A beautifully toned stater from Olympia struck in the year of Alexander's accession to the throne
Lot 699
ELIS. Olympia. 111th Olympiad, 336 BC. Stater (Silver, 25 mm, 12.00 g, 9 h), Hera mint. F-A Head of Hera to right, wearing ornamented stephanos inscribed F[AΛ]EIΩN, triple-pendant earring and pearl necklace. Rev. Eagle standing left, wings spread and head to right, on oval rock; all within olive wreath. BCD Olympia 159 (same obverse die). BMFA 1219 = Warren 932 (same dies). Seltman 344 (FG/ιψ). Beautifully toned and struck on good metal. Light doubling on the reverse and with a thin flan crack, otherwise, very fine.


From a Swiss collection and that of T.B. Cederlind, Classical Numismatic Group E-Auction 390, 1 February 2017, 116.

Seltman dated this lovely stater to the 111th Olympiad in 336 BC, which is the year of the murder of Philip II and the accession of his son Alexander to the throne. This connects the coin to both the Macedonian king as well as to the famous Athenian Pankratiast Dioxippos (Pankration was an Olympic boxing and wrestling sport), whose reputation as a fighter was such that no other athlete dared to take him on at the Olympic Games in 336 BC. As the unchallenged Olympic champion, Dioxippos was greatly admired by Alexander and he accompanied the king on his epic campaign against the Persian Empire. However, the story took a tragic turn during the Macedonian invasion of India in 326/5, when Dioxippos was challenged to a duel by the highly respected veteran Macedonian soldier Korragos. Unperturbed, the experienced Pankratiast faced his heavily armed opponent nude and oiled, and armed solely with a club. To the great embarrassment of the Macedonian spectators, Dioxippos easily defeated and disarmed Korragos, who was spared from being killed only due to Alexander's intervention. Rumors about Alexander's dissatisfaction with Dioxippos soon led to a plot against the celebrated sportsman, in the course of which Macedonian soldiers placed a golden cup under his pillow and then accused him of theft. Indignant at the assault on his honor, Dioxippos wrote an outraged letter to Alexander in which he explained the plot, before committed suicide by falling on his sword, as had Ajax the Telamonian famously done in the Trojan War to wipe out his disgrace. It is reported that Alexander grieved deeply over the death of the Pankratiast, whom he had admired for his skills but failed to protect from the intrigues of his own men.
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Closing time: 22-May-21, 15:49:00 CEST
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