About this artwork
The Hellenistic period spans the nearly three hundred years between the death of Alexander the Great of Macedonia (323 BC) and that of Cleopatra VII of Egypt (30 BC), a descendant of one of Alexander’s generals. The term Hellenistic is derived from Hellas, an ancient Greek word for Greece. It is used to describe both chronologically and culturally the era following Alexander’s conquest of Egypt and Asia, which resulted in the spread of Greek culture across a vast area. The melding of local and Greek artistic styles with the luxurious materials captured in the conquered lands resulted in magnificent artwork, including elegant coinage.
Following Alexander’s death, his empire was divided among his generals, who established independent kingdoms in Egypt; Persia; the eastern coast of the Aegean Sea, including Syria and Palestine; Greece and Macedonia; and Thrace. Almost immediately the generals began to covet each other’s land and power.
Like his predecessors, Antiochos III (reigned 223–187 BC) spent his reign trying to fold stray territories back into the original Seleucid empire. His efforts pitted him against other descendants of Alexander’s generals.
Antiochos was so preoccupied with his territorial squabbles that he overlooked the new regional power—Rome.
- Ancient Greek
- Tetradrachm (Coin) Portraying King Antiochus III The Great
- Ancient Near East
- 223 BCE–187 BCE
- Diam. 2.9 cm; 16.43 g
- Gift of William F. Dunham