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    Demetrius The Besieger

    MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Demetrius Poliorcetes (305-283 BC). AR tetradrachm (31mm, 16.77 gm, 6h).  Amphipolis, Ca. 291-290 BC. Diademed head of Demetrius right, with bull's horn / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΔHMHTΡIOΥ, Poseidon seated left on rock, holding aphlaston in extended right hand and trident in left, Phrygian helmet in inner left field. Newell 136, pl. XIV, 3. Excellent portrait struck in high relief on a broad flan. Slight obverse double-striking, otherwise Toned. NGC AU 4/5 - 3/5.

    From The California Collection.

    The most dashing of Alexander's successors, Demetrius I Poliorcetes was the son of the great Macedonian general Antigonus Monopthalmus ("one-eyed"), who served both Philip II and Alexander III the Great. After Alexander's death, Demetrius led armies in support of his father's claim to supreme power. He won a signal naval victory in 306 BC at Salamis against the Ptolemaic fleet and, along with his father, accepted the title Basileos ("king"), ending the fiction that the Diadochi were ruling a united government. In 305 BC Demetrius subjected Rhodes to a titanic siege, employing the largest and most elaborate artillery engines and battle towers yet constructed. Ultimately unsuccessful, the siege still won him the epithet Poliorcetes ("besieger"). He had more success ruling Macedon 301-288 BC, but his extravagance and capricious nature eventually proved his undoing and he spent his waning years in comfortable Seleucid captivity. The dynasty he established endured in Macedon until 168 BC. His handsome visage is clearly shown on this striking tetradrachm of Amphipolis; he adopts a bull's horn as a symbol of divinity, counterpoint to the ram's horn seen on the coins struck by his rival Lysimachus. The reverse image of Poseidon recalls the naval victory at Salamis.


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