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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Judean & Biblical Coins| ▸ |Herodian Dynasty| ▸ |Herod the Great||View Options:  |  |  |   

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)


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The eight prutot was Herod's largest denomination. The style of this scarcer variety is somewhat schematic. The vertical legends are also unusual. This is an appendage group type (O2/R3) as discussed in the Feb '05 Celator.
SH08332. Copper 8 prutot, Hendin 1169, Meshorer AJC 1a, MCP O-I-04, Fontanille Celator Feb '05 O2/R3, VF, weight 10.14 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 0o, Samaria mint, 40 B.C.; obverse HPΩ∆OY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (of King Herod), in 3 strait lines, tripod, ceremonial bowl (lebes) above, LΓ - P (year 3 of the tetrarchy = 40 B.C.) across fields; reverse military helmet facing with cheek pieces and straps, wreathed with acanthus leaves, fillets and star above, flanked by two palm-branches; areas not fully struck, nice green patina highlighted by buff earthen fill; scarce; SOLD


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Matthew (2:1-23) describes the Massacre of the Innocents. Wise men from the East visited Herod to inquire the whereabouts of "the one having been born king of the Jews," because they had seen his star. Herod, as King of the Jews, was alarmed. The chief priests, citing Micah 5:2, told Herod the anointed one would be born in Bethlehem. Herod sent the "wise men" to Bethlehem, instructing them to "report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." However, the Magi were warned in a dream not to report back to Herod. Joseph was warned in a dream that Herod intended to kill Jesus, so he and his family fled to Egypt. When Herod realized he had been outwitted, he gave orders to kill all boys of the age of two and under in Bethlehem and its vicinity. Joseph and his family stayed in Egypt until Herod's death, then moved to Nazareth. Herod was guilty of many brutal acts, including killing his wife and two sons, but no other source from the period refers to the massacre. Bethlehem was a small village, the number of male children under the age of two might not have exceed 20, and this may be the reason for the lack of other sources for this history.
SH39611. Copper eight prutot, Hendin 1169, Meshorer TJC 44, Meshorer AJC II 1, RPC I 4901, VF, weight 6.251 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 0o, Samaria mint, 40 B.C.; obverse HPΩ∆OY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (of King Herod), tripod, ceremonial bowl (lebes) above, LΓ - P (year 3 of the tetrarchy = 40 B.C.) across fields; reverse military helmet facing, with cheek pieces and straps, wreathed with acanthus leaves, star above, flanked by two palm-branches; scarce; SOLD


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A study of this coin by Jean Philippe Fontanille has found that coins from this die do have a faint date. It was apparently poorly engraved and then erased from the die. A die study by Fontanille indicates that this die combination was the last used for the type. Meshorer believes this coin type was struck through 37 B.C. It is possible the date was erased because this coin was struck in 37 B.C. and using a three year old date didn't seem a good idea.
SH08389. Bronze two prutot, Meshorer AJC 235, 3; Hendin 1171 var.; Menorah Coin Project O3/R3, gVF, weight 2.52 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 0o, Samaria mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse HPΩ∆OY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, winged caduceus, no date or monogram; reverse Poppy pod on stem with leaves, fillet left and right; beautiful green patina highlighted by reddish earthen fill; rare; SOLD


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Josephus wrote that Herod's final illness (sometimes called "Herod's Evil") was excruciating. Based on Josephus' descriptions, one medical expert has diagnosed Herod's cause of death as chronic kidney disease complicated by Fournier's gangrene. Similar symptoms attended the death of his grandson Agrippa I in 44 A.D. Modern scholars agree he suffered throughout his lifetime from depression and paranoia. Josephus stated that Herod was so concerned that no one would mourn his death, that he commanded a large group of distinguished men to come to Jericho, and he gave an order that they should be killed at the time of his death so that the displays of grief that he craved would take place. Fortunately for them, Herod's son Archelaus and sister Salome did not carry out this wish.
SH39610. Bronze two prutot, Meshorer TJC 46, Hendin 1171, Choice VF, weight 3.352 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 0o, Samaria mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse HPΩ∆OY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, winged caduceus, date LΓ on left and monogram P on right; reverse poppy pod on stem with leaves, fillet left and right; rare; SOLD


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Meshorer TJC 48 and 48a are described with an open diadem but the plate coins have closed diadems. The diadems on Meshorer 49 are open.
SH05704. Bronze 2 prutot, Hendin 1178, Sofaer Collection 20, Meshorer TJC 48a corr., EF, nice green patina beautifully highlighted by sand colored earthen fill, weight 3.30 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, obverse HPΩ∆OY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (of King Herod), cross surrounded by a closed diadem; reverse dish on a tripod table, flanked by upright palm branches; scarce; SOLD


