13 Elements of “Globalization” in Ancient Iranian Numismatics

Andrea Gariboldi

Download Chapter




Gariboldi, Andrea (2014). Elements of “Globalization” in Ancient Iranian Numismatics. In: Melammu: The Ancient World in an Age of Globalization. Berlin: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften.

13.1 The Exchange of Numismatic Patterns between East and West

In a recent contribution Joe Cribb has shown the importance of Greek culture as a source of coinage tradition in Central Asia (Cribb 2007). The distinctive nature of such a long monetary history originates from the Greek world that facing the nomadic and the Iranian cultures, slowly modified itself, still maintaining after many imitative issues its primitive marker of Greek continuity for over a thousand years.

The soldiers who followed Alexander carried with them many Greek coins (Rtveladze 2007, 195–198), and the subsequent foundation of Greek colonies in Central Asia also facilitated the diffusion of Greek monetary types, although Greek coins were mostly minted in the East after Alexander’s death, by his successors. Such posthumous issues continued for a long time some typical iconographic models, such as the portrait of the deified Alexander wearing a lion scalp, in the guise of a young Heracles, soon adopted by Seleucus I. These coins usually represent the king’s bust with divine attributes, on the obverse, and, on the reverse, a full-figure deity closely associated with the ruler or his dynasty, like Zeus, Athena, Heracles or Apollo. Heracles, in particular, was considered to be an ancestor of the Argead dynasty, but he was also an ideal protector of the king, since Heracles was first human and later an immortal god, thus forming a perfect link between man and god. On some Hellenistic coins of Bukhara and southern Sogdiana we find Heracles as well as Heracles and Zeus (Zejmal 1983, 244–246; Cribb 2007, 363–364, respectively).

The debated problem of the ontological status of the Hellenistic rulers, whether they were considered or considered themselves divine beings, at first arose with Alexander, and later it also deeply influenced the Iranian conception of kingship. Alexander, to tell the truth, was well conscious of his human nature and, according to Plutarch, he used to say that in his veins ran blood, not ichor (that is, the gods’ fluid, in Alex. 28, 2–3). However, with the Barbarians, he behaved as if he really were “of divine descent” (ek theou geneseōs). It is important to stress that this formula is closely echoed in the well known (but still puzzling) ek genous theōn of the Greek version of the famous Šābuhr’s royal inscription, that clearly was a sentence of Hellenistic derivation, targeting the Greek people living in the Persian empire (Panaino 2009, 209–256). Alexander’s propaganda, in fact, was so rooted in Iran that it never disappeared (Gnoli 1995, 175; Gignoux 2007; Di Branco 2011). The myth of Alexander was resumed again during the Roman campaigns in the Near East in the third century CE, even affecting the self-representation of the Sassanians, who chose to use Dārā (Darius) to counter the incessant Roman propaganda focusing on Alexander. In the Codex Manichaicus Coloniensis, for instance, we may note the curious epithet of Dariardaxar referred to Ardašīr I (Daryaee 2007, 91–92; Gnoli 2003, 46–47). The emperor Caracalla considered himself a descendant of Alexander and openly imitated him during his Parthian campaigns,1 as well as the first Sasanian monarch could claim that Dārā was his ancestor. This pseudo-historical tradition was probably contained in the lost Xwadāy-nāmag, “The Book of the Lords,” that seems to be the source of Ardašīr’s genealogy as stated by the Pahlavi text Kārnāmag ī Ardašīr ī Pābagān, “The Deeds of Ardašīr son of Pābag,” where Ardašīr I said to stem from the parentage of Sāsān and “from the lineage of king Darius” (nāf ī dārāy šāh) (Huyse 2003, 68; KAP III 19; Daryaee 2002, 4–5).

