and Exchange," given by Professor R. Ross Holloway in the Spring of 2000 at the Center for Old World Archaeology and Art at Brown University. I would like to thank Professor Holloway for dedicating his time and energy to this project, and for his steady guidance and support, without which this paper would not have been possible.


The Dating of the Coinage of Alexander the Great by Zoe Sophia Kontes 02

In his "Alexanders Reichmunzen" of 1947 Gerhard Kleiner proposed that Alexander did not begin to mint his own coins at the beginning of his reign.He contended that the young king did not take this step until 331 B.C., two years after the Battle of Issus, and that he did so at Tyre, upon his return from Egypt. In the meantime Alexander relied on the continued minting of coins of his father Philip and his own so-called 'eagle' tetradrachms, augmented by existing coins of Athens and Persia. Kleiner's theory was based on the style of the seated Zeus on the reverse of Alexander's silver tetradrachm, which he argued was derived from Cilician coinage minted under Mazaeus, the most recent Persian satrap.In arguing these lower dates, he had to amend Newell's dating of the coinage of Sidon and Ake from 333/332 to 331, an amendment that would later prove to be incorrect. His ideas were generally dismissed at the time, but more recent scholars have revived his work, with additions of their own. We will leave Kleiner for now, to continue with our chronological study, but the debate over the dating of the Alexanders, begun by him, is probably the most highly contested and engaging question regarding the current study of the Alexanders.

In 1955 Margaret Thompson and Alfred R. Bellinger published a work detailing the Alexander drachms of Asia Minor.While Newell had included drachms in his study of this coinage, the tetradrachms were not his main focus. Thompson and Bellinger's work was the first of its kind, and made clear a fact noted by Newell: Alexander's mints had different functions. Some mints, principally the seven discussed in their work, were established for the express purpose of minting small silver for the empire, while others, particularly those in Macedonia, were responsible for the larger coinage. Thompson and Bellinger proposed that this was not an arbitrary system set up by Alexander, but a logical progression based on existing local coinages. Persian sigloi, not minted on an Attic standard, were commonly used in Asia Minor. Therefore the drachm, rather than the tetradrachm, would have been more familiar means of exchange for the people of this area.The drachms were a significant part of the overall coinage, and their sequences are entirely separate from the tetradrachms. Thompson and Bellinger established the arrangement of drachms from the seven main mints (along with the staters associated with them) based on the close die links among the coins. They used three important dates as the backbone of the chronology for this arrangement: 334, the year in which Alexander began his campaigns in Asia Minor, 323, the year in which he died, and 317, the death of Philip III. None of the Alexander drachms of Asia Minor can have been produced before 334, any coins that bear Alexander types but the name of Philip III must be after 323, and no coinage of Philip III can have been minted later than 317. This study added an important piece to the overall study of Alexander's coinage, in organizing the coinage as well as providing the basis for determining its chronology.

In 1977, Georges Le Rider published a first and only comprehensive study of the coins of Philip II, Alexander the Great's father. This work established the chronology of Philip's coinage, and in doing so provided a new perspective on the history of Philip's reign in general. Philip's large gold coins were struck on an attic standard and began late in his reign (according to Le Rider), with obverse: laureate head of Apollo facing right; reverse: Nike in a chariot drawn by two horses, with the legend PHILIPPOU. A fractional issue had obverse: head of Herakles r. and reverse: kantharos, bow and club, with the legend PHILIPPOU. The large silver denomination was struck on the local Macedonian standard of approximately 14.52g, with obverse: laureate head of Zeus facing right. The reverse had two forms. Between 359 and 348 it showed horseman facing left with kausia, raising right hand in salute, PHILIPPOU. The second reverse struck between 348 and 336 was jockey facing left with palm branch, PHILIPPOU. The Philip coinage also included bronze units with obverse of a young head with taenia, and reverse of a horseman with the inscription PHILIPPOU.
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Gold stater (8.63 g.) diam. 1.8 cm. Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design, ex Henry Augustus Greene.
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One quarter Stater (2.50 g.) diam. 1.1 cm., Brown University Collection, gift of Capt. John R. Lewis.
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Silver tetradrachm (14.34 g.) diam. 2.5 cm. Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design, ex Henry Augustus Greene.

