The Greek tetradrachm (τετράδραχμον) was the name given to the currency of Ancient Greece, equivalent to four drachmae, the ancient unit of measurement used in many Greek city-states and in many Middle Eastern kingdoms of the Hellenistic period. This particular tetradrachm was minted in the Kingdom of Thrace, specifically Lampsacus, which was ruled by the ‘diadochos’ Lysimachus. Upon the death of Alexander the Great, his vast empire was divided amongst his generals and chief counsellors; notably Ptolemy, Antigonas, Cassander and Seleucus. As a governor of Thrace, Lysimachus didn’t consolidate his power until 306/305 BC, when he assumed the title of ‘Basileus’. The next 15 years were spent fighting the Wars of the Diadochi, as Alexander’s generals all vied for power. By 287 BC Lysimachus had siezed control of Macedonia as well, cementing his position as successor to Alexander the Great. Lysimachus died in 281 BC at the Battle of Corupedium, the last battle between the ‘Diadochoi’, fought between Lysimachus and Seleucus I Nicator.
In the effort to cement their legitimacy as Alexander’s successor, the coins of the ‘Diadochoi’ served an important function. Imagery and it’s propaganda were vitally important. This particular coin features the profiled head of the deified Alexander the Great, styled as Zeus Ammon. The prominent ridged horns proudly curve and protrude from the locks of hair. A diadem also sits proudly on the profile head. The imagery is perfectly clear; Lysimachus’ right to rule is secured through his connection to Alexander. Just as Alexander included the images of his deified ancestors Herakles and Zeus, on the obverse and reverse respectively, so too is Lysimachus. The supremacy and legitimacy were set in stone, or silver as the case was.
To learn more about the coins of Alexander The Great, please visit our relevant blog post: An Introduction to the Coins of Alexander The Great.