The habit to assume some divine characteristics was maintained by Alexander’s followers. Ptolemy I, for instance, as Alexander’s successor in Egypt, wears the goatskin mantle of Zeus, and his coins in name of Alexander show the bold Macedonian ruler with an elephant scalp, adorned with the horn of Zeus Ammon, to celebrate his conquest of India. Seleucus I and Demetrius Poliorcetes bear the bull’s horns, whilst Lysimachus carries the ram’s horns of Zeus Ammon. All these attributes clearly evoke Alexander’s visit to the temple of Zeus in Egypt (331 BCE), where he was recognised as son of this god.2

Actually, the exchange of communications between East and West was not restricted to royal ideology and iconography. In fact, we could say that the ancient economy also tended to a sort of ”globalization”. Thus the weight-system of the Hellenistic coins was the Athenian one, and it was maintained and locally adapted both by Alexander and by the Seleucids. It was even used as weight standard by the Parthians. Another important borrowing from the Seleucids was the adoption on Parthian coins of the Greek legend (in vertical lines), in order to identify the issuing authority, although on the first coins of Arsaces Aramaic inscriptions also appear. Furthermore, coins became an important means of transmission for the kings propagandistic messages (Dąbrowa 2008, 29–30). In occasion of the fifth Melammu Symposium held in Innsbruck (October 2002), I focused on the case of the royal title Theopator on Seleucid and Parthian coins, as a significant example of ideology of sacral kingship and as political propaganda message. The title Theopator, “one who has a father who is a god,” was specifically invented to legitimate Alexander Balas (150–145 BCE) as Seleucid king and son of the great Antiochus IV, hence this name probably inspired the titling of Phraates II, as son of Mithradates I Theos3 and Artabanos I.This supervised use of the power of the images and of the words, was a basic innovation of Hellenistic politics reflected on coinage. Each monetary system, in fact, is merely a convention and there is no compelling reason that a coin should be a round metal object, showing designs on both faces. In Mesopotamia, for example, before the Achaemenid time, people adopted silver bracelets as coins, bars or plain globules of metal; in Afghanistan circulated silver bent bar-shaped coins with non pictorial impressions, these latter coins were also employed in the Gandhāra region. These bars inspired the beginning of the Indian currency (Bopearachchi 1999, 83–85).

Thus, we may say that the importance of Alexander’s legacy is great also in the field of Iranian coinage. In relation to the monetary system of Central Asia can we talk about a “Greek globalization,” which started with Alexander? This question is only apparently modern, for we use the word “globalization,” a word invented by social science that was later misused by economists, from the 1980s onwards. But Plutarch, in his de Alexandri fortuna (Moralia 331E–332D), attributes to Alexander the noble wish of unifying the world of the Barbarians with the Greek one, following the Greek model of peace and justice, and the Macedonian also expresses the will to spread Greek philosophy as far as India. Alexander, according to Plutarch, even felt the need to “strike new coins and to forge (paracharattein) the pieces of the Barbarians with the mark of the Greek government.”4 So the biographer of Cheronea seems sure that Alexander intended to “globalize” the world through Greek culture. This pattern of historiography became a topos starting from Droysen (1877), who stressed Alexander’s supposed Verschmelzungspolitik, “policy of fusion.”5 This idea persists until modern times: but does it really correspond to Alexander’s will? Or maybe the diffusion of Hellenism was a phenomenon on which Alexander himself had no control?

The analysis of the coins, as it has been underlined by Le Rider (2003), reveals that Alexander actually never imposed his coin types, which were created in the West, on the Barbarians. In fact, no new mint was opened in Babylon or East of the Tigris, and darics were still issued, in continuity with the local tradition. Moreover, Athenian or pseudo-Athenian coins amply circulated in the Eastern provinces of the Achaemenid empire, accepted by weight (Schlumberger 1953).

