The Ancient Greeks are renowned for their works of art, and coins of the legendary king, Alexander “The Great”, we can see some of the finest examples ever minted. The most abundant portraits of Alexander coinage portray him as the great hero, Herakles, who is better known by the name “Hercules”, as he was called by the Romans. He was important to Alexander’s legacy of being a direct descendant from the Gods. You can see that he wears the skin of a Lion draped over his head. In Greek Mythology, Hercules had to prove his God status by accomplishing 12 labors - twelve humanly impossible tasks that only a God could accomplish. The first was to kill the Nemean Lion, a beast with skin so thick, it could not be penetrated by dagger, sword, or arrow.
Hercules, in a testament to his great strength and ingenuity, strangles the Lion with his bare hands, finally defeating it with his weapon of choice, a club torn from a nearby oak tree. From this point on, Hercules wears the skin of the Nemean Lion as his trophy, and throughout history- a man wearing the skin of a lion and holding a club: indicates Hercules, the son of Zeus. On the reverse of the coin we see Zeus, the king of the Greek Gods, seated on a throne, with a scepter and an eagle in his outstretched hand. These symbols of supreme authority symbolize Alexander’s status as leader over his vast Empire.