Silver decadrachm of Alexander the Great

British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

In 326 BC Alexander the Great's conquest of the world had taken him as far east as India, where he fought a successful battle at the River Hydaspes with the Indian king Porus. It is generally accepted that this coin is from a series issued by the victorious Alexander, perhaps after his return to Babylon in 324 BC, although there is no firm evidence for its place of production, and Alexander's name is absent from these coins and their accompanying issues.If they were issued by Alexander then they are remarkable historical documents. On the front of the coin is depicted a figure on horseback, presumably Alexander, attacking a figure riding an elephant, perhaps intended to represent Porus, or a generic Indian warrior. On the back is a standing figure wearing a Macedonian cloak, a Persian head-dress and Greek armour. He is almost certainly intended to represent Alexander the Great, but carries in his hand a thunderbolt, a clear sign of divinity. If Alexander was the issuer of these coins, it is undeniable that he is making claims to divinity in his own lifetime.


  • Title: Silver decadrachm of Alexander the Great
  • Physical Dimensions: Weight: 39.660g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Registration number: 1926,0402.1
  • Period/culture: Greek
  • Material: silver
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum

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