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Area/Ruler: Thrace: Lysimachos
Reigned: 323 BC - 281 BC
Denomination: AR Tetradrachm
Mint: Lampsakos
Date of Issue: 297/6-282/1 BC
Obverse: Diademed head of the deified Alexander right, with horn of Ammon.
Reverse: Athena Nikephoros seated left, left arm resting on shield, spear behind; aplustre to outer left, HP monogram to inner left. "ΒΑΣΙΛΙΩΣ ΛΥΣΙΜΑΧΟΥ"
Reference: Thompson 48; Mueller 356
Weight: 16.8 gms
Diameter: 27.4 mm
Comment: The image is one of the earliest true portraits to appear on a coin, and one of the finest. Undoubtedly made by a very gifted artist. The reverse , depicting Athena enthroned likewise proved very influential throughout history, forming the archetype for the figure of Britannia on modern English coins.


Lysimachus lived c. 361 BC - 281 BC and was a Macedonian officer and diadochus (i.e. "successor") of Alexander the Great, who became king in 306 BC, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedon.

Lysimachus was born in 362/361 BC, the second son of Agathocles, who was a nobleman of high rank and an intimate friend of Philip II of Macedon, who shared in Philip II's councils and became a favorite in the Argead court. Lysimachus and his brothers enjoyed prominent positions in Alexander's circle.

During Alexander's Persian campaigns, Lysimachus was one of his immediate bodyguards. In 324 BC, in Susa, he was crowned in recognition for his actions in India. After Alexander's death in 323 BC, he was appointed to the government of Thrace as strategos.

He supported the various coalitions that included Seleukos, Ptolemy and Kassandros against the growing power of Antigonus Monophthalmos. He married Amastris, a Persian princess in Heraclea. He followed the example of Antigonus in taking the title of king.

Feeling that Seleucus I was becoming dangerously great, Lysimachus now allied himself with Ptolemy I, marrying his daughter Arsinoe II of Egypt. Amastris, who had divorced herself from him, returned to Heraclea. When Antigonus I's son Demetrius I renewed hostilities (297 BC), during his absence in Greece, Lysimachus seized his towns in Asia Minor, but in 294 BC concluded a peace whereby Demetrius I was recognized as ruler of Macedonia.

In 288 BC, Lysimachus and Pyrrhus of Epirus in turn invaded Macedonia, and drove Demetrius I out of the country. Lysimachus left Pyrrhus of Epirus in possession of Macedonia with the title of king for around seven months before Lysimachus invaded. For a short while the two ruled jointly but in 285 BC Lysimachus expelled Pyrrhus.

When his former wife, Amastris, had been murdered by her two sons, Lysimachus put them to death. On his return from Heraclea, Arsinoe II asked the gift of the city, and he granted her request, though he had promised to free the city. In 284 BC Arsinoe II, wishing to gain the succession for her sons in preference to Lysimachus' first child, Agathocles, intrigued against him with the help of Arsinoe II's paternal half-brother Ptolemy Keraunos; they accused him of conspiring with Seleucus I to seize the throne, and Agathocles was put to death.

This atrocious deed of Lysimachus aroused great indignation. Many of the cities of Asia Minor revolted, and his most trusted friends deserted him. The widow of Agathocles and their children fled to Seleucus I, who at once invaded the territory of Lysimachus in Asia. In 281 BC, Lysimachus crossed the Hellespont into Lydia and at the Battle of Corupedium was killed. After some days his body was found on the field, protected from birds of prey by his faithful dog. Lysimachus' body was given over to another son Alexander, by whom it was interred at Lysimachia.

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