In this prudent monetary policy it is recognizable the same pragmatism that suggested to Alexander to behave in Persia as “friend” of Cyrus,6 and to promote the cult of the founder of the Achaemenid empire, after the restoration of his royal tomb in Persepolis.7 Alexander followed a political continuity that provided for the natural transmission of the power from the Achaemenids directly to the Greeks. As soon as he came to Babylon, even though he was preceded by very bad omina from the Chaldeans (they said that a criminal was sitting on the throne of Babylon (Panaino 2000, 42) he tried to substitute himself for Darius, assuming the late Achaemenid titling of “King of the Lands” (LUGAL KUR.KUR) and “King of the Universe” (LUGAL ŠÚ), according to some astronomic Babylonian tablets which refer to Alexander’s early achievements against Darius.8

13.2 Two International Coinages: “Owls” and “Archers”

Before Alexander only two coinages were diffused at an “international” level: on the one hand, the Athenian coins with the typical representation of Athena’s head, on the obverse, and the owl, on the reverse (Le Rider 2001, Pl. 8, 7); on the other hand, the darics carrying the image of the Great King as archer (Carradice 1987, Type IIIb; Le Rider 2001, Pl. 5, 13). Athens, following the creation of the first Delio-Attic league in 477 BCE, forced its allies to use the Athenian coinage, in order to increment its economic and fiscal revenues. But the diffusion of the “owls” (glaukes) implied also a strong assertion of self-identity.

The Persians were the first ones to recognize the importance of the propagandistic significance of the coins, and soon introduced a monetary tradition which lasted for centuries. The idea was simple but effective: Darius I, around 510 BCE, ordered his form/image (charakter) be struck on lenticular globules of pure metal, in place of the zoomorphic figures of Cresus’ coins (560–546 BCE).9 There were no inscriptions on Achaemenid coins, but the mighty image of the Great King of the Persians circulated everywhere. The king was represented crowned, with the regal vest and carrying bow and arrows; he looked, therefore, quite menacing. The Greeks were afraid of these “archers” (toxotai), both on the battlefield and as economic rivals. The image of the royal archer is present also on provincial and dynastic coins of Asia Minor.

It seems to me interesting to remark that the Persians learned to use coins from the Lydians, but they were soon able to invent the first imperial monetary system in history. Darius’s reform was extremely important, because it was introduced a kind of bimetallism, based on a fixed ratio of exchange between gold and silver (1:13). In fact, one daric equals 20 shekels, and 6000 shekels make a talent. The division of the Persian talent into 6000 shekels was close to the Attic talent of 6000 drachms and this similarity caused a swift assimilation of the shekel to the drachm. The oldest mention of gold darics is an Athenian inscription, dated to 429/28 BCE, which contains the accounts of the temple-treasury of Athena Parthenos.10 In Athens one gold stater of Darius was exchanged for 20 silver drachms. The international fame of the daric survived till the IV century CE, as the Latin poet Ausonius testifies (Ep. V 23), who refers to Roman solidi as darii.

Alexander, during the pillage of the treasure of Susa, found as many as 9000 gold talents bearing the charaktēra dareikon, the “mark of Darius”11, and he did not have any scruples to use these coins, even though they belonged to his worst enemy. Thus the daric was the principal coin adopted by Alexander soon after the death of Darius III, in 330. The Macedonian commander, under the fortified walls of a Sogdian citadel on the rock, where the sons of the king Oxyartes (among them there was also Roxane, his future wife) took refuge, promised 300 darics to the first gallant warrior who could cross the town walls.12 The Greeks not only used Persian coins, but they even coined new darics and double-darics, after 323. This issue was again characterized by the running image of the Persian king, which was not modified with respect to the earlier pattern (Le Rider 2003, 357;Pl. 7, 11). Only the addition of some Greek letters on the obverse, and a different incuse wavy punch on the reverse, betrays its Greek fabrication.

