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Home>Catalog>Judean&BiblicalCoins>HerodianDynasty>HerodtheGreat

Herod the Great, 37 - 4 B.C.

A Roman citizen, Herod took the throne of Judaea with Roman assistance. "Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy Him." (Matthew 2:13 RSV)


Click for a larger photo The eight prutot was Herod's largest denomination.
JD64052. Copper eight prutot, Hendin 1169, Meshorer TJC 44, Meshorer AJC II 1, RPC I 4901, F, weight 7.360 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Samaria mint, 40 B.C.; obverse military helmet facing, with cheek pieces and straps, wreathed with acanthus leaves, star above, flanked by two palm-branches; reverse HPΩ∆OY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (of King Herod), tripod, ceremonial bowl (lebes) above, LΓ - P (year 3 of the tetrarchy) across fields; $225.00 (168.75)

Click for a larger photo  
JD71259. Bronze lepton, Hendin 1174, aF, weight 0.956 g, maximum diameter 13.0 mm, die axis 45o, obverse HPΩ∆OY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, blundered legend with missing and retrograde letters within concentric circles; reverse anchor within circle decorated with stylized lily flowers; $60.00 (45.00)

Judean Kingdom, Herod the Great, 37 - 4 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Herod's most famous and ambitious project was his magnificent expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 20 - 19 B.C. Although work on out-buildings continued another eighty years, the new Temple was finished in a year and a half. To comply with religious law, Herod employed 1,000 priests as masons and carpenters. The temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. Today, only the four retaining walls of the Temple Mount remain standing, including the Western Wall.
JD71265. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1188, Meshorer TJC 59, aF, weight 1.430 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 45o, Jerusalem mint, obverse HPΩ BACIΛ, anchor; reverse double cornucopia with caduceus between horns, pellets above; $24.00 (18.00)


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SYMBOLS ON HEROD'S COINS

Acanthus leaves A common plant of the Mediterranean, whose stylized leaves form the characteristic decoration on Corinthian and Composite capitals. The acanthus leaves may have symbolized the arts or steadfastness, or perhaps they were just decorative.

The Anchor: The anchor was adopted from the Selukids, 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.

The Caduceus: The caduceus is the wing-topped staff, with two snakes winding about it, carried by Hermes. According to one myth it was given to him by Apollo. The caduceus was carried by Greek heralds and ambassadors and became a Roman symbol for truce, neutrality, and noncombatant status. Herod was a friend to Rome and the caduceus was an appropriate symbol in that regard.

The Cornucopia: The cornucopia was a hollow animal horn used as a container. One of the most popular religious symbols of the ancient world, the cornucopia is also know as the "horn of plenty."

The Cross: The cross found on coins of Herod the Great is actually the letter "chi," which symbolized the power of the High Priest. Since Herod was not the High Priest, his use of this symbol was probably intended to reinforce his control of the Temple through "his" High Priest.

The Diadem: The diadem symbolized royalty.

The Grape and Grape Vine: Grapes, the vine and wine were an important part of the ancient economy and ritual. Grapes were brought to the Temple as offerings of the first-fruits and wine was offered upon the altar. The vine and grapes decorated the sacred vessels in the sanctuary and a golden vine with clusters of grapes stood at its entrance.

The Pomegranate: The pomegranate was one of the seven celebrated products of Palestine and among the fruits brought to the temple as offerings of the first-fruits. Two hundred pomegranates decorated each of the two columns in the temple and were an integral part of the sacred vestment of the High Priest, as bells and pomegranates were suspended from his mantle.

The Star: The star symbolize heaven.


Catalog current as of Friday, October 24, 2014.
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Herod the Great