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The Ultimate Alexander the Great Challenge


kirispupis
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OK. Maybe not the Ultimate, but I thought I'd pose this set of questions on Alexander the Great for some fun. I've tried to make them difficult to answer with your typical search engine. 🙂 

Unfortunately, I don't have a coin to give away (I like all of mine), so I'll offer your choice of one of these three fabulous prizes.

  1. A kudo, delivered somewhere near your home by none other than Pegasos! Yes. This is the real Pegagos, who will horsily convey said kudo while you're away. 
  2. A signed copy of one of my two already published novels. Unfortunately neither has much to do with numismatics. I have a sci-fi novel called The Paramount Dimension and a children's' novel Allen, King of Seattle. I do have an upcoming novel titled Love, Macedonians, and Dinosaurs, but it's still in development and is about a year away.
  3. Public confirmation that you're the king of Alexander the Great trivia!

First, a few of my favorite Alexander coins!

Even if you don't feel like trivia questions, feel free to post your own Alexander coins.

This is my first lifetime.

alexander3.jpg.5040fbd757b0f567693c57b6451f2dbd.jpg

Kingdom of Macedon, Alexander III 'the Great'
AR Tetradrachm 16.68g, 27mm, 2h
Struck under Stamenes or Archon
Babylon, circa 324/3 BCE
Price 3599; Müller 670.
Ex Roma

An uncommon diobol, also minted during his lifetime.

1222640719_alexanderthegreat.jpg.8c81d546b2e2487d6fb77afe94cf97c9.jpg

Alexander III 'the Great' AR Diobol
'Amphipolis', circa 336-323 BCE
Young head of Herakles to right, wearing lion skin headdress / ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ, two eagles standing facing one another on thunderbolt.
Price 155; HGC 3.1, 906. 1.32g, 11mm, 3h.
Ex Roma

Elis issue from the 336 BCE Olympic Games. A few months later, Philip II would be dead and Alexander III king.

Elis.jpg.462ccbe7630a83993f7815afac53d6b1.jpg

ELIS, Olympia. 111th Olympiad
336 BCE
AR Stater 22mm, 11.63 g, 6h
Hera mint. Head of Hera right, wearing ornamented stephanos inscribed [FAΛEI]Ω[N] / Eagle standing left, head right, wings spread, on rock; all within wreath.
Seltman, Temple 341–5 var. (dies FG/–); BCD Olympia 159 (same obv. die); HGC 5, 394.
Ex CNG

 

A Mytilene Hekte referencing both Philip II and Alexander III.

mytilene.jpg.489de5d579414d801ed96b36246067ab.jpg

Mytilene EL Hekte c. 332 BCE
10.5mm 2.57g 12h
Avers : Tête laurée et barbue de Zeus à droite (Philippe II de Macédoine).
Revers : Tête imberbe d’Héraklès à droite coiffée de la léonté dans un carré linéaire (Alexandre III le Grand).
Bod.103 - B. traité- - Aulock1711 - P.- - BMC.- - Cop.- - HGCS. 5/1029 (R2)
Ex CGB

Without further ado, here are the questions.

1. What three men have been most famously been identified as Alexander the Great's father?


2. Alexander the Great founded many cities. Name a city he founded that he did not name after himself.


3. Alexander the Great is famous for having never lost a battle. Name two cities, though, that he attempted to take but never did (they were either taken by his generals much later or were rendered irrelevant).


4. Alexander once proposed marriage to someone, but the request was unsuccessful. Who did he propose to marry?


5. As king, Alexander planned a marriage for one of his sisters, but that too failed. Which sister did he propose for marriage and to whom?


6. Who was the last known descendant of Alexander the Great?


7. Who was the last known descendant of Philip II?


8. During Alexander's lifetime, one of his generals and his army was annihilated. Alexander is noted for showing little concern. Which general was this?


9. Some sources mention a woman Alexander with whom Alexander slept with the goal of producing a child. He never married her, nor did the sources provide the result. Who was she?


10. Who did Alexander the Great execute in a manner inspired by the Iliad?


11. Of the successors who served with Alexander the Great and who also declared themselves kings, which one(s) never minted coins in their own name?


12. Several women during this time exerted tremendous influence. However, there exists archeological proof that one truly did rule a kingdom herself, though we have no coins minted in her name. Who was she?


13. What are believed to be the first silver coins minted by Alexander the Great?


14. For which of the big five game animals do we have evidence that Alexander or one of his successors turned them into hats?