Le Rider set the beginning date for Philip's silver coinage at his accession of the throne in 359 B.C.. He divides the coinages into two series, the first commencing in 359 at Pella, and the second in 357 at Amphipolis.The striking of both series continued until 329/8, (although perhaps with a brief cessation in 336) then resumed again c. 323/2, after the death of Alexander. The posthumous issues at Pella continued until c. 315/4, while those at Amphipolis were struck all the way until 294 B.C., when Demetrius Poliorcetes began striking his own types. Le Rider places the first striking of the gold issues later in Philip's reign, perhaps 345 B.C. or even as late as 342. He asserts that like the silver, the gold stops in 329/8, and resumes in 323/2.At both mints, the gold was last minted around 310. Le Rider's dates are important to our study of the dates of Alexander's coinage. If Philip's coinage was being minted in 336 B.C., then either the two were minted simultaneously, or Alexander did not start minting until later. If the silver did stop for a bit in 336, (perhaps due to Alexander's short lived eagle coins) while the gold continued, this perhaps can be explained by the fact that the gold was minted on an Attic standard, as were Alexander's coins. Le Rider argues that if the coinage of Philip did not stop immediately upon the minting of the new Alexanders, then it was not long afterwards. He provides as evidence the fact that the common symbols shared by the two issues (prow, stern, janiform head, rudder) do not occur again in Alexander's lifetime. Yet he mentions a group of Philips which have all the same symbols with the addition of a bee, hinting perhaps that this group continued later than the others.

In 1982, Orestes Zervos discussed Alexander's earliest coins, championing Kleiner's theory of a lower date, which had been for the most part dismissed. His article was essential in that it posed a serious challenge to the traditional dating system worked out by Newell, spurring much discussion among scholars. As of today, opinion is quite divided on the subject; there are as many proponents of low dates as high. This was not the case after Kleiner's article was published, and Zervos deserves the credit for being the first to provide successfully an alternative to a well-established tradition.In his article Zervos argues that while difficult to comprehend, Kleiner's argument was essentially correct. He reorganizes and explains Kleiner's ideas, corrects them as necessary and provides additional evidence for his theories. Zervos emphasizes not only the iconographic but also stylistic characteristics of the early Alexander coins, and provides sufficient numismatic evidence for his proposals. Kleiner had not done this, having based his dating system on iconography and history, and having attempted to alter the numismatic evidence to suit his theory by lowering the date of the Sidon and Ake coinage.

Zervos principally details Kleiner's theory regarding the silver tetradrachms. Kleiner argues that the seated Zeus type on the Alexander tetradrachms was based on the Cilician type of the Baal of Tarsus, which implies that Alexander (or his officials) had seen these coins before minting his own. Because the figures of Zeus of the earliest Alexander coins of Tarsus and the earliest of Amphipolis are so similar, Kleiner argues that the Baal minted by Mazaeus was the prototype for the Zeus at the same mint for coins issued by Alexander, and from them the Zeus of Amphipolis was derived. In other words, the Alexander coins were first minted in Tarsus, and minting in Amphipolis began subsequently. Zervos outlines five characteristics of the coins showing eastern ('oriental') origin in style. These five characteristics are: 1) the figure's legs fixed stiffly together, 2) the unnatural position of the hand extended and holding the eagle (all fingers visible), 3) the awkward twisted position of the torso, 4) the large roll of drapery at his waist, and 5) the design of the throne on which the figure sits (particularly the 'bellcovers' on the legs). These eastern elements are found on the earliest tetradrachms of Amphipolis, in contrast, Zervos claims, to the classical styles of the local Macedonian coinage of the time (the Alexander gold coinage as well as the posthumous Philip II gold). With regard to the obverse head of Heracles, Zervos agrees with the traditional theory that this type was derived from the Heracles used on the coins of Alexander's predecessors. Yet he does not believe that this contradicts his theory; rather he explains the types as having been introduced separately at Tarsus and Amphipolis. Used first at Tarsus to compliment the Zeus reverse, when later adopted at Amphipolis, the head was an independent continuation of Macedonian type in a local style unconnected to the iconography at Tarsus. Therefore since the two types are decidedly distinct, the style of Heracles cannot be used in argument against the lower dating system.

Zervos provides evidence from three hoards containing Alexander tetradrachms. First, the hoard of Kyparissia, whose burial Newell dated c 328-327 B.C., contains more Amphipolis tetradrachms than those of Tarsus. Previous scholars had argued therefore that Amphipolis must have been minting first. Zervos believes that this is not necessarily true, as Amphipolis produced more coins in general. Secondly, in examining the Demanhur hoard, he argues that as Newell described them, a greater percentage of the Tarsus coins than those of Amphipolis were worn. Thus, Tarsus had been minting prior to Amphipolis. Thirdly, in the small hoard of Mageira, thought to be the earliest hoard containing Alexander coins, only one lifetime coin was foundaó tetradrachm from Tarsus. Zervos, while admitting that none of these hoards provides solid evidence, they at least cannot be used to contradict his theory. Next taking Alexander's gold into consideration, Zervos is able to correct Kleiner's original hypothesis that the beginning of the Alexander coinage came in 331 after the fall of Tyre. This seems to have been Kleiner's chief confusion, which was based on the gold types.Kleiner regarded the obverse of a helmeted Athena (with reverse of a Nike holding a wreath and stylis--a naval standard, a cause for much discussion among modern scholars as to its 'Panhellenic' reference), as representing naval activity. Therefore, because of the stylis, he dated the coinage to after the Battle of Tyre (where Alexander did in fact use ships). As he did not separate the commencement of the gold minting from that of the silver, he dated both to 331. In order to make this date feasible, however, Kleiner had to lower the dating of the coinage of Sidon and Ake, established by Newell in 1916 as beginning in 333/2, in order that the Tarsus coins would be the first. Zervos argues that because of the common coin types at both mints, the coinage must have been planned in Macedonia and in Tarsus, and since the silver was based on the Tarsus silver, the gold too must have been minted later than the Tarsus silver. If this is the case, then the beginning of the silver coinage can be dated to 333 B.C., after the battle of Issus. More importantly, the date concurs with the evidence of the dated coins of Sidon and Ake, which Newell found to have begun in 333/2.


