Description: KINGS of MACEDON. Alexander III ‘the Great’. 336-323 BC. AR Drachm (16.5mm, 4.27 g, 12h). Sardes mint. Struck under Menander, circa 324/3 BC. Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin / Zeus Aëtophoros seated left; rose below throne.
History: Alexander, King of Macedonia, began ruling immediately after the death of his father, Philip II and brought the Greek Empire to its peak. Through his conquests, he minted these coins in many variations of type and style. Each bears the face of Herakles (Hercules) wearing a headdress of the Nemean Lion. This animal was fierce and virtually indestructible, so using his super-human strength and intelligence, Herakles decided to strangle the lion since he was unable to cut through its skin. After he killed the lion, he used its own razor sharp claws to remove its hide, and forever after Herakles wore the lion's skin for protection and as a symbol of his victory. Alexander wanted to be like Herakles, and was also known to wear a lion’s skin, invoking his strength and courage. On the obverse, Zeus is enthroned, holding an eagle in one hand and royal scepter in the other with the name “Alexander” inscribed on the side. These coins continued to circulate hundreds of years after the death of Alexander the Great.