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Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions$
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Frank Holt

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520238817

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520238817.001.0001

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Whose Pachyderm, Whole or Halved?

Whose Pachyderm, Whole or Halved?

(p.68) Four Whose Pachyderm, Whole or Halved?
Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions

Frank L. Holt

University of California Press

The mystery of the elephant medallions consumed the energies of more and more investigations during the tumultuous twentieth century. In 1959, a third medallion finally came into public view. The battle of Gaugamela was the third and final fray between Alexander and the imperial forces of Persia. It was the decisive victory over Darius at Gaugamela that sealed Persia's fate and opened the way for Alexander's campaigns in Central and South Asia. It is noted that Darius must have fought on the back of an elephant, and that it is thus the Persian King of Kings whom it is seen depicted on the medallions as Alexander's defeated foe. The impressive pachyderm on the medallions seemed a signpost pointing to India, where Alexander's only major confrontation with war elephants occurred. The existence of numerous cast and die-struck forgeries patently complicated the worldwide investigation into the mystery of the elephant medallions.

Keywords:   pachyderm, elephant medallions, Alexander, Persia, India, Gaugamela

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