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Dedication in greek by Alexander the Great himself, engraved. Ca 330 BC, from Priene, Asia Minor

Stone tablet with dedication by Alexander to Athena Polias
Greek, around 330 BC
From Priene, Asia Minor
Length: 120.5 cm
Width: 49.5 cm
Height: 125 cm
Thickness: 48.25 cm
Acquisition number: #GR 1870.3-20.88
Gift of the Society of Dilettanti

Image courtesy of the British Museum (copyright reserved)

From his father, Philip II of Macedon, Alexander the Great inherited both a large army and a will to conquer the land of the Persian lands of the Achaenenids to the east. In 334 BCE Alexander paid a visit to the city of Troy, where he dedicated his armor to Athena and laid a wreath at the tomb of Achilles. “This act,” notes the British Museum, “prefigured Alexander’s role as a new Achilles liberating the Greek cities of Asia Minor from Asiatic rule.” Soon after Alexander’s army had their first encounter with the Persians at the battle of the Granicus River, whom they defeated at little cost to their own strength. Alexander proceeded to march down the west coast of Anatolia, driving out the Persian defenders they encountered on the way, until they reached the port city of Priene.

According to the British Museum, Alexander paid further homage to the goddess Athena at Priene. “There,” explains the British Museum, “the townspeople were laying out their new city and building a temple to its patron goddess. Alexander offered funds to complete the temple, and the inscription on this wall block, cut into a block of marble, records his gift.” The surviving legible portions of the inscription read: “King Alexander dedicated the Temple to Athena Polias.”

 

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