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566187. SOLD $2250

KINGS of MACEDON. Perseus. 179-168 BC. AR Tetradrachm (30.5mm, 15.52 g, 12h). Reduced standard. Pella or Amphipolis mint; Au-, mintmaster. Struck circa 179-178 BC. Diademed head right / BAΣI-ΛEΩΣ ΠEP-ΣEΩΣ, eagle standing right, wings spread, on thunderbolt; Ξ above, AY (mintmaster's) monogram to right, and ΛΩ monogram between legs; all within oak wreath, plow below. Mamroth, Perseus 23. Toned, with some deep iridescence, light scratches under tone on obverse, trace deposits on reverse. Good VF.

The last independent king of Macedon, Perseus inherited the throne from his father Philip V after the latter had his pro-Roman son Demetrius executed. Thus the tone was set from the outset of his reign for an eventual clash which proved fatal to the Antigonid monarchy and Macedonian independence. Perseus skillfully rebuilt the Macedonian army and undertook a network of marriage alliances during the first years of his reign, which the Romans watched with rising alarm. The Third Macedonian War broke out in 171 BC, and for a time Perseus employed guerrilla tactics which gave him the initiative and kept the Romans on their heels. Like his father, though, he chose to risk all in a single pitched battle at Pydna and lost badly to the Roman general Lucius Aemilius Paullus. Perseus surrendered and was allowed to live out his life in comfortable captivity in Rome; the Macedonian Kingdom was divided into four theoretically autonomous Republics which were soon subsumed into direct Roman rule. The coinage of Perseus is one of the more attractive of the Hellenistic series.