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    Description

    Warlike Ruler

    PTOLEMAIC EGYPT. Ptolemy III Eurgetes (246-222 BC). AV mnaieion or octadrachm (28mm, 27.79 gm, 12h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 3/5. Posthumous issue of Alexandria, under Ptolemy IV Philopator (221-204 BC). Bust of Ptolemy III right, radiate, diademed, draped and wearing aegis, trident-head over left shoulder, the central prong adorned with lotus finial / ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ, radiate and filleted cornucopia, ΔI below. Svoronos 1117. SNG Copenhagen 196. Minor discoloration on obverse, otherwise boldly struck on a broad flan, with flashy fields and detailed devices. NGC grade of Choice AU highly conservative in our view.

    The Ptolemaic dynasty's most warlike ruler, Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-222 BC) launched a massive invasion of the neighboring Seleucid Kingdom of Syria shortly after gaining the throne. Easily crushing all resistance, he even reached Babylon, where he proclaimed himself King of Kings. For a heady moment, Ptolemy III seemed to have gathered almost all of Alexander the Great's vast empire into his own hands. But instead of trying to step into Alexander's shoes, he wisely imposed severe terms on the Seleucids, annexed Palestine and Phoenicia, and returned to a rapturous welcome in Alexandria. Ptolemy III's powerful portrait appears on gold mnaieions struck by his son, Ptolemy IV Philopator, who succeeded him in 221 BC. The great conqueror appears almost bloated; while likely an accurate portrait, his well-fed appearance is also visual shorthand for Egypt's bountiful abundance. Ptolemy III also sports an array of godly attributes, including the rayed crown of Helios, the trident of Poseidon, and the aegis of Zeus. The reverse depicts a cornucopia, again symbolizing the plenty of Egypt.


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    Auction Dates
    January, 2017
    8th-9th Sunday-Monday
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