'Not Just a Pretty Face': Interpretations of 'Alexander Imagery' on Coins from the Hellenic East

The American Numismatic Society


‘Not Just a Pretty Face’: Interpretations of ‘Alexander Imagery’ on Coins from the Hellenic East

by Shailendra Bhandare

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

6:00 pm Reception
6:30 pm Lecture
at the ANS, 140 William St., New York, NY

please R.S.V.P. to Megan Fenselau at (212) 571-4470 ex. 1311 ormembership@numismatics.org by July 9.

If you are interested in participating in this lecture via webcast, please email Megan Fenselau at membership@numismatics.org A.S.A.P. A webcast of this event is dependant on a minimum of 12 participants.

‘Not Just a Pretty Face’: Interpretations of ‘Alexander Imagery’ on Coins from the Hellenic East

Osmund Bopearachchi, noted numismatist of the Bactrian and Indo-Greek series has recently published a unique gold coin which he contends to bear the earliest and lifetime portrait of Alexander the Great. The lecture will analyse this contention and past interpretations upon which it rests, in particular the ways in which imagery from the so-called ‘Porus Coinage’ has been interpreted. It will offer insights into discourse-based dynamics involved in such interpretations and demonstrate how, from a historical viewpoint, these have contributed to some long-held convictions about the ‘Porus Coinage’. After presenting evidence for and contra these propositions, the discussion will address the veracity of contention it started with, i.e. the portrait of Alexander on the gold coin published by Bopearachchi.

Shailendra Bhandare is Assistant Keeper of South Asiancoins at the Heberden Coin Room of Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford. In the past he has worked at the Department of Coins and Medals of the British Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge. He has contributed on a variety of topics and themes in Indian numismatics.

Featured: Macedonia, AR, 36mm., c. 323 BC, (ANS 1959.254.86)
Obv: Alexander on horseback, attacking Porus and mahout on elephant
Rev: Alexander holding fulmen and spear about to be crowned by Nike