15. Who was the only Greek general to square off against Alexander's forces in battle and survive the encounter?

16. What was reputed to be Alexander's mother Olympias' favorite animal?

17. What color was Alexander believed to wear on campaign?

 

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Well, this trivia challenge has been a monumental failure. Seems like everyone surrendered faster than the average city in Asia Minor. 🙂 

For those interested (which may not be anyone), here are the answers.

1. What three men have been most famously been identified as Alexander the Great's father?

    Philip II - his actual father
    Zeus - at times claimed by Olympias and Alexander himself
    Nectanebo II - from the fanciful Alexander Romance

philip2.jpg.ad6783f4a45799d970d9ab8490f5707b.jpg

Macedonian Kingdom, Philip II AR Tetradrachm.
Pella mint, ca 354-349 BC.
22-24 mm., 13.68g.
Laureate head of Zeus right / ΦIΛΛIΠOY, Philip II, diademed & in kausia, on horseback left, raising right hand
Ex N&N Collection

1388582697_NectaneboII.jpg.013e7ae3bef5032265348664ff6843e9.jpg

EGYPT, Pharaonic Kingdom. Uncertain pharaoh(s)
Late 5th–mid 4th centuries BCE
AR Tetradrachm 24mm, 17.03 g, 8h
Imitating Athens. Helmeted head of Athena right, with frontal eye / Owl standing right, head facing; olive sprig and crescent to left; all within incuse square. Van Alfen, Mechanisms, Group III.A.1, Fig. 2 = Buttrey Type M. Ex
Ex NGC encapsulation 5872733-112, graded XF, Strike: 5/5, Surface: 3/5.
Ex Ponterio 1985
Ex Robert W. Bartlett Bequest Sold for the Benefit of the American Numismatic Society
Ex CNG

2. Alexander the Great founded many cities. Name a city he founded that he did not name after himself.

   Bucephala - names after his horse. Legend has that he named two such cities.

Bucephalos.jpg.e702f94c99690405214f9ec63a33976a.jpg

Bucephalos
Uncertain Macedonian mint, circa 336-323 BC.
Diademed head of male to right / Horse galloping to right, AΛEΞAN[ΔPOV] above, A[I?] below.
Price 363. 3.34g, 16mm, 3h.
Ex Roma

3. Alexander the Great is famous for having never lost a battle. Name two cities, though, that he attempted to take but never did (they were either taken by his generals much later or were rendered irrelevant).

   Sillyon - Alexander was supposedly pressed for time, so he abandoned the siege
   Myndos - Alexander attacked during the siege of Halicarnassos, but was repelled. It was taken roughly a year later, but not by him.

Myndos.jpg.b0945501b462567cdfa6c0cf60e49c38.jpg

Karia, Myndos 4th century BCE
1.2g, 12mm, 1h
Laureate head of Poseidon to right / Dolphin to right over trident; MY above.
SNG Copenhagen 1022 (Ionia); SNG Kayhan 847-848
Ex Roma 2018
Ex Roma 2020
Ex Roma 2022

Sillyon.jpg.de6934c3c436a4d122b81d37573de48d.jpg

Pamphylia, Sillyon
18.72mm, 4.57g 4th Century BCE
Obverse: Bearded and helmeted head of Ares right
Reverse: Male figure standing left with right hand raised, chlamys draped over left forearm; H and uncertain symbol in left field
SNG von Aulock 4866
Ex Marc Breitsprecher

4. Alexander once proposed marriage to someone, but the request was unsuccessful. Who did he propose to marry?

   The daughter of Pixodaros - Pixodaros had offered his eldest daughter to Philip III, but Alexander interposed and offered himself. Pixodaros was all for it, but Philip II was enraged.

Pixodaros.jpg.4c182f1d480554443a5f68c5d8d4ae74.jpg

Satraps of Karia, Pixodaros AR Didrachm.
Halikarnassos, circa 341/0-336/5 BC.
Laureate head of Apollo facing, turned slightly to right / Zeus Labraundos standing to right, holding double-axe (labrys) over shoulder and lotus-tipped sceptre; ΠIΞΩΔAPOY to right.
HNO 241 (temporary); SNG Copenhagen 596-7; SNG Kayhan 891; SNG Von Aulock 2375-6;
6.53g, 19mm, 1h.
Ex Roma

5. As king, Alexander planned a marriage for one of his sisters, but that too failed. Which sister did he propose for marriage and to whom?