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Herod the Great, a Roman client king of Judea, has been described as a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis, prepared to commit any crime in order to gratify his unbounded ambition, and as the greatest builder in Jewish history. He is known for his colossal building projects throughout Judea, including his expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, the construction of the port at Caesarea Maritima, the fortress at Masada and Herodium. Vital details of his life are recorded in the works of the 1st century Roman-Jewish historian Josephus.
SH37209. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1172, VF, weight 2.427 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 315o, Samaria mint, 40 B.C.; obverse HPΩ∆OY − BAΣIΛEΩ−Σ (of King Herod), aphlaston, LΓ left, P right (date and monogram); reverse palm frond, uncertain objects (leaves?) on both sides; very rare; SOLD


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Herod the Great, a Roman client king of Judea, has been described as a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis, prepared to commit any crime in order to gratify his unbounded ambition, and as the greatest builder in Jewish history. He is known for his colossal building projects throughout Judea, including his expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, the construction of the port at Caesarea Maritima, the fortress at Masada and Herodium. Vital details of his life are recorded in the works of the 1st century Roman-Jewish historian Josephus.
SH35535. Copper eight prutot, Hendin 1169, Meshorer TJC 44, Meshorer AJC II 1, VF, reverse 1/4 off-center, nice surfaces, weight 5.529 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 45o, Samaria mint, 40 B.C.; obverse HPΩ∆OY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (of King Herod), tripod, ceremonial bowl (lebes) above, LΓ - P (year 3 of the tetrarchy = 40 B.C.) across fields; reverse military helmet facing, decorated with ivy?, with cheek pieces and straps, wreathed with acanthus leaves, star above, flanked by two palm-branches; SOLD


Click for a larger photo
Herod the Great, a Roman client king of Judea, has been described as a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis, prepared to commit any crime in order to gratify his unbounded ambition, and as the greatest builder in Jewish history. He is known for his colossal building projects throughout Judea, including his expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, the construction of the port at Caesarea Maritima, the fortress at Masada and Herodium. Vital details of his life are recorded in the works of the 1st century Roman-Jewish historian Josephus.
SH36482. Copper eight prutot, Hendin 1169, Meshorer TJC 44, Meshorer AJC II 1; RPC I 4901, VF, weight 5.435 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Samaria mint, 40 B.C.; obverse HPΩ∆OY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (of King Herod), tripod, ceremonial bowl (lebes) above, LΓ - P (year 3 of the tetrarchy = 40 B.C.) across fields; reverse military helmet facing, with cheek pieces and straps, wreathed with acanthus leaves, star above, flanked by two palm-branches; ex Amphora Coins (David Hendin); scarce; SOLD


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Two prutot was equal to a Roman quadrans. -- Talmud Jerus., Kedushin 58d, written c. 200 A.D.
JD14083. Bronze 2 prutot, Hendin 1178, Sofaer Collection 20, Meshorer TJC 48a corr., gVF, weight 2.88 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, obverse HPΩ∆OY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (of King Herod), cross surrounded by closed diadem; reverse dish on tripod table, flanked by two upright palm branches; SOLD


Click for a larger photo
Herod the Great, a Roman client king of Judea, has been described as a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis, prepared to commit any crime in order to gratify his unbounded ambition, and as the greatest builder in Jewish history. He is known for his colossal building projects throughout Judea, including his expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, the construction of the port at Caesarea Maritima, the fortress at Masada and Herodium. Vital details of his life are recorded in the works of the 1st century Roman-Jewish historian Josephus.
SH05711. Bronze four prutot, Hendin 1170, Meshorer TJC 45, Sofaer Collection 8, VF, weight 4.90 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, Samaria mint, 40 B.C.; obverse HPΩ∆OY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (of King Herod), crested helmet with cheek pieces, LΓ - P (year 3 of the tetrarchy) across fields; reverse decorated round shield with ornate edge; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Burnett, A., M. Amandry & P. RipollŤs. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (London, 1992 & supplements).
Fontanille, J. Menorah Coin Project, website: http://menorahcoinproject.org/
Hendin, D. Guide to Biblical Coins, 5th Edition. (Amphora, 2010).
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Maltiel-Gerstenfeld, J. 260 Years of Ancient Jewish Coinage. (Tel Aviv, 1982).
Meshorer, Y. Ancient Jewish Coinage. (New York, 1982).
Meshorer, Y. A Treasury of Jewish Coins from the Persian Period to Bar Kokhba. (Jerusalem, 2001).
Meshorer, Y., et al. Coins of the Holy Land: The Abraham and Marian Sofaer Collection at the American Numismatic Society and The Israel Museum. ACNAC 8. (New York, 2013).
Samuels, C., P. Rynearson & Y. Meshorer. The Numismatic Legacy of the Jews as depicted by a distinguished American Collection. (New York, 2000).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2: Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 7: Cyprus to India. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, USA, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 6: Palestine - South Arabia. (New York, 1981).

Catalog current as of Friday, August 23, 2019.
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Herod the Great