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Bronze coin of Herod I 'the Great', king of Judaea


Weight: 9.687 g
Diameter: 23.000 mm

CM 1908-1-10-263 (BMC Herod I 1)

Room 70: Roman Empire

    Bronze coin of Herod I 'the Great', king of Judaea

    Jewish, 37-4 BC
    From Judaea (modern Israel)

    A change in Jewish coinage

    In 37 BC, the last of the Hasmonaean rulers of Judaea was executed and King Herod the Great (ruled 37-4 BC) was placed on the throne of Judaea by the Romans. He rebuilt the Temple and founded new cities, but was an unpopular ruler. Like the Hasmonaean rulers, Herod and his successors issued only bronze coins. Silver coinage for the region was provided by city-issues such as the shekels of Tyre.

    The design of Jewish bronze coins changed significantly under the Herodians and the language of the legends changed from Hebrew to Greek. Designs were drawn from an essentially Greek or Roman repertoire. On the obverse (front) of this coin appears a tripod with a bowl on top and the legend reads 'of king Herod'. On the reverse is a helmet with cheek pieces. Scholars have often been tempted to see 'cultural propaganda' in these clearly non-Jewish designs.

    K. Butcher, Roman provincial coins: an int (London, Seaby, 1988)

    A. Burnett, M. Amandry and P.P. Ripollès, Roman provincial coinage, vol. 1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)

    Y. Meshorer, Ancient Jewish coinage II (Dix Hills, New York, 1982)


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