Alexander the Greatís Asian Campaign
and its Impact

Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) inherited the Macedonian kingdom from his father Philip II in 336 BC. After regaining Philipís position of hegemony within Greece, Alexander embarked on a great campaign against the Persian empire in 334 BC. By 325 he had defeated the Persians and extended his empire to the Indus river. Alexanderís policy was to merge the Greeks and Persians into a new, joint empire. In c. 330, he introduced a royal coinage based on the Attic Greek weight standard for the whole empire. This opened Central Asia to the Greek monetary economy.


Silver tetradrachm of Alexander the Great Map of Alexander the Great's Campaigns
Silver tetradrachm of Alexander the Great, mint of Memphis. © Fitzwilliam Museum Map of Alexander's campaign

When Alexander died suddenly, his generals and governors took over the different parts of his vast empire and founded the so-called Hellenistic kingdoms. Over the next six centuries, the Greek coinage system of Alexander and his eastern successors, the Seleucids, and Hellenistic art, continued to influence the coins struck by the rulers of successive empires and kingdoms in the region, such as the Bactrians, Scythians, Parthians and Sasanians. The native art and religion of each of these peoples also influenced the coinages they produced.

The Seleucids

The Bactrian Kingdom and its successors

Parthian and Sasanian Influence

The Kushans and Guptas

 


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Department of Coins and Medals, © Fitzwilliam Museum.