Object Based Learning

Philip III Arrhidaeus Silver Tetradrachm


07A25 is a silver tetradrachm, minted in Babylon, Mesopotamia in the 4th century BCE (between 323BC and 317BC). On its Obverse, it depicts the head of the beardless Heracles facing right, indicated through the lion skin headdress adorned on his head. A dotted border lines the northern and southern perimeters. The coin’s Reverse depicts the Olympian deity Zeus, seated on a stool-throne facing left, with an eagle resting in the palm of his right hand and a sceptre in his left. To the left is the monogram ‘M’ and beneath the throne of Zeus is a unique issue mark, symbolic of the coin’s minting in Babylon. At the base of the throne in exergue is the inscription ‘ΑΣΙΛΕΩ’ or ‘ASILEO’ of the word ‘Basileos’ meaning ‘King.’ In addition, along the right edge is the inscription ‘ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟΥ᾽ which directly translates to ‘of Philip’. Thus, based on the date of commission and inscription, this coin was commissioned in the likeness of King Philip III Arrhidaeus, the illegitimate half-brother of Alexander the Great and subsequent ruler of the Kingdom of Macedonia immediately following his brother’s untimely death in June 323B.C. At the time of Alexander’s death in Babylon, Philip, as the closest living male relative of Alexander, was elected to take his place. Merely a nominal King, King Philip III Arrhidaeus shared his power with Alexander’s posthumous son Alexander IV, who was not yet of age to assume the throne. In order to solidify and stabilise his rule, Philip issued his coins in the Alexander-type, with the only major difference between their coins being the inscription down the side that now read ‘ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟΥ᾽ or ‘of Philip’ instead of ‘ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ’ meaning ‘of Alexander.’ King Philip III Arrhidaeus’ reign is attributed to six years and four months, when in late 317B.C., his execution, alongside his wife Eurydice was ordered by his step-mother Olympias (mother of Alexander the Great). Thus, Philip Arrhidaeus served as the penultimate King of the Macedonian Argead Dynasty, and was ultimately used as a pawn in the hands of the successors in the Wars of the Diadochi.


Philip III Arrhidaeus Silver Tetradrachm
Numismatics,Coins,Artefact,Archaeology,Daily Life,Greece,
Modern History (Year 11 & 12), Ancient History (Year 11 & 12)
323-317 BCE
Babylon, Southern Mesopotamia
30mm diameter
Australian Centre for Ancient Numismatic Studies, ACANS


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ACANS (2024). Philip III Arrhidaeus Silver Tetradrachm, 07A25. //sveltekit-prerender/artefacts/07a25/ (accessed on: Tue Apr 16 2024).

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