JUDAEA John Hyrcanus I 135-104 BC bronze prutah


JUDAEA, John Hyrcanus I, 135-104 BC, prutah, no date, Obverse: crossed cornucopiae, pomegranite between, Reverse: legend in wreath, bronze, 13mm, 1.55g, H454, VF

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John (Yehohanan) Hyrcanus was a son of Simon Maccabee who became High Priest and King. During his reign the Seleukids tried to reassert the control they had had in Judaea but John came to terms with them and continued as a vassal. He went on to conquer Idumaea, where the Herods came from, and Samaria. He died with honor after a long reign.

The mostly tiny bronze coins of the ancient Jews tell us of the low economic level of their country at the time. The silver and gold were made elsewhere, where the money was.

The ancient historian Josephus wrote the history of the Jews from the First Day to the First Revolt. Go read it, then we can talk. When the Persians conquered the Babylonians they set the Jews free and they returned to Judaea. Then Alexander the Great conquered Persia, which became the domain of the Seleukid kings. Antiochos IV precipitated the Maccabee revolt, then got preoccupied with other wars and had to make an internal autonomy deal with the Jews. The Maccabees made a priestly government. We call their priestly dynasty the Hasmoneans. The High Priests behaved exactly like kings.

Ancient Coins includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.