Alfredo Dagli Orti/The Art Archive at Art Resource, NY

OLYMPIAN BIRTH. In the genre of Greco-Roman biography, it was not uncommon for legendary, as well as historical, figures to be given two conception stories—one supernatural and one natural. Plutarch’s biography of Alexander credits both the god Apollo and Philip II of Macedon as Alexander’s father. One account states that Apollo in the form of a serpent seduced Olympias, Alexander’s mother (her visage pictured on the gold medallion, part of a third-century hoard discovered in Aboukir, Egypt).