This English translation of Georges Le Rider’s comprehensive study of the coinage and financial policy of Alexander the Great (Alexandre Le Grand: Monnaie, Finances et Politique) brings, for the first time, the magisterial scholarship of one of the world’s greatest living numismatists before an Anglophone public. For more than forty years Le Rider has published fundamental studies on the coinages of the ancient Middle East and eastern Mediterranean world, particularly from the time of Philip II (Alexander’s father), Alexander himself, and the Seleucid empire. The book of 2003 that is now appearing in English represents the culmination of a lifetime of reflection on the coinage of Alexander.
It is not only Le Rider’s gift for seeing the implications of his multitudinous coinage issues that every reader of his works in French will know so well: it is the uncommon lucidity and simplicity of his presentation of the material. No one could hope to capture the crystalline clarity of his French prose, but, by working closely with Le Rider himself and with numismatic specialists, above all Le Rider’s friend and collaborator Hyla Troxell, William E. Higgins has created a book worthy of the original. It manages to retain the excitement of a detective investigation that begins with an anecdote handed down by Plutarch and ends by subverting it. Special thanks go to the Aristotle Onassis Foundation, which generously funded the translation through the intercession of Michel Amandry.
French historian Georges Le Rider is a professor at the Collège de France, a member of l'Institut de France and a specialist in numismatics. He has taught at both the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and the Collège de France, and has also served as Director of the French Institute of Anatolian Studies in Istanbul. From 1975-1981 he had the major position of Administrateur général of the Bibliothèque Nationale of France. Since 1989 he has been a Member of the Institut de France in the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres. In 1996 he was elected to the American Philosophical Society.