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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Judean & Biblical Coins| ▸ |Hasmonean Dynasty| ▸ |Alexander Jannaeus||View Options:  |  |  |   

Alexander Jannaeus (Yehonatan), 103 - 76 B.C.

Aristobulus' was succeeded by his eldest brother, Alexander Jannśus, who was freed from prison, together with his two brothers, by Aristobulus' widow, Queen Salome Alexandra - "And now the king's wife loosed the king's brethren, and made Alexander king, who appeared both elder in age, and more moderate in his temper than the rest." (Josephus, Wars, I, IV:1). To expend his territory, Jannaeus, immediately attacked Ake-Ptolemais, which called Ptolemy of Cyprus to its aid. When it looked as though Jannaeus would be crushed, Cleopatra III of Egypt intervened, driving out her son-and-rival Ptolemy and reluctantly leaving Jannaeus with both Judaea and Ptolemais. Other conquests brought Jannaeus into conflict with Obadas I of Nabataea who soundly defeated him in 90 B.C. Jannaeus became the first High Priest to also hold the title of king, which met with disapproval of many religious Jews. Severely unpopular, he was pelted with citrons (etrog) on the Festival of Tabernacles (Sukkot) and according to Josephus, "being enraged at this, he killed some 6,000." A full scale revolt erupted and rebels called for the aid of the Seleucid King Demetrius II of Damascus in 88 B.C. Demetrius met Jannaeus with an army of 3,000 horse and 14,000 - 40,000 foot soldiers, forcing him into the mountains. At Demetrus' withdrawal, however, Jannaeus gathered reinforcements and re-established his authority, crucifying 800 rebels who were forced to watch the slaughter of their wives and children from their crosses (Josepus, Ant. XIII:380). After the Nabataean king Aretas gained control of Damascus, he used his new power base to inflict a final attack on Jannaeus, forcing the concession of a number of Hellenized towns before Jannaeus' death in 76 B.C.


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This coin is listed in Hendin's Guide to Biblical Coins as extremely rare and without a price. Struck from the same dies as the Zurqieh example on the Menorah Coin Project. Meshorer reports the lead tesserae of Alexander Jannaeus are found almost exclusively in Transjordan, as was this example.
JS08257. Lead tessera, Hendin 477, Menorah Coin Project type III, VF, weight 1.370 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, Transjordan mint, obverse Central elevated dot surrounded by six loop rays, all within a circle.; reverse blank; extremely rare; SOLD


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Meshorer wrote of the cursive style on this type, "The letters appear is if they were written with pen and ink. They are schematic, elongated, oblique, and very small. Some are so minute as to be little more than points. Although small, the shapes of the letters are simple and quite legible. The inscription is mostly complete and contains no errors." The Paleo-Hebrew inscription on this coin reads, from right to left, as follows: YHWNT/N ( Yehonatan) KHN (priest) GD/L (high) W (and) (HH)BR (council) H (the) YH/WM. See Reading Judean Coins in NumisWiki.
JD08177. Bronze prutah, Meshorer TJC R13, Hendin 1146, Meshorer AJC G, gVF, reverse off-center, nice patina, weight 1.58 g, maximum diameter 14.2 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, cursive style script, within wreath; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns; SOLD


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The anchor was adopted from the Seleucids, who used it to symbolize their naval strength. Anchors are depicted upside down, as they would be seen hung on the side of a boat ready for use. Jannaeus' anchor coins were probably struck after the conquest of the coastal cities (with the exception of Ashkelon) in 95 B.C. The anchor on these coins probably publicized the annexation of these areas. See Symbols| on Judean| Coins| in NumisWiki.
JD05745. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1150, Meshorer TJC K5, Meshorer AJC C, EF, beautifully highlighted by natural sandy "desert" patina earthen fill, weight 3.120 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 225o, Jerusalem mint, 95 - 76 B.C.; obverse star of eight rays and central pellet surrounded by diadem, Paleo-Hebrew inscription "Yehonatan the king" between rays; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY (of King Alexander), upside-down anchor; SOLD


