JUDAEA, John Hyrcanus II, 67 & 63-40 BC, bronze prutah


JUDAEA, John Hyrcanus II, 67 & 63-40 BC, prutah, no date, Obverse: legend, Reverse: double cornucopiae, bronze, 13-14mm, 2.7g, SG6095, H479, off center and double struck reverse, VF/F

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During the time of Hyrcanus II Judaea was caught up in Roman politics and had to make deals with various Roman players. The deals briefly made Judaea into a Roman client kingdom, then it was demoted to an “ethnarchy.” He was kicked out of Judaea twice, brought back, often acted as someone else’s patsy. Herod invited him back to be a powerless ornament of the State, then got suspicious, as he liked to do, and had Hyrancus executed.

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.