   Kleopatra to Langaros - the marriage was meant to strengthen ties with the Agrianians, but Langaros died before it could occur

patraos.jpg.c91ebd68cb6d7f1ee2b2e4087cd425d2.jpg

Kings of Paeonia, Patraos
AR Tetradrachm 12.46g, 24mm, 1h.
Uncertain Paeonian mint (Astibus or Damastion?) circa 335-315 BCE
Laureate head of Apollo to right / Warrior on horse rearing to right, spearing enemy who defends himself with raised shield; bukranion to left, ΠATPAOY (retrograde) around.
Paeonian Hoard I, 227 (same dies).
Ex Roma

6. Who was the last known descendant of Alexander the Great?

   Herakles - son of Barsine, who was killed by Polyperchon (under the persuasion of Kassander) in 309 BCE.

Kassander_2.jpg.3ebf3e3606a93e31cab936173cd37b7a.jpg

Kassander
AE 18 mm, 6.09 g, 11 h
Amphipolis (?)
Laureate head of Apollo to right. Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ - ΚΑΣΣΑΝΔΡΟΥ Tripod; to left, monogram; to right, kerykeion.
McClean 3553. SNG München 1030

7. Who was the last known descendant of Philip II?

   Cadmeia - she is the last named descendant as the daughter of Kleopatra. Her brother Neoptolemos II was killed by Pyrrhos, but there is evidence she survived this. As already mentioned, Alexander's last descendant died in 309 BCE. Sister Thessalonika's three sons died in 297 BCE (Philip IV) and 294 BCE (Antipater II and Alexander V)

2056281275_alexanderIMolossos.jpg.4d411e8f358c27e63df6e3565f1bf8b3.jpg

Alexander the Molossian
Bruttium, Croton 334-331 BCE
AE 12mm 3.37g
Attianese, Calabria Graeca, 267,510
Ex Collection of M. Weder
Ex Münzen & Medaillen GmbH

8. During Alexander's lifetime, one of his generals and his army was annihilated. Alexander is noted for showing little concern. Which general was this?

   Zopyrion - he was annihilated on an ill-planned expedition against Olbia. Alexander was reputably dismayed, but happier to learn that both Alexander I Molossos and Agis (of Sparta) had died.

Olbia2.jpg.051c75c46a9d575ba11eab638c2ce692.jpg

Skythia, Olbia
Æ 10.54g, 24mm, 9h.
Circa 330-320 BCE
Horned and bearded head of river god Borysthenes to left / Axe and bow in gorytos, ΟΛΒΙΟ upwards to right, Δ to left.
SNG Moskau 978-82; SNG Stancomb -; SNG BM Black Sea 457-9; HGC 3.2, 1887.
Ex collection of GK.
Ex Roma

9. Some sources mention a woman Alexander with whom Alexander slept with the goal of producing a child. He never married her, nor did the sources provide the result. Who was she?

   Thalestris - a legendary Amazonian queen. Even ancient sources doubted this story, but I still wonder if there was a liaison that resulted in many in Central Asia claiming descendance from him.

Sophytes.jpg.dd7756c93b18ebea5c9c9c01e1bdb061.jpg

Sophytes, 'Athenian Series' AR Tetradrachm
Uncertain mint, circa 323-240 BCE
16.48g, 21mm, 1h.
Attic standard. Head of Athena to right, wearing earring, necklace, and crested Attic helmet decorated with three olive leaves over visor and a spiral palmette and grape bunch on the bowl / Owl standing to right, head facing; olive sprig and crescent behind, AΘE before; all within incuse square
Cf. Bopearachchi, Sophytes Series 1A; cf. Roma XIV, 341 corr. (grape bunch on rev.)
Ex 1960s Andragoras-Sophytes Group
Ex Roma

10. Who did Alexander the Great execute in a manner inspired by the Iliad?

   Batis of Gaza - Alexander was furious that Gaza had delayed him for so long. He dragged him from a chariot like Achilles did Hector - only Batis was still alive at the time.

Gaza.jpg.18a105f314618dcca32c82ad8a70e4fc.jpg

PHILISTIA (PALESTINE), Gaza
Circa 353-333 BCE
AR Drachm 14mm, 3.94 g, 12h
Imitating Athens pi-style coinage. Helmeted head of Athena right, with profile eye and pi-style palmette, Aramaic M horizonally on cheek (only traces visible) / Owl standing right, head facing; olive sprig and crescent to left.
Gitler & Tal V.25D; HGC 10, 542
Ex CNG

11. Of the successors who served with Alexander the Great and who also declared themselves kings, which one(s) never minted coins in their own name?

    None - This was a trick question. We all know that Ptolemy I, Lysimachos, Demetrios I Poliorketes, Seleukos I Nikator, and Kassander declared themselves kings and minted their own coins. What about Antigonos I Monophtalmos? He actually did mint a few coins in his own name (some with his son as well), but they are quite rare and I'm not sure if any are in private hands.

2004483319_antigonosI.jpg.0d94a510e62ec53bfcec474ddcabe657.jpg

Antigonos I Monophthalmos
Antigoneia 305-300 BCE
28mm 16.33g
Head of young Herakles facing right, wearing a lion's skin. / ALEXANDPOY, Zeus enthroned left, holding an eagle and a sceptre, X on left, M on right, Ph below throne.
Price 3195, Müller 804
Ex Mike Vosper

12. Several women during this time exerted tremendous influence. However, there exists archeological proof that one truly did rule a kingdom herself, though we have no coins minted in her name. Who was she?

   Kleopatra - who ruled over Epirus after her husband Alexander I Molossos died.

Kleopatra.jpg.f96b816bd0116428e3a67a3dd5fbf6af.jpg

Epeiros.The Molossi
AE Circa 360-330/25 BCE
Ex Bertolami Auction 44 (Sep 2017)
Ex Catawiki


13. What are believed to be the first silver coins minted by Alexander the Great?

   Tets of Philip II - Most feel that Alexander continued to mint Philip II tets until his own famous coinage (below)

alexander3.jpg.116e1fc2b90782946165531ba2e599dc.jpg

Kingdom of Macedon, Alexander III 'the Great'
AR Tetradrachm 16.68g, 27mm, 2h
Struck under Stamenes or Archon
Babylon, circa 324/3 BCE
Price 3599; Müller 670.
Ex Roma

14. For which of the big five game animals do we have evidence that Alexander or one of his successors turned them into hats?

   Elephant - from Ptolemy's tets
   Lion - from Alexander's own coinage and from Lysimachos
   Leopard - from a series by Seleukos I Nikator

1204657052_PtolemyI.jpg.ff45d53bd4474684394d58e0f4a485e8.jpg

Ptolemy I 311-305 BCE
27.5 mm 14.6g 1h
Sv.162 (37 ex) - Cop.29 - GC.7750 var. - BMC.- - MP.6
Avers : Buste cornu et diadémé d'Alexandre le Grand sous les traits de Zeus-Ammon à droite, coiffé de la dépouille d'éléphant avec l'égide.
Revers : Athéna Promachos ou Alkidemos marchant à droite, brandissant une javeline de la main droite et tenant un bouclier de la gauche ; dans le champ à gauche, un casque corinthien, un monogramme et un aigle sur un foudre tourné à droite.
Ex CGB

lysimachos.jpg.691c6601baf3f8c08ddeb6fc7381b535.jpg

Lysimachos 287/281 Perinthos. 17.08g
Kopf des vergöttlichten Alexander / Athena mit Nike-Statuette auf Cippus und Schild, Beiz. Monogramm und 2 gegenläufige Pferdeprotomen.
Thompson in Festschr. Robinson (1968), -, vgl. 256 HGC 1750q; Thompson, Armenak-Hoard (=ANS MN 31, 198 - Müller, Lysimachus - Arnold-Biucchi in Festschr. Price (1998) Unpublished variant(?)
Ex Dr Busso Peus Nachf

15. Who was the only Greek general to square off against Alexander's forces in battle and survive the encounter?

   Memnon of Rhodes - the two faced off in Halicarnassos, where Alexander earned a costly victory and Memnon escaped. Memnon later died in Mytilene.

memnon_of_rhodes.jpg.33b4816ba11ed67c0767ceed85df54ec.jpg

Memnon of Roads
Æ 8 mm, 0.62
Ex Savoca

16. What was reputed to be Alexander's mother Olympias' favorite animal?

   Snakes - She was reputed to sleep with them

Eleusis.jpg.c1d48d5594a7b7b828f08b1a3c63371a.jpg

Attica, Eleusinian festival
350-300 BCE
15.97mm 3.37g
Obverse: Triptolemos in winged car drawn by serpents left
Reverse: Eleusi, pig standing right on mystic staff, bucranium below
SNG Copenhagen 315
Ex Glenn Woods
Ex Marc Breitsprecher

17. What color was Alexander believed to wear on campaign?

   Purple - based off ancient sources and near-contemporary sculptures

alexander_diobol.jpg.1f7c657ad56a66ec6ac7aaca3824bd40.jpg

Alexander III 'the Great' AR Diobol
'Amphipolis', circa 336-323 BCE
Young head of Herakles to right, wearing lion skin headdress / ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ, two eagles standing facing one another on thunderbolt.
Price 155; HGC 3.1, 906. 1.32g, 11mm, 3h.
Ex Roma

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This is EPIC!!! I'm sorry I've been flaky on the forum. Work, family and then a little(LOT) of sex, drugs and rock n roll! keeping me busy and sad, but mostly busy. 

sex-pistols-1977-bw-billboard-1548.jpg.7211dbd8100ae20b6232473d370a1f98.jpg

Pleeeaaase DM me if you have a post, as I know it's gonna be right up my alley, to help *bump it as @Curtisimo taught me back on CT if you want to give your thread more time. You can do it or just ask me.  Zeus knows I've reached out to coin friends when I'm not getting traction on something that may need a bit more time😊

I am just in awe at your study and understanding of all the moving pieces we have to deal with when looking back at this time. 

Incredible Epiros shield!!! Count me peanut butter and jealous!

You would have had me hard at study with a few of these questions. I thought I had the trick question pegged as Antigonus Monophthalmus, as most his coins in his name are from his sons reign, Ala

IMG_2889.jpg.d9f1204ead6108dd67d73df00a4cae59.jpg2020781_1624895932.l-removebg-preview.png.48afd3e4a6f1ade4c0d63ca811d32b2c.png2422253_1639333767.l-removebg-preview.png.eb0b28309618c72489ce317490bd8ec5.pngIMG_1708.PNG.f5d56cf5c95a3003b267bf21610ad20f.PNG

And since I just won this today I'll share it here; Poor Lysimachos took and inferior land to the other Diadochi, Thrace. Cold, hard, barbaric, but at least it was a land for him to rule. And then, sadly, just like Alexander, after his death there was just a bunch of squabbling. His dynasty too would end with him. 

I have a busted Tetradrachm with a good portrait, but could not believe how much I stole this stunning portrait for this afternoon:

3240215_1662447291.l-removebg-preview.png.81ea3a99a68f4515b1b4134ca52dd850.pngKINGS of THRACE, Macedonian. Lysimachos. 305-281 BC. AR Drachm (17mm, 4.5 g). Uncertain mint. Struck circa 294-287 BC. Diademed head of the deified Alexander right, with horn of Ammon / Athena Nikephoros seated left, left arm resting on shield, transverse spear in background; to inner left.

Edited by Ryro
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3 hours ago, Ryro said:

Pleeeaaase DM me if you have a post, as I know it's gonna be right up my alley, to help *bump it as @Curtisimo taught me back on CT if you want to give your thread more time. You can do it or just ask me.  Zeus knows I've reached out to coin friends when I'm not getting traction on something that may need a bit more time😊

That's okay. I just figured the lack of responses was because I didn't offer a coin. I may pick up a few extras some time (we are doing secret-Saturnalia this year, right?) and at that time I'll see if I can make the quiz a bit tougher. 🙂 

3 hours ago, Ryro said:

Incredible Epiros shield!!! Count me peanut butter and jealous!

Funny, I've never thought of it as a MSC. Maybe it's an ESC? It was one of the cheapest coins I picked up, though it took ~2 months to arrive in the mail. 

3 hours ago, Ryro said:

I have a busted Tetradrachm with a good portrait, but could not believe how much I stole this stunning portrait for this afternoon:

KINGS of THRACE, Macedonian. Lysimachos. 305-281 BC. AR Drachm (17mm, 4.5 g). Uncertain mint. Struck circa 294-287 BC. Diademed head of the deified Alexander right, with horn of Ammon / Athena Nikephoros seated left, left arm resting on shield, transverse spear in background; to inner left.

That's a very nice Lysimachos! Also a challenge to pick up a deal nowadays.

I was murdalized at today's Savoca, probably due to the weak Euro and the tariff on UK auctions for the rest of Europe. It was one of those auctions where I went after six coins I really wanted, seven coins I kind of wanted, and one coin I determined I shouldn't have bid. I lost every one of the first six and won six of the seven remaining, plus the one I'd hoped to get outbid on. Oh well, at least it's rare and has some interesting history...

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