In this variegated framework of cultural relations, it could also happen the opposite, in fact the Persians coined Athenian types, too. Many imitations of Athenian coins circulated in Bactria, Sogdiana and Afghanistan.13 Some pseudo-Athenian tetradrachms curiously bear the same control mark or signature (STA-MNA), which is present on some Eastern-mint double darics, perhaps coined by the satrap Stasanor.14 The phenomenon of the imitations is surprisingly widespread throughout the Near East, especially in Egypt, where the Athenian tetradrachms occupy a relevant place in coin hoards, between the fifth and the fourth century BCE. Modern numismatists generally believe that actually a lot of Athenian coins were locally imitated in Egypt during the fourth century, probably to pay Greek mercenaries, or simply because people were accustomed to conduct their business by means of Athenian tetradrachms.15 When Artaxerxes III Ochos conquered Egypt in 343, he struck a series of pseudo-Athenian tetradrachms substituting the normal ethnic AΘE with his name and title: “Artaxerxes Pharaoh” (rtḫšsš pr-c), written in Demotic.16 These Athenian imitations continued, adopting the Aramaic language, under the local rule of Sabakes (swyk) and Mazakes (mzdk), the last two satraps in Egypt during the reign of Darius III.17

Accordingly, we may argue that there was a strict control of the Persian authorities over the empire-wide monetary policy. In Achaemenid Babylonia, for example, even small quantities of “silver” (kaspu) were checked on the basis of a predetermined standard, called ginnu in cuneiform texts, and this customary marked silver was protected by the king’s law (Zournatzi 2000, 256–259; Vargyas 1999). Herodotus reports that Aryandes, the governor of Egypt under Darius I, wishing to emulate his monarch, ordered to strike pure silver coins and therefore Darius put him to death for being a rebel.18 Clearly it was considered a crime of lèse-majesté to mint coins without royal permission.

The capacity to conform decisions to local situations is one of the most relevant qualities adopted by the Achaemenid policy. For instance, the above mentioned Mazakes, was even rewarded by Alexander for surrendering the province without fighting, by being appointed as the new governor of Babylon, where he continued to coin pseudo-Athenian tetradrachms under his name.19 Tissaphernes (400–395 BCE), satrap of Sardis and Karanos under Artaxerxes II, also coined a series of imitative bronze and silver Athenian coins, but he placed on the obverse a male bearded head, wearing a soft hat with earflap and diadem above (probably his idealized portrait; Le Rider 2001, 182 Pl. 8, n. 9), instead of Athena’s head. The type of headdress is similar to the soft hats worn by the early Arsacids (Curtis 2007, 8–9). On the reverse of a bronze coin, we see the classic owl, with the abbreviated Greek legend BA(sileōs), “of the King,” in place of the ethnic.

13.3 Conclusions

In conclusion, Athenian coin types were present from the Mediterranean area to Central Asia, and the same was for the darics, which have been found especially in Asia Minor, Greece, Cyprus and even in Sicily, at Avola (Carradice 1987, 79). To conclude, a paradox is worthy of a mention: Alexander used darics in Babylon and Central Asia, and the Greeks coined new Persian-style coins after his death. The Achaemenid kings coined pseudo-Athenian coins from Egypt to Bactria. This sort of interplay or “globalization” of ancient monetary systems was an important medium for sharing goods, images and cultural identities. However, Alexander did not really try to substitute the Barbarian coins with the Greek ones, as one could think following Plutarch’s text,20 but it was a spontaneous phenomenon, generated by pragmatic and time-serving acts of the rulers to manage economic problems. As a matter of fact, Alexander, as legitimate successor to Darius, also took possession of his coins. This event might have been less surprising for his contemporaries than it appears to us, living in the problematic globalization era, which nevertheless is still the result of business interests.

Fig. 13.1: Athenian Tetradrachm (c. 440–430 BCE)

Fig. 13.1: Athenian Tetradrachm (c. 440–430 BCE)

Fig. 13.2: Gold Daric (c. 480 BCE)

Fig. 13.2: Gold Daric (c. 480 BCE)

Fig. 13.3: Gold Daric. Mint of Babylon (c. 331–311 BCE)

Fig. 13.3: Gold Daric. Mint of Babylon (c. 331–311 BCE)

Fig. 13.4: Pseudo-Athenian Tetradrachm of Artaxerxes III (343–338 BCE).

