Kings of Macedon. Philip II. 359-336 BC. Amphipolis, c. 315/4-295/4 BC

Kings of Macedon. Philip II. 359-336 BC. Amphipolis, c. 315/4-295/4 BC


AR Tetradrachm, 14.46g (24mm, 6h). Laureate head of Zeus facing right / Nude youth on horseback advancing right, ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟY, MI monogram beneath raised foreleg, Λ over torch below.

Pedigree: Ex Lanz Auction 123, 30 May 2005, lot 176

References: Le Rider pl. 47, 20. SNG ANS 769

Grade: Lovely classical depiction of Zeus. Minor overall wear. Toned and attractive surfaces. aEF (gk1238)

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The father of Alexander III, Philip II was powerful in his own right. Philip was the youngest son of Amyntas III and Eurydice I.  He was part of the Argead family line that began around 700 BC and were rulers of Macedon through 300 BC. They reportedly migrated from the city of Argos, hence the name Argead.  

Militarily, Philip II was very successful and he managed to strengthen the Macedonian Empire.  He was also athletic, actually winning with his race horse in the Olympic Games in 356 BC, the same year of his son Alexander’s birth.  

The Macedonian people were brought up to learn fighting and hunting.  It is said that a Macedonian had to wear a cord around his waist until he killed a man. Furthermore, the prerequisite to being seated at a table of his peers was to kill a wild boar.  They were heavy drinkers and outdoorsmen. The tragic poet Euripides was from this world and was inspired to write Bacchae from its influences.

Philip II was a born leader and at the tender age of 24 he was brought in to help rescue his country and the dynasty of his house.  His fighting methods of using horses were innovative and showed his absolute strength. The horsemen on the reverse of his coinage attests to this fact.

Philip II’s reign came to sudden close in 336 BC when at the marriage of his daughter, Cleopatra to Alexander I of Epirus, he was murdered by his bodyguard Pausanias. There is sheer speculation on why Pausanias killed him, either being put up to the task by Philip’s wife (and Alexander’s mother) Olympia or as retaliation in a dispute he had with the general Attalus where Philip sided with Attalus and not with Pausanias. Regardless, with Philip gone, his son Alexander III then took over as king.