Denomination: Greek Bronze Date: 359-336 BCE
Description: Philip II of Macedonia AE19, Macedonia. 359-336 BC. Obverse: Head of Apollo right, hair bound in a taenia Reverse: ΦIΛIΠΠOY, youth on horse prancing right
The reign of Phillip II, father of Alexander the Great, marked a major turning point in the history of the Greek world. His plan was to make himself master of Greece and then undertake the conquest of the traditional enemy of the Greeks, the Persian Empire. The first part of his ambition was achieved, but the assassin’s hand struck down the king before he was able to begin his attack on Acheamenid territory. In order to finance his military operations Philip instituted a large-scale coinage of gold, silver and bronze denominations.
Phillip was said to be obsessed with youth, hence the image of a jockey on horseback, a reference to his equestrian victory as a young boy at the Olympian games of 356 BCE. On the other side of the coin is Apollo, who was the god of youth and music. Coinage in Phillip’s name continued long after his death and served the needs of the northern territories of the Macedonian kingdom. This late variant, from the Amphilopolis mint, probably belongs to the years following the death of Alexander when the vast realm was nominally ruled by the great conqueror’s half brother Phillip III Arrhidaeus, son of Phillip II and Philinna.