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.
Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy V Epiphanes, 204 - 180 B.C.
The name of Ptolemy V Epiphanes appears on the Rosetta stone. He married Cleopatra I, the daughter of the Seleukid king Antiochos III, and was the father of Ptolemy VI, VII, and Cleopatra II. Ptolemy V lost Judea, Philistia, and Phoenicia to Antiochos III after the battle of Panium in 198 B.C. (Dan 11:13-16).
GP42369. Bronze obol, Svoronos 1494 (Ptolemy VIII), SNG Cop 339 ff. (Ptolemy VIII), Weiser 126, BMC Ptolemies p. 69, 9 - 10 (Paphos?), Noeske -, Hosking -, weight 13.665 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 200 - 197 B.C.; obverse bearded head of Herakles right wearing lion-scalp headdress; reversePTOLEMAIOUBASILEWS, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, head left; scarce; $40.00 (€30.80)
Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.
After his brother Demetrius was captured by the Parthians, Antiochus VII was made king. He married Demetrius' wife Cleopatra Thea. He defeated the usurper Tryphon at Dora and laid siege to Jerusalem in 134. According to Josephus, the Hasmoneanking John Hyrcanus opened King David's sepulcher and removed three thousand talents, which he then paid Antiochus to spare the city. Sidetes then attacked the Parthians, supported by a body of Jews under Hyrcanus, and briefly took back Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Media before being ambushed and killed by Phraates II. His brother Demetrius II had by then been released, but the Seleucid realm was now restricted to Syria. Antiochus VII was the last Seleucid king of any stature.
GB46096. Bronze AE 11, Houghton-Lorber II 2069b; SNG Spaer 1977-1978, gF, weight 1.632 g, maximum diameter 12.1 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch on the Orontes mint, 138 - 129 B.C.; obverse ship's ram left within dotted border; reverseBASILEWSANTIOXOU IERASU (legend in three lines above), pilei, stars above, control mark below; $36.00 (€27.72)
Seleukid Kingdom, Demetrius III Eucaerus, c. 96 - 87 B.C.
Demetrius III Eucaerus ("the Timely") was nicknamed Acaerus ("the Untimely) by the Jews. He defeated the Hasmonaean Priest KingAlexander Jannaeus but was forced to withdraw from Judaea by the hostile population. While attempting to dethrone his brother, Philip IPhiladelphus, 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.
GB46355. Bronze AE 19, Houghton-Lorber II 2456 (various control marks); SNG Spaer 2871 ff. (same); Galilee Hoard H46 (this coin), F, weight 4.057 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 0o, Damascus mint, 96 - 87 B.C.; obverseradiate and diademed, lightly bearded head of Demetrius III right; reverseBACILEWC DHMHTRIOUQEOU FILOMHTOROC CWTHROC, Hermes standing left on a square basis, kerykeion in right, palm frond in left, control marks off flan; ex Galilee Hoard (found north of the Sea of Galilee in 1989); $36.00 (€27.72)
According to Josephus, the Jews gave Antiochus VII the epithet Eusebes (pious) in gratitude for his respect for their religion.
GB57647. Bronze AE 21, Houghton-Lorber II 2067 (various dates and symbols), SGCV II 7098, F, weight 7.523 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch mint, 138 - 129 B.C.; obverse winged bust of Eros right, wreathed with myrtle; reverseBASILEWSANTIOCOUEUERGETOU, headdress of Isis, uncertain date below, uncertain symbols or monograms; FORVM Seleucid Kingdom Antiochus VII AE18 Bust of Eros / Crown if IsisFine; $35.00 (€26.95) ON RESERVE
Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.
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.
GP54218. Bronze AE 17, Svoronos 843 (Ptolemy II, uncertain Phoenician or Palestinian mint), Fair, weight 4.083 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus mint, obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reversePTOLEMAIOUBASILEWS, eagle standing left, lotus in left field; rare; $30.00 (€23.10)
Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus III the Great, 223 - 187 B.C., Sardes, Lydia
Antiochus' victory at the Battle of Panium in 198 B.C. transferred control of Judaea from Ptolemaic Egypt to the Seleukid Kingdom. When Antiochos conquered Asia Minor, however, the Romans responded. Antiochos' losses were so great that the whole of his empire was shattered and he was forced to content himself with the region that he had held in the beginning, Syria.
GB62731. Bronze AE 14, Houghton-Lorber I 983, SNG Spaer 487 ff. (Hierax), Newell WSM 1428 (Hierax), aF, weight 3.478 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes mint, obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair in corkscrew curls down neck; reverseBASILEWSANTIOCOU, Apollo standing left, naked, examining arrow in right, resting left on tripod; tight flan typical for the type, nice green patina; $19.00 (€14.63) ON RESERVE