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This type has been reattributed from Hyrcanus II to Alexander Jannaeus by Hendin and Shachar in "The Identity of YNTN on Hasmonean Overstruck Coins and the Chronology of the Alexander Jannaeus Types," Israel Numismatic Research 3, 2008: 87-94. It appears this type was overstruck on earlier coins of Alexander Jannaeus that had never been released from the mint.
JD13101. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1149, Meshorer TJC T, Meshorer AJC I, overstruck on an earlier prutot, gVF, weight 2.52 g, maximum diameter 16.2 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, within wreath; reverse double cornucopia with pomegranate between horns; SOLD


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The lily was regarded as the choicest among the flowers. It graced the capitals of the two main pillars which stood at the entrance to the sanctuary. See Symbols| on Judean| Coins| in NumisWiki.
JD13622. Bronze prutah, Meshorer TJC N7, Hendin 1148, SGCV II 6086, VF, weight 2.66 g, maximum diameter 15.7 mm, die axis 270o, Jerusalem mint, obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehonatan the King, around lily; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY (King Alexander in Greek), around inner circle containing anchor; scarce; SOLD


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The star symbolizes heaven. See Symbols| on Judean| Coins| in NumisWiki.
JD40348. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1150, Meshorer TJC K7, Choice gVF, weight 1.968 g, maximum diameter 14.8 mm, Jerusalem mint, 95 - 76 B.C.; obverse star of eight rays and central pellet surrounded by diadem, Paleo-Hebrew inscription "Yehonatan the king" between rays; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY (of King Alexander), upside-down anchor; SOLD


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Hendin 1146 is easily identified by its unique cursive style inscription. Meshorer wrote of this cursive style, "The letters appear is if they were written with pen and ink. They are schematic, elongated, oblique, and very small. Some are so minute as to be little more than points. Although small, the shapes of the letters are simple and quite legible. The inscription is mostly complete and contains no errors."
JD28870. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1146, SNG ANS 116, Meshorer TJC R, Meshorer AJC G, VF, nice "desert" fill patina, weight 1.927 g, maximum diameter 14.8 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, cursive style script, within wreath; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns; SOLD


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Meshorer wrote of the inscriptions on this type, "The style of the script is distinctive. The letters are large and slight oblique, with sharp lines and edges; they tend toward systematization. The shapes are strong and clear...and contain few variants. The legend is mostly incomplete and contains many errors. Certain characters such as (B), (R), and (D) are almost indistinguishable." The Paleo-Hebrew inscription on this coin reads, from right to left, as follows: YHWN/TN (Yehonatan) H (the) NH/N (Priest, should be KHN) GDL (high) (HH)B/R (council) Y/H (Jews). See Reading Judean Coins in NumisWiki.
JD40341. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1144, Meshorer TJC Q, Meshorer AJC F, Choice VF, weight 2.157 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, surrounded by wreath; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns; SOLD


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Jannaeus' anchor coins were probably struck after the conquest of the coastal cities (with the exception of Ashkelon) in 95 B.C. The anchor probably publicized the annexation of these areas. -- Ancient Jewish Coinage by Yaakov Meshorer
JD40346. Bronze prutah, Meshorer TJC K1 (same obverse die), Hendin 1150, Choice VF, weight 2.381 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, Jerusalem mint, 95 - 76 B.C.; obverse star of eight rays and central pellet surrounded by diadem, Paleo-Hebrew inscription "Yehonatan the king" between rays; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY (of King Alexander), upside-down anchor; slightly irreglar flan; SOLD


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Lead tesserae (tokens) were issued by the monarch to the poor to be redeemed for food and other commodities. Meshorer reports the lead tesserae of Alexander Jannaeus are found almost exclusively in Transjordan, as was this example.
JD12374. Lead tessera, Hendin 1155, Meshorer TJC M, Meshorer AJC D, F, weight 3.588 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, Transjordan mint, 95 - 76 B.C.; obverse Aramaic inscription: King Alexander Year 25, anchor (upside-down as if hanging on the side of a boat) inside circle; reverse traces of Aramaic inscription, King Alexander, with a border of dots; earthen "desert" patina; rare; SOLD




  




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Catalog current as of Thursday, October 17, 2019.
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Alexander Jannaeus