KINGDOM OF EGYPT Ptolemy I (323-318 BC) Silver Tétradrachme.
Head of Alexander the Great right, horned and wearing elephant skin. Reverse show AΛEΞANΔPOY, Athena Alkidemos striding right, with raised spear & shield, a Corinthian helmet above the eagle on the far right. This coin illustrates the general tendency of Ptolemaic coins to use Greek religious symbols and Greek inscriptions.
When Alexander came to Egypt, he Egyptians were glad to be rid of the Persians who forced Persian customs and religion on the country. They deified the Greek leader. Alexander’s general Ptolemy was appointed satrap (governor) of Egypt in 323 BCE. After Alexander’s death in 305 BCE, he established a dynasty that lasted almost 300 years.
Some of the earliest coins minted by Ptolemy I feature an idealised portrait of his predecessor with a ram’s horn. The aegis of Zeus, an impenetrable goat skin, is tied around his neck. He wears an elephant scalp as a headdress commemorating his victories in India. The ram’s horn is traditionally associated with Alexander’s journey to the oracle of Zeus-Ammon. Alexander went on an arduous journey to Siwa in the Libyan desert, accompanied by Ptolemy. There, he was recognised by an oracle as the son of Zeus-Ammon, a god of Egyptian origin with Libyan and Greek components. Such divine lineage legitimised his rule over an empire that embraced multiple cultures.
Weight: 15.65 g.