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    Description

    Alexander the Molossian

    CALABRIA. Tarentum. Ca. 334-331 BC. AV half-stater (14mm, 4.22 gm, 3h).  Time of Alexander the Molossian, circa 334-332 BC. TAΡΑΝΤΙΩΝ, head of Hera right, wearing stephane; E behind head / TAPAΣ, nude Taras astride dolphin left, holding dolphin in extended right hand, trident in left, T (horizontal) - K below. Vlasto 5. SNG ANS 955. SNG Copenhagen 831, HN Italy 902. Rare. NGC VF 3/5 - 4/5, Fine Style.

    The Epirote King Alexander I "the Molossian" was the brother of Olympias and uncle to both Alexander III "the Great" and Pyrrhus, later king of Epirus. Like his cousins, he was anxious for military glory and raised a considerable army in search of new lands to conquer. In 334 BC, while Alexander the Great was attacking the Persian Empire, Alexander the Molossian turned his attentions westward in response to entreaties from Tarentum in Italy to help them fight off several aggressive Italic tribes. He won a key victory over the Samnites and Lucanians in 332 BC, after which he signed a peace treaty with nascent Rome; however, as with Pyrrhus a few decades later, his victories proved both costly and ephemeral. In 331 BC, a battle at Pandosia went against him and he was killed while trying to escape. His presence in Tarentum saw the striking of a limited gold coinage, including this rare type, intended to pay the Epirote and Greco-Italian soldiers in his service. 


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    4th-5th Sunday-Monday
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