Fig. 13.4: Pseudo-Athenian Tetradrachm of Artaxerxes III (343–338 BCE).


Alram, M. (1986). Nomina Propria Iranica in Nummis. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.

- (1996). Daric. In: Encyclopædia Iranica Ed. by E. Yarshater. New York: Columbia University 36-40

Assar, G.F. (2004). Genealogy and Coinage of the Early Parthian Rulers I. Parthica 6: 69-93

Bopearachchi, O. (1999). La production monétaire en Asie Centrale et dans l'Inde du Nord-Ouest du Ve siècle av. J.C. au IIIe siècle ap. J.C.. In: Matériaux pour l'Histoire Économique du Monde Iranien (Studia Iranica, Cahier 21) Ed. by R. Gyselen, M. Szuppe. Paris: Association pour l'Avancement des Etudes Iraniennes 79-100

Bosworth, A.B. (1980). Alexander and the Iranians. Journal of Hellenic Studies 100: 1-21

- (2004). Alessandro Magno. L'uomo e il suo Impero. Milan: Rizzoli.

Briant, P. (2003). Darius dans l'ombre d'Alexandre. Paris: Fayard.

Buttrey, T.V. (1982). Pharaonic Imitations of Athenian Tetradrachms. In: Actes du 9e Congrès international de numismatique 1979 Ed. by J. Hackens, R. Weileer. Bruxelles: Association internationale des numismates professionnels 137-140

Carradice, I. (1987). The Regal Coinage of the Persian Empire, Coinage and Administration in the Athenian and Persian Empires. In: The Ninth Oxford Symposium on Coinage and Monetary History Ed. by I. Carradice. British Archaeological Reports. Oxford: Archaeopress 73-107

Cribb, J. (2007). Money as a Marker of Cultural Continuity and Change in Central Asia. In: After Alexander: Central Asia before Islam Ed. by J. Cribb, G. Herrmann. Oxford: Published for The British Academy by Oxford University Press 333-375

Curtis, V. Sarkhosh (2007). The Iranian Revival in the Parthian Period. In: The Idea of Iran, II: The Age of the Parthians Ed. by V. Sarkhosh Curtis, S. Stewart. London: I.B. Tauris 7-25

Dąbrowa, E. (2008). The Political Propaganda of the First Arsacids and its Targets (from Arsaces I to Mithradates II). Parthica 10: 25-31

Daryaee, T. (2002). Memory and History: The Construction of the Past in Late Antique Persia. Nāme-ye Iran-e Bāstān 1/2: 1-14

- (2007). Imitatio Alexandri and its Impact on late Arsacid, early Sasanian and Middle Persian Literature. Electrum 12: 89-97

Descat, R. (1989). Notes sur la politique tributaire de Darius I. In: Le tribute dans l'empire perse (Actes de la table ronde de Paris. 12–13 décembre 1986) Ed. by P. Briant. Wilsele: Peeters 79-93

Di Branco, M. (2011). Alessandro Magno. Eroe arabo nel Medioevo. Salerno: Arti Grafiche Boccia.

Espinosa, U. (1990). La alejandrofilia de Caracala en la antigua historiografia. In: Neronia IV. Alejandro Magno, modelo de los emperadores romanos Ed. by J.M. Croisille. Rome: Latomus, Revue d'études latines 37-51

Figueira, T.J. (1998). The Power of Money: Coinage and Politics in the Athenian Empire. Philapdelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Fleischer, R. (2002). True Ancestors and False Ancestors in Hellenistic Rulers' Portraiture. In: Images of Ancestors Ed. by J.M. Højte. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press 59-74

Gariboldi, A. (2004a). Monete dell'Iran preislamico dal Medagliere del Museo Civico Archeologico di Bologna: catalogo e considerazioni in margine. In: Schools of Oriental Studies and the Development of Modern Historiography. Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Symposium of the Assyrian and Babylonian Intellectual Heritage Project held in Ravenna, Italy, October 13 - 17, 2001 (Melammu Symposia 4) Ed. by A. Panaino, A. Piras. Milan: Mimesis 133-159

- (2004b). Royal Ideological Patterns between Seleucid and Parthian Coins: The Case of Θεοπάτωρ. In: Commerce and Monetary Systems in the Ancient World: Means of Transmission and Cultural Interaction. Proceedings of the fifth Annual Symposium of the Assyrian and Babylonian Intellectual Heritage Project held in Innsbruck, Austria, October 3rd–8th 2002 (Melammu Symposia 5) Ed. by R. Rollinger, C. Ulf. Wiesbaden: Steiner 366-384

Gignoux, P. (2007). La démonisation d'Alexandre le Grand d'après la littérature pehlevie. In: Iranian Languages and Texts from Iran and Turan. Ronald E. Emmerick Memorial Volume Ed. by M. Macuch, M. Maggi, M. M.. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 87-97

Gnoli, G. (1995). La demonizzazione di Alessandro nell'Iran sasanide e nella tradizione zoroastriana. In: Alessandro Magno: storia e mito Ed. by A. DiVita, C. Alfano.

- (2003). Il Manicheismo. I: Mani e il Manicheismo. Milan: Mondadori.

Huyse, P. (2003). La geste d'Ardashir fils de Pâbag. Kārnāmag ī Ardaxšēr ī Pābagān..

Kraay, C.M. (1976). Archaic and Classical Greek Coins. York: Methuen.

Lane Fox, R. (2007). Alexander the Great: `Last of the Achaemenids'?. In: Persian Responses. Political and Cultural Interaction with(in) the Achaemenid Empire Ed. by Ch. Tuplin. Oxford: Classical Press of Wales 267-311

Monte, G.F. Del (1997). Testi dalla Babilonia ellenistica. Pisa, Rome: Istituti editoriali e poligrafici internazionali.

- (2001). Da `barbari' a `re di Babilonia': I Greci in Mesopotamia. In: I Greci: Storia Cultura Arte Società. 3. I Greci oltre la Grecia Ed. by S. Settis. Turin: Einaudi 137-166

Mørkholm, O. (1974). A Coin of Artaxerxes III. The Numismatic Chronicle 7(14): 1-4

Muccioli, F. (2004). `Il Re dell'Asia': Ideologia e propaganda da Alessandro Magno a Mitridate VI. Simblos. Scritti di storia antica 4: 105-158

- (2012). La storia attraverso gli esempi. Protagonisti e interpretazioni del mondo greco in Plutarco. Milan: Mimesis.

Musti, D. (1990). Storia greca. Linee di sviluppo dall'età micenea all'età romana. Rome: Laterza.

Nicolet-Pierre, H. (1979). Les monnaies des deux derniers satrapes d'Égypte avant la conquête d'Alexandre. In: Greek Numismatics and Archaeology. Essays in Honor of Margaret Thompson Ed. by O. Mørkholm, N.M. Waggoner. New York: American Numismatic Society 221-230

Nicolet-Pierre, H., M. Amandry (1994). Un nouveau trésor de monnaies d'argent pseudo-athéniennes venu d'Afghanistan: 1990. Revue Numismatique s. 6, 36: 34-54

Panaino, A. (2000). The Mesopotamian Heritage of Achaemenian Kingship. In: The heirs of Assyria: Proceedings of the Opening Symposium of the Assyrian and Babylonian Intellectual Heritage Project held in Tvärminne, Finland, October 8–11, 1998 Ed. by S. Aro, R.M. Whiting. Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project 35-49

- (2009). The King and the Gods in the Sasanian Royal Ideology. In: Sources pour l'histoire et la géographie du monde iranien (224–710) (Res Orientales 18) Ed. by R. Gyselen. Bures-sur-Yvette: Groupe pour l'étude de la civilisation du Moyen-Orient 209-256

Rider, G. Le (2001). La naissance de la monnaie. Pratiques monétaires de l'Orient ancien. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

- (2003). Alexandre le Grand: Monnaie, finances et politique. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

Rtveladze, E.V. (2007). Alessandro in Battriana e Sogdiana. Parthica 9: 153-204

Sánchez, M. García (2009). El Gran Rey de Persia: Formas de representación de la alteridad persa en el imaginario griego. Barcelona: Publicacions i Edicions, Universitat de Barcelona.

Schlumberger, D. (1953). L'argent grec dans l'empire achéménide. In: Trésors monétaires d'Afghanistan Ed. by R. Curiel, D. Schlumberger. Mémoires de la délégation archéologique française en Afghanistan 14. Paris: C. Klincksieck 3-62

Vargyas, P. (1999). Kaspu ginnu and the Monetary Reform of Darius I. Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 89: 247-268

Zejmal, E.V. (1983). The Political History of Transoxiana. In: The Cambridge History of Iran, 3/1 Ed. by E. Yarshater. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 232-262

Zournatzi, A. (2000). The Processing of Gold and Silver Tax in the Achaemenid Empire: Herodotus 3.96.2 and the Archaeological Realities. Studia Iranica 29: 241-271


See (Espinosa 1990, 45–46). The Historia Augusta, for example, clearly states that Caracalla Alexandro Magno Macedoni aequandum putabat…eiusque gesta in ore semper habuit (HA Car. II 1–2).

See (Assar 2004, 88; Fig. 3: 18 = S 10.17), considers the first Parthian coins with the insciption Theopator, as a special issue of Mithradates I to honour his deified father, Phriapatius. Cf. (Gariboldi 2004b, 374–377).

Plut. Mor. I 10, 332D. Briant 2003, 267 underlines that Alexander is presented in Plutarch as the unifier of a divided world, the inspiring principle of universal harmony, always moved by his virtue. See also (Le Rider 2003, 338–340).

Cf. (Bosworth 1980, 14), writes that the evidence of this policy of fusion, so far produced, is “little or nothing.” On the construction of the ethnic identity between Greeks and “Barbarians,” see (Sánchez 2009, in part. 39). For a balanced opinion on Alexander’s universalism, see (Musti 1990, 739; Lane Fox 2007; Muccioli 2012, 193–209).

Arr. Anab. III 27, 5.

See (Bosworth 2004, 214). See also (Strab. 730; Arr. Anab. VI 28, 4–8).

See (Monte 1997, 4–8), and note 24. The curious title of “King (coming) from West,” LUGAL šá TA KUR ḫa-ni-i, on a tablet dated to 329/8 BCE, literally “the King (coming) from the land of ḫanû” to indicate the lands to the West of the Euphrates, is very rare and it was likely intended to remark the extraneousness of Alexander to the local culture. Obviously, the nobles and the priests of Babylon, attached to the privileges depending from the Temple of Marduk, bestowed the titles of the former Babylonian kings to Alexander, on condition that he did not interfere too much with the Temple’s life. See also (Monte 2001, 140–148; Muccioli 2004, 111–113).

Diod. XVII 66, 1–2.

Arr. Anab. IV 18, 7; Strab. 517; (Le Rider 2003, 324–325).

See (Nicolet-Pierre and Amandry 1994; Bopearachchi 1999, 87). It is not always easy to determinate if these imitations were coined before or after Alexander the Great.

Hdt. IV 166. About the fiscal implications of the silver of Aryandes, see Descat (1989, 85–87).

In Plutarch the “globalization” is presented as a socio-cultural koinonia, “community” (Plut. Alex. 47, 5).