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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Judean & Biblical Coins ▸ Greek DominationView Options:  |  |  | 

Greek Domination of Judaea and Palestine

From Alexander the Great's conquest until Roman domination, the city states and small nations of the region, including Judaea, were at various times either ruled or dominated by the great Seleukid or Ptolemaic Kingdoms.Judea 160 to 143 BCE


Judaea (Yehudah), Ptolemaic Rule, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

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Ptolemy II requested copies of Jewish texts for the Library at Alexandria. There they were translated and transcribed by seventy Jewish scholars hired for the purpose, creating the Septuagint, the oldest Greek version of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Many of the oldest Biblical verses among the Dead Sea Scrolls, particularly those in Aramaic, correspond more closely with the Septuagint than with the Hebrew text.
SH54977. Silver quarter ma'ah, Meshorer TJC 32; Mildenberg Yehud pl. 21, 24; Hendin 1087, gF, weight 0.192 g, maximum diameter 6.4 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem(?) mint, 285 - 246 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I right; reverse eagle standing half left on thunderbolt, wings open, head left, Aramaic YHDH (Yehudah) on left; $195.00 (171.60)


Judaea (Yehudah), Ptolemaic Rule, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Ptolemy II requested copies of Jewish texts for the Library at Alexandria. There they were translated and transcribed by seventy Jewish scholars hired for the purpose, creating the Septuagint, the oldest Greek version of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Many of the oldest Biblical verses among the Dead Sea Scrolls, particularly those in Aramaic, correspond more closely with the Septuagint than with the Hebrew text.
JD35537. Silver cast dolphin, Meshorer TJC 32; Mildenberg Yehud pl. 21, 24; Hendin 1087, aVF, weight 0.157 g, maximum diameter 6.8 mm, die axis 90o, Jerusalem? mint, 285 - 246 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I right; reverse eagle standing half left on thunderbolt, wings open, head left, Aramaic YHDH (Yehudah) on left; priced below Forum's cost!; rare; $170.00 (149.60)


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 175 - 164 B.C.

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From the extraordinary "Egyptianizing" coinage of Antiochus IV, celebrating his triumphs over the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt by using a reverse type strongly associated with the Lagid dynasty, an eagle perched on a thunderbolt.

Antiochos IV assumed divine epithets, which no other Hellenistic king had done, such as Theos Epiphanes ("God Manifest") and after his defeat of Egypt, Nikephoros ("Bearer of Victory"). But his often eccentric behavior, capricious actions and even insanity led some of his contemporaries to call him Epimanes ("The Mad One"), a word play off of his title Epiphanes.

In 168 B.C., Antiochus IV ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. The Temple in Jerusalem was seized and dedicated to Zeus. The Jews revolted and after three years of fighting, Judah Maccabee defeated the Seleukid army. Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, commemorates the rededication of the Temple in 165 B.C. According to the Talmud, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, enough time to prepare and consecrate fresh oil.
GY73084. Bronze AE 38, Houghton-Lorber II 1413; Newell SMA 59; BMC Seleucid p. 38, 42; Houghton CSE 118; Svoronos 1416; HGC 9 643 (S-R1), aVF, porous, weight 38.225 g, maximum diameter 35.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, autumn 169 - autumn 168 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus-Serapis right, wearing tainia and Osiris cap, bevelled edge, centration dimple; reverse eagle standing right on thunderbolt, head right, wings closed, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two downward lines on right, ΘEOY EΠIΦANOYΣ in two downward lines on left, centration dimple; big 38 mm, 35.6 gram bronze; scarce; $110.00 (96.80)


Seleukid Kingdom, Demetrius III Eucaerus, c. 96 - 87 B.C.

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Demetrius III Eucaerus ("the Timely") was nicknamed Acaerus ("the Untimely) by the Jews. He defeated the Hasmonaean Priest King Alexander Jannaeus but was forced to withdraw from Judaea by the hostile population. While attempting to dethrone his brother, Philip I Philadelphus, he was defeated by the Arabs and Parthians, and taken prisoner. He was held in confinement in Parthia by Mithridates II until his death in 88 B.C.
SL46356. Bronze AE 17, Houghton-Lorber II 2455(3) (referencing only Spaer); SNG Spaer 2851; Galilee Hoard H44 (this coin), NGC Fine, strike 4/5, surface 3/5 (4161251-008), weight 3.107 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 0o, Damascus mint, 95 - 94 B.C.; obverse diademed, lightly bearded head of Demetrius III right; reverse BACIΛEΩC ∆HMHTPIOY ΘEOY ΦIΛOMHTOPOC CΩTHPOC, Hermes standing facing, palm frond in right, kerykeion in left, N over A outer left, HIΣ (year 218) in exergue; ex Galilee Hoard (found north of the Sea of Galilee in 1989), NGC Certified (slabbed); $90.00 (79.20)


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus XII Dionysos, c. 88 - 84 B.C.

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Antiochus XII rule was challenged by the Nabataeans, the Judaeans and by the Seleucids' perpetual fratricidal wars. Philip I took briefly took Damascus. Antiochus perished in battle at the hands of the Nabataeans, after which Damascus, the long time Southern stronghold of Seleucid power freely gave itself over to the benevolent rule of King Aretas III of Nabataea.
GB58539. Bronze AE 21, Houghton Lorber II 2481, SNG Spaer 2881 - 2883, aVF, weight 6.288 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 0o, Damascus mint, c. 83 - 82 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Antiochos XII right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY ∆IONYΣOY EΠIΦANOYΣ ΦIΛOΠATOPOΣ KAΛΛINIKOY, Zeus standing left Nike in right, scepter in left, monogram in exergue; $70.00 (61.60)


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 175 - 165 or 164 B.C.

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Ptolemais was a maritime city of Galilee (Acts 21:7). It was originally Accho, but was renamed Ptolemais under the rule of Ptolemy Soter.

Antiochos IV assumed divine epithets, which no other Hellenistic king had done, such as Theos Epiphanes ("God Manifest") and after his defeat of Egypt, Nikephoros ("Bearer of Victory"). But his often eccentric behavior, capricious actions and even insanity led some of his contemporaries to call him Epimanes ("The Mad One"), a word play off of his title Epiphanes.

In 168 B.C., Antiochus IV ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. The Temple in Jerusalem was seized and dedicated to Zeus. The Jews revolted and after three years of fighting, Judah Maccabee defeated the Seleukid army. Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, commemorates the rededication of the Temple in 165 B.C. According to the Talmud, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, enough time to prepare and consecrate fresh oil.

GY75719. Bronze serrated AE 15, Houghton-Lorber II 1479; BMC Seleucid p. 38, 41; SNG Spaer 1130 ff.; Houghton CSE 791 ff.; Babelon Rois 572 ff.; HGC 9 726; SGCV II 6994, F, both sides a little off center, weight 2.198 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 0o, Galilee, Ake Ptolemais (Acre, Israel) mint, c. 173 - 168 B.C.; obverse diademed and radiate head of Antiochus right, A/B monogram behind, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTOXOY, Veiled and draped goddess (Hera or Demeter) standing facing, long scepter or torch in right; $28.00 (24.64) ON RESERVE







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Catalog current as of Monday, February 08, 2016.
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Greek Domination of Judaea and Palestine