While Alexander the Great was forging his vast empire in the east, the Romans had been expanding in the west and now began making inroads for Greece. They found willing allies in Pergamum and Rhodes, who feared Syrian and Macedonian expansionism. The Romans defeated the Seleucid king, Antiochus III, in a three-year campaign and in 189 B.C. gave all of Asia Minor to Pergamum. Several wars were needed to subjugate Macedon, but in 168 B.C. Macedon lost the decisive Battle of Pydnaa and was turned into a Roman province 20 years later. Under Roman rule, the region’s economy was controlled by the quaestor, any of various public officials responsible for finance and administration in several areas of government and the military in ancient Rome. Aesillas, the quaestor under whom this coin was minted, clearly manipulated his influence into a position of power symbolized by this coin.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of long forgotten empires. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine- made currencies. This magnificent coin is an artifact recording the Roman rule of Macedon, homeland of Alexander the Great, passed down from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation. - (C.3033)