Numismatic and History Discussions > Biblical & Judean Coins

Coins in Jesus time


Mauro Coca C:
Hello