Tetradrachm Celebrates Naval Victory by Doson
Antigonus III Doson was the king of Macedon from 229 to 221 BCE, 94 years after the death of Alexander the Great. His predecessor, Demetrius II, died in battle when his heir, Philip V, was only nine years old. Because of the volatile political situation, the Macedonian army couldn’t wait for Philip V to mature enough to assume command, so they appointed Doson regent of the kingdom, and he ruled until his death in 221 BCE.
Antigonus III was a very successful leader, a master of tactical diplomacy and military strategy, fortifying the borders of Macedon and forming important alliances. His rule marked a golden age for the Kingdom of Macedon. He was called “Doson”, which means “the man who will give”, referring to his dedication to the kingdom in its time of need.
This very large tetradrachm celebrates the significant naval victory led by Doson over Ptolemy III Euergete’s fleet and his Carian allies in 227 BCE near the island Andros in the Aegean Sea.
The obverse depicts Poseidon, the god of the sea, in a magnificent and imposing portrait filled with Hellenistic vitality. He is shown facing right, staring wistfully into the distance with his thick hair bound by a wreath of seaweed.
The reverse text reads “Of King Antigonos”. It shows Apollo relaxing on the prow of a war galley, inspecting his bow held out in his right hand while resting his left on the deck. His legs are hanging down, as if to enjoy the water that is now calm after their successful conquests. These images allude to the support provided by the Seleucid king Antiochus Hierax, who fought alongside Doson against Caria.
This victory brought Macedonia considerable naval prestige and helped further establish it as a dominant power in the region.
Antigonos III Doson. 229-221 BCE. Tetradrachm (Silver, 16.91 g 6). Bearded head of Poseidon to right, wearing wreath of reeds Rev. BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIΓONOΥ Apollo, nude, seated left on galley prow, holding bow in his right hand; below, oblong monogram. SNG Ashmolean 3266. SNG Berry 361 ff. SNG Copenhagen 1204. Toned and struck on a broad flan. Good very fine. From the PGB collection, acquired in New York in 1968 from F. Knobloch.