The coinage of Alexander the Great was one of the first truly international currencies. Vast quantities of coins issued from many different mints were used across an extensive area stretching from Greece to Afghanistan. The coinage was significant as it expanded the use of currency, establishing the use of coins for the first time in many regions toward the east of the empire, and also as its use continued for more than 200 years after Alexander’s death. Spanning distance and time, this coinage represents a communal heritage that is shared across our modern national borders. Much of this heritage, however, is under threat. Many coins have travelled from the archaeological sites where they were first found and have since been moved or stolen from the collections where they resided. The Oxford–Paris Alexander project seeks to bring together the information that is still available, presenting the data in an online resource so that it can be shared and preserved for the future.
The project will bring together the collections of the University of Oxford and Bibliothèque Nationale de France and aims to create an online database of more than 4,000 digitised objects. It seeks to investigate how this material can enhance our understanding of the ancient world and in particular will facilitate further study of the way that the presence of a common coinage transformed imperial money practices. The project will result in a permanent, openly accessible resource. At a time when heritage is under threat in the modern near east, the digitisation of these collections will help to protect and preserve aspects of history and will provide new insights into the way that digital technology can be used to reassemble a broad cultural heritage across national boundaries.
Project team led by
Professor Andrew Meadows, University of Oxford
Dr Simon Glenn, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
Frédérique Duyrat, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Coins in the name of Alexander the Great online resource
Project Conference. 'A Linked Open World: Alexander the Great, Transnational Heritage and the Semantic Web’. 3rd–4th April 2017. New College, Oxford.
Exhibition ‘The Legacy of Alexander the Great: Coinage from a common past’. 15th November 2016–3rd September 2017. Money Gallery, Ashmolean Museum.