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JM33207

Macedon, Alexander III the Great, Silver Tetradrachm, field symbol grapes, from the final issues of his lifetime, at his chosen capital, Babylon.

Kings of Macedon, Alexander the Great (336-323 BC), silver Tetradrachm, Babylon c. 325-323 BC, head of Herakles wearing lionskin headdress right, rev. ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ, Zeus enthroned left, grapes in left field, monogram and M below throne, 17.13g, 6h (Pr 3642 ). Very fine / good very fine.

Alexander died at the Palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, in Babylon, in 323 BC and the accounts of his death are as legendary as his life. At the age of 32, after two days and nights of drinking with friends he succumbed to a fever and/or abdominal pain and was incapacitated for perhaps two weeks before dying. Some think he was poisoned while others think his symptoms suggest liver failure, acute pancreatitis, or an infectious disease such as typhoid.

Reportedly, his body didn't start to decompose - evidence to his contemporaries of his divine nature - but more recently it's been suggested he may have fallen into a comatose paralysis, alive and mimicking death for several days before he actually died.

With his body laid in a golden coffin filled with honey, his funeral cortege set off for Macedon but was intercepted by Ptolemy I who transferred his oldest friend's remains to Memphis. His successor, Ptolemy II, moved the body to Alexander's own great architectural project, Alexandria, where it was still an object of fascination well into the Roman period, being visited by emperors at least until the reign of Caracalla in the third century AD.

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