Chapter

Whose Pachyderm, Whole or Halved?

Frank L. Holt

in Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2003 | ISBN: 9780520238817
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520938786 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520238817.003.0004
Whose Pachyderm, Whole or Halved?

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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

Chapter.  8157 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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