The Dating of the Coinage of Alexander the Great by Zoe Sophia Kontes 01

Alexander the Great, only twenty years old when he became king of Macedonia in 336 B.C., was perhaps the greatest general of all time. He was certainly a great empire builder. In the course of just thirteen years before his death at Babylon in 323 B.C., he changed the Mediterranean and Near Eastern world forever by bringing the territory of the Persian Empire under Greek rule. This vast region stretched from the borders of India and inner Afganistan in the east to the Adriatic Sea in the west and from Egypt in the south to the coasts of the Black Sea in the north. The Hellenistic Near East and the Hellenistic world beyond the Near East were the product of Alexander's adventure. The repercussions of his reign were thus profound, and nowhere more so than in the history of money. Alexander's coins, the most familiar being the silver issues bearing a head of Herakles on one face and a seated Zeus with the king's name on the other, were struck throughout the empire.
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Silver tetradrachm (17.28 gm.) diam. 2.5 cm., Brown University Collection, gift of Capt. John R. Lewis.
Such coins were not only minted during Alexander's lifetime but their issue was continued in the two decades following his death by the Macedonian generals who divided the empire between them and created the Hellenistic kingdoms. Even as the successor kings initialed coinages in their own names and with their own types the "Alexanders" lived on for two centuries during which time they were issued by independent cities as an international coinage.

Today "Alexanders" still exist by the thousands. Their very number, however, and the large array of monograms and symbols used to identify the mints where the coins were struck and the mint officials who supervised the work, make this one of the most challenging series for the numismatist. A Sir George Hill wrote in 1909:

There are few series which present more difficulties in the way of chronological classification than the 'Alexanders.' The mass of material is so vast and the differences between the varieties so minute, so uninteresting to anyone but the numismatic specialist, and so difficult to express in print, that very little progress has been made since the publication of L. Müllerr's remarkable work in 1855. . ,

But at that moment the study of the Alexander coinage was about to be revolutionized by a young American collector and scholar, Edward T. Newell. Newell graduated from Yale in 1907 and took an MA two years later. He always remained a private scholar, laboring in his work rooms at the American Numismatic Society in New York where his collection of Greek coins today forms the backbone of the Society's world-famous collection. After his premature death in 1941, his obituary in the American Journal of Archaeology characterized him as "America's greatest numismatist."

To understand the revolution in our knowledge of the coins of Alexander's lifetime and the posthumous Alexander's that began with Newell's Reattribution of Certain Tetradrachms of Alexander the Great of 1911, one must go back to the mid nineteenth century. Ludvig Müller, to whom G.F. Hill was referring in the quote above, was a Danish scholar whose work of 1855, Numismatique d'Alexandre le Grand, suivie d'un appendice contenant les monnaies de Philippe II et III, was the first comprehensive study of the coinage. Müller was able to distinguish between the early and later coins of Alexander by examining the size of the flans, which no scholar had previously done. His observation that the flans became progressively wider and flatter was an indication of evolvement over time, thus he was able to establish a general chronology.In addition, Müller carefully studied the reverse symbols and ligatures found on nearly all of the coins, and assigned them to mints accordingly. While accepting the possibility that they might refer to different magistrates as opposed to mints, he believed that this was not the case. His theory was in fact plausible, since there are indeed some reverse marks which do repeat well-known city types. For example, posthumous issues marked with a sphinx are attributed to Chios, while those with a lion looking back at a star were minted at Miletus.Though Newell's work, based on a far larger corpus of coins than Müller knew called into question the general approach of his predecessor, many of Müller's mint attributions remain uncontested today.

Newell utilized the technique of identifying coins struck from a common die (called "die linkage") to show that coins attributed by Müller to different mints were, in fact, the products of the same mint because they shared a common obverse die, even though the symbols and monograms of their reverses were different. The main body of evidence that permitted Newell to achieve the reconstruction of the minting of the Alexanders was the Demanhur hoard. This cache of over 8,000 Alexander tetradrachms was found in Egypt in 1905. Newell himself originally came into possession of some 400 of these, and had personally examined over 2,000 for his discussion of the coins in Reattribution. By the time he published Alexander Hoards I2. Demanhur, 1905 in 1923 he had compiled, from his own collection and other sources, a record of close to 6,000 coins from the hoard. On the basis of his observation of die links, he divided the tetradrachms into eleven groups, each of which had 3-12 different control marks.Such control marks on Greek coins are often interpreted as identifying officials responsible for a particular issue. In Newell's system, relying on the objective evidence of the obverse die links, it was apparent that they had a similar function in the Alexander coinage.

Tetradrachms, of course, formed only a part of the Alexander coinage, and this is the time to review all the types in silver, gold and bronze. All of the coins were minted on the Attic standard (unlike his father's coins, of which only the gold was of Attic weight, while the silver was struck on the local Macedonian standard).The following are the most common types.

For the gold, obverse: Athena wearing crested helmet decorated with serpent; reverse: Nike standing facing left, holding wreath in extended right hand, stylis (a naval standard) in left, vertical legend ALEXANDROU.
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Gold stater (8.67g) diam. 1.8 cm.,Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design, ex Henry Augustus Greene.
For the silver (tetradrachms and drachms), obverse: head of Heracles wearing lion skin facing right; reverse: Zeus seated on throne facing left, holding eagle in outstretched right hand, scepter in left, vertical legend ALEXANDROU.
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Silver tetradrachm (17.11g) diam. 2.5 cm., Brown University Collection, gift of Capt. John R. Lewis.
Alexander's coinage continued to be struck after his death in 323 B.C.. His immediate successors continued to use his types, although eventually substituting their own names for that of Alexander. Both lifetime and posthumous Alexanders were struck in Macedonia, as well as in mints throughout the empire. During Alexander's lifetime, twenty-five mints were producing his coins: two in Macedonia, one in Egypt, and twenty-three in Asia.In the years immediately following his death that number increased to thirty-one, possibly including a Peloponnesian mint at Sicyon. In the last quarter of the third century, over a hundred years after his death, fifty-one mints were still producing Alexanders, mainly the tetradrachms.Thousands upon thousands of these coins are extant, found in a multitude of hoards. Approximately forty-six hoards containing silver and thirteen containing gold from the main mint in Macedonia have been documented in greater or lesser detail.

Newell divided the Alexander tetradrachms into groups, and assigned his groups the letters A-K, basing his chronology on style, die links between groups, and the addition and subsequent removal of the title BASILEOS to the coinage. This title appeared first on coins of Babylon around 325 B.C., became widespread, then disappeared just a few years later. The basis for putting group A first was that this group's reverse control marks include some also found on coins of Philip II: a prow, stern, janiform head and sometimes a rudder.His hypothesis is still accepted today. In addition, he was now able to offer conjectures about mint location on a new basis. The late Philips (Georges Le Rider's Group II B, see footnote 15) were closely die linked, indicating to Newell that indeed they must be from the same mint. Since Philip's lifetime coins were most likely only minted in Macedonia, the earliest Alexanders, group A, must have also been minted there. Newell placed the first Alexanders in 336 B.C., at the beginning of the reign. Newell's chronology depended on evidence from the great Demanhur hoard in another respect. In this hoard were found Alexander coins bearing dates. These are the coins minted at Sidon and Ake where issues made before Alexander's conquest bore Phoenician numerals dating the coins according to the regnal year of the local king. Alexander's issue continued this system.During the siege of Tyre Alexander had his base in Sidon, which had a well-established mint. In addition, Alexander was in possession of great sums of money seized from the Persians at the Battle of Issus. These two factors, along with the necessity of clearly establishing himself as the leader of a new empire, immediately led to the minting of coins. Two Alexander coins of Sidon bear Phoenician letters which signify Year 1 and Year 2. These first two years of the Sidonian era refer to either the first two years of Alexander's power in Asia Minor (beginning with his success at Issus) or the rule of the local king Abdalonymos, whom Alexander appointed at this time. These would have been the years 333-332 and 332-331.Thus, the inauguration for the minting of these Alexander coins at this time is historically appropriate, and supported by numismatic evidence. The dated obverse dies of the tetradrachms of Sidon and Ake continue until 319/318 B.C., giving us a fixed point for the lifetime and early posthumous coinage of Alexander up to that year.Newell's chronology for these coins has stood the test of time and is not likely to be affected by any further discoveries. However, his dating of the actual beginning of Alexander coinage overall to 336 B.C., long accepted by most scholars, has become the subject of great debate.