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Besieged by Alexander the Great


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As I've built my "Philip II, Alexander III, and the Age of the Diadochi" collection, I've begun several-sub collections. This is the first one that's "almost" complete - in that I'm sure I'll figure out another coin that belongs to it. The sub-collection consists of those cities Alexander the Great besieged, represented by coins minted around the time of the siege. Note that Alexander besieged many other cities than these - especially in Baktria and India - but as far as we know they didn't mint coins at the time.

Halikarnassos was the setting of the famed "show-down" between Alexander and Memnon of Rhodes.


CARIA. Halikarnassos
Mid 4th-3rd centuries BCE
Chalkous AE 12 mm, 1.04 g, 12 h
Laureate head of Apollo to left. Rev. AΛI Eagle standing left; to left, lyre.
BMC 18. Karl 133-137. SNG Copenhagen 346-7. SNG Keckman 50
Ex J. Metzger Collection
Ex Nomos

Miletos was Alexander's first siege against the Persians.


IONIA. Miletos
Circa 350-325 BCE
Bronze, 11 mm, 2.38 g
Lion standing left, looking back; above, monogram of Miletos. Rev. Stellate pattern. Deppert-Lippitz 297-303. Weber 6041
Ex J. Metzger Collection
Ex Nomos

Tyre was Alexander's most exhausting siege, involving a causeway that still exists to the island.


Phoenicia. Tyre. ‘Uzzimilk
RY 10 = 340/39 BCE
Shekel Silver, 20 mm, 8.21 g, 12 h
Deity, holding reins in his right hand and bow in his left, riding hippocamp to right above two lines of waves; below, dolphin right.
Rev. Owl standing right, head facing; crook and flail in background; to right, date and ' (in Phoenician).
DCA 918. E&E-T 1146-8. HGC 10, 349
Ex collection of Dr. A. Drakul.
Ex Leu

Gaza may have been his bloodiest siege. Its king, Batis, so enraged Alexander that he dragged him like Hector through the town.


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

The destruction of Thebes stunned the Greeks and pretty much removed the thought of rebellion. This coin was minted a good deal before the siege, though I've often wondered if its owner never made it back from the encounter.


Thebes, Boeotia
AR stater 368-364 BCE
12.062g 21.2mm
Kabi magistrate
BCD Boiotia 539, BMC Central p.83, 150; SNG Cop 339; Hepworth 61
Ex Forum Ancient Coins

And here's a bonus coin from a city that Alexander didn't take. The "attack" against Myndos (near to Halikarnassos) failed, so Alexander pulled back. It was taken over a year later by one of his generals. Evidently since this was an "attack" and not a "siege" and it was taken later, it didn't officially count on his win-loss record. I also have another coin on the way from Sillyon, who also repulsed Alexander. Rather than finishing the siege, he moved on to Thebes.


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


Let's see some of your coins from sieges!

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Great spread! And very fun collecting theme😃

Speaking of besieging, here's Demetrios, son of a massive man, mind and one of Alexander's best generals, Antigonos Monophthalmus, who was known as a bit of a besieger himself, Poliorketes:


His portrait:


He may have besieged a little place called Rhodos that might've created one of the world's 7 wonders with the parts he left them after an unsuccessful siege:


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This coin was minted at Halikarnassos a few years before the siege. 

Ar Stater of Pixodaros 341-340 BC Obv Head of Apollo facing slightly to the right Slight drapery around neck Rv Zeus Labraundos standing  right. Pixodaros Hoard 12f This Coin 6.19 grms 20 mm Photo by W. hansenpixodarus5.jpg.e64aabe11af410a02548b73695f2a0b0.jpg

The Hekatominid Dynasty is responsible for some of the more impressive coins minted in the ancient world. They clearly took their inspiration from the 3/4 facing heads adopted from some of the other Greek city states all of whom ultimately got their inspiration from the tetradrachm of Kimon featuring a three quarters facing head of Arethusa. It is interesting to see that once the type was seen other engravers took up the challenge of trying to reproduce this very difficult type. This coin is relatively successful and though it is found late in the series, still displays a level of technical compentency.

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Fun collection @kirispupis

Here is another Halicarnassus. (I’ll take any excuse to post this one 😀)


Satraps of Caria
AR Tetradrachm, Halikarnassus mint, struck ca. 377 - 352 BC
Dia.: 23 mm
Wt.: 15.06 g
Obv.: Laureate head of Apollo facing three-quarters right
Rev.: MAYΣΣΩΛΛO, Zeus Labraundos standing right
Ref.: BMC 1 var; SNG Von Aulock 2359 var.; Traité II, 91
Ex Roma Auction II, lot 302 (Oct. 2, 2011)

Edited by Curtisimo
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A nice post and interesting collection theme & coins, @kirispupis.  Here's my favorite siege coin...minted while the siege was underway.

Kurzuwan Siege coin

This coin was struck by an anonymous "Malik", a city governor who remained in Kurzuwan with the city under siege by Ghengis Khan weeks before the city was taken and destroyed by the Mongol army. Stephen Album describes this coin as "one of the very few identifiable siege coins of the Islamic world".  The coin is dated Rabi’ II AH 618 (May-June AD 1221).  The siege lasted for a few weeks, the city fell in July 1221.


Notes: Coins of the Silk Road

7 hours ago, Curtisimo said:

Here is another Halicarnassus. (I’ll take any excuse to post this one 😀)

Understandable - it is an amazing coin!

Edited by Sulla80
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