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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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A Closer Look

A Closer Look

(p.117) Six A Closer Look
Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions

Frank L. Holt

University of California Press

The views of Alexander must conform to the evidence of the medallions and not vice versa. It first introduces the physical objects, allowing them first to speak for themselves rather than for one modern camp or another. It then proceeds with a closer look at the actual images on the medallic coins, beginning with the least controversial: the reverse of the large so-called decadrachms. The large medallions depict Alexander on horseback attacking a fleeing elephant on which two Indians ride, one of them probably Porus rising up and twisting back to fend off his enemy, but too late to save his faithful attendant, who has taken the thrust of Alexander's sarissa. Alexander has his glory, but not without some respect also being accorded his worthy adversaries. All five of the battle scenes on the three types of medallion presented move in the same direction, from left to right.

Keywords:   Alexander, medallions, medallic coins, Porus, decadrachms, elephant, horseback

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