The front of this coin shows the Greek hero Herakles, who is better known by the name Hercules, which the Romans gave him. This coin was struck by Philip II, the father of Alexander III, “The Great”. Herakles was important to their hereditary line, as they claimed to be descended from the mythological hero. It is largely based on this fact that, although born and living mostly in Macedonia, Alexander’s family also claimed to be of full Greek blood.
Despite the claim of having the blood of the gods, most of their neighbors in the main part of Greece considered them to be uncultured barbarians. The back shows the bow and club, symbolizing Herakles’ warrior status, and therefore that of the family.
Philip was the greatest statesman and general of his time. He laid the foundation of the Macedonian military power employed by Alexander the Great, to conquer and hellenize the middle east. A treasure-filled royal tomb, believed to be Philip’s, was excavated at Vergina, near Thessalonika, Greece, in 1977.