Alexander the Great Conquered Babylon

The Persian Achaemenid Empire ruled Babylon for about two hundred years. They were the first super power of the ancient world. Their vast empire reached from India down to Egypt and all the way up to the northern border of Greece. The Achaemenids were an unstoppable force until Alexander did the unthinkable. Alexander the Great conquered Babylon and defeated the Achaemenids in 331 BCE. Alexander’s actions change the entire ancient world.

Alexander learned to be a great leader and powerful imperialist from his father Philip II. He also learned to be a battle strategist. Moreover, he knew what the odds would be against an outmatched manpower. But, despite the odds Alexander relied on speed and distraction to achieve victory after victory. Subsequently, Alexander the Great conquered Babylon giving his army a huge decisive victory. A success that gave him the confidence and the momentum to continue marching on towards the east.

Babylon was Alexander the Great’s greatest conquest and “to the victor belong the spoils.” Giving proof to the proverb that the winner is entitled to all of the rewards, bonuses, and benefits of success. Consequently, Alexander’s troops and generals needed to share in those spoils. The spoils that included hoards of gold coins minted by the Persians.

Alexander melted down the Persian coins to re-mint gold double darics. He kept the same Persian features of a kneeling king or hero holding a bow and spear on the front of the coin. This was done in homage and respect of the mighty Persians. However, it was also propaganda to prove that the mighty Macedonian army were not only the victors, but also a generous new leader.

Babylonian Gold Double Daric

Alexander the Great’s gold double daric struck in Babylon is one of the true rarities of the Alexander the Great Series. Upon Alexander’s invasion of central Asia, darics and double darics melted down and recoined as coins of Alexander are quite rare today. To clarify, only a handful of them even exist.

Double darics are far more difficult to find than the regular gold darics. To find a double daric today that commemorated Alexander the Great conquered Babylon is a newsworthy occurrence. This is a very important coin dating back over 2,300 years and is a rare find in any condition.

What Persian Darics were used for.

An ancient Persian Gold Daric is a high-purity gold piece and weighs approximately 8.4 grams. This weight is based on an ancient weight standard.

The Daric was also referred to as a Babylonian shekel. It was called a shekel because it was equivalent to one month’s pay for a mercenary foot soldier. We know what Persian Darics were used for. Persian Darics were some of the first coins ever used as currency. Currency was a new concept, because in ancient times bartering was the norm.

One daric could be exchanged for 20 silver sigloi. This was a daric’s silver currency counterpart. It was a period in the ancient world that the concept of currency as trade started. Archeologist unearthed hoards of darics and sigloi from Sicily to Afghanistan. This area was all part of the former Persian Empire. It was also proof that the concept of currency spread quickly.

Unique Persian Gold Daric

Our video below shows a unique Persian Gold Daric. It is from the Achaemenid Empire, c.5th Century BC. However, it is slightly different than virtually every other Daric. There have been thousands of typical ones found. Furthermore, only recently were new coins like the one below uncovered in Turkey.

10 Gold Darics were found with a formerly unused symbol. Usually there is a king with bows, arrows, and daggers. For the very first time we see the use of a cross underneath the king.

Some PhD’s suggest it’s a crucifix. Not to symbolize Christ. Jesus Christ didn’t come around for another 400 years. These experts believe it symbolizes the mighty Persian army crucifying those who would not obey them.

Ideas are swirling! Other experts have suggested the symbol is an anchor. In addition, they believe it refers to the Persian naval fleets. In conclusion, we may never know. We do know what Persian Darics were used for. It was the first time coins were used for currency and trade. After that, we are not too sure. Most importantly, why was a cross stamped on only a few examples and only recently found.

Could the cross have been stamped to send a message to the people and was it for propaganda? These questions and discoveries are what makes ancient coins so much more fun to collect!