Collection History: Donated by the Classics Department, 1937
Alexander III. Babylon mint.
The immense coinage of Alexander the Great was minted largely to pay soldiers to conquer the world. When Alexander started his expedition in 336 BCE, he was in debt, his treasury almost empty, and he had to borrow money to start his conquest. As he conquered territory, he raided treasuries and sold the indigenous people into slavery, initially as in the case of Thebes who opposed him, even if they were other Greeks. By the time this coin was minted in Babylon, Alexander’s treasuries were full. This was necessary as it required 30,000 coins like this one to run Alexander’s army for a day, and 120,000,000 like it for the eleven years of his campaign. Even though some payments were made in coins ¼ the weight of this one, drachms, and some in lighter gold coins having 2 ½ times the value called staters, this tetradrachm is an example of the most common denomination and was minted during the campaign. John Nebel 2013.
See Bibliography for sources.