323-317 BC Phillip III AR Drachm MS*

MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Philip III Arrhidaeus (323-317 BC). AR drachm (18mm, 4.29 gm, 12h). NGC MS ★ 5/5 - 5/5. Ionia, Magnesia, ca. 323-319 BC. Head of Heracles right, wearing lion skin headdress / ΦIΛIΠΠOY, Zeus seated left, holding eagle in right hand and scepter in left; thyrsus in left field. Price P51. Superb strike, beautiful surfaces, with light iridescent toning. A real gem of a coin and one of the finest we have ever seen.

Philip III Arrhidaeus (c. 359 BC – 25 December, 317 BC) reigned as king of Macedonia from after 11 June 323 BC until his death. He was a son of King Philip II of Macedon by Philinna of Larissa, and thus an elder half-brother of Alexander the Great. Named Arrhidaeus at birth, he assumed the name Philip when he ascended to the throne.

As Arrhidaeus grew older it became apparent that he had mild learning difficulties. Plutarch was of the view that he became disabled by means of an attempt on his life by Philip II's wife, Queen Olympias, who wanted to eliminate a possible rival to her son, Alexander, through the employment of pharmaka (drugs/spells); however, most modern authorities doubt the truth of this claim.

Alexander was fond of Arrhidaeus and took him on his campaigns, both to protect his life and to prevent his use as a pawn in any prospective challenge for the throne. After Alexander's death in Babylon in 323 BC, the Macedonian army in Asia proclaimed Arrhidaeus as king; however, he served merely as a figurehead and as the pawn of a series of powerful generals.

 

 


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