2003/2/1 Coin, tetradrachm, Kingdom of Alexander III (336-323BC), issued posthumously, in name of Philip III, silver (17.072 grams) from the Persian Treasuries, Babylon Mint (modern Iraq), 323-317 BC
On Alexander the Great's deathbed at Babylon in 323 BC, he was asked who should inherit his huge empire which stretched from Greece to India. 'To the strongest' was the reputed and wholly Alexandrian reply. After decades of struggle and negotiation, power in Asia and Egypt was divided between the three generals who proved to be strongest: Ptolemy, Seleucis and Attalus. Such a huge empire required many mints to process the massive wealth of the two-hundred year old Persian Empire into a more easily transferable commodity - coinage.
The silver used to make this coin was once bullion sacked from the vast treasuries of Babylon after it fell in 334 BC to Alexander (reigned 336-323 BC). It is a visual symbol of ancient political authority and its design was carefully considered by its issuers. It was a continuation of Alexander's own style of coins, though struck in the name of his half-brother (Philip III 323-317 BC), after Alexander's death. However, it was to be two decades before Alexander's generals, who were his true successors, had the confidence to mint coins in their own names - and thus as kings in their own right. This is a manifestation of coinage's role in legitimising power, with the cosequence that Alexander's successors' hesitated to proclaim their kingly status on their coins until they were politically secure,