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Alexander the Great on Roman coins

  • Santoni, François
Publication Date
Jan 23, 2023
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The aim of this paper is to examine the image of Alexander the Great on Roman coins, from the gold statere of Flamininus to the (fake?) medallion of Caracalla from the Aboukir treasure. Only a few coins, Roman or provincial, directly represent Alexander (RPC I, 4036 ; RRC 402/1b ; BMC 81-85). The representation of the Macedonian on one of these coins, retained by certain scholars (D. Michel, Alexander als Vorbild für Pompeius, Caesar und Marcus Antonius, Latomus, 1967 ; B. Marshall, « An Aureus of Pompeius Magnus », Antichthon, 50 2016, 107-33 ; K. Kopij, « The context and dating of the Pompey’s Aureus (RRC 402) », Quaderni ticinesi, 45, 2016, 109-127) is moreover questionable and this paper could be the occasion to return to it.If the direct monetary representations of Alexander, Greek as well as Roman, have been widely and recently studied, notably by K. Dahmen (The legend of Alexander the Great on Greek and Roman coins, Routledge, 2007) some coins that may have a more or less direct link with Alexander are often left out. It will therefore also be necessary to take into account issues that do not directly feature Alexander (RIC I, Augustus 287 ; RRC 293/1 ; RRC 548/1a), but which can iconographically complete a Roman speech on the Macedonian. An example of this is the denarius RRC 293/1, which is rarely mentioned but is nevertheless crucial in the study of Pompey's imitatio Alexandri, in connection with a passage from Plutarch (Pompeius, 2, 2-4).The examination of these coins is not only a study of the Roman reception of Alexander, but also of the use of the image of the Macedonian as a tool for dialogue between Romans and Greeks.

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