Alexander’s silver coins: a millennial tale of influence

Alexander the Great has been a figure that has captivated people’s imagination for centuries. Whether revered as a brilliant pioneer of intercultural exchange or loathed as a bloodthirsty conqueror, the Macedonian general is still a figure of disputes and discussions more than 23 centuries after his death. Yet, his influence on the subsequent Hellenic and Roman periods is indisputable. However, only recently has one of the most important aspects of the legacy of Alexander come to light – his coinage. In this work, I focus on the huge impact Alexandrian coinage had not only on the Ancient but also in the Mediaeval period in East Iran, a region that has only recently come to the forefront of numismatic and historical research. I believe that traces of Alexander’s silver coinage and its influence can be found as far as the 8th century AD in these lands, which were among the last conquered by the great king.

To accomplish this task, I set about analyzing a number of different coins of various dynasties and periods in history, making my way from the successors of Alexander through the Parthian and Sassanian dynasties to the Hephtalite and Nezak rulers of Bukhara, Kabulistan, and Zabulistan, while using some of the most up-to-date sources on the topic. I wrote this essay as a final paper for my freshman seminar Alexander the Great: Life and Legacy, and I hope you enjoy your reading. I will be looking forward to any feedback or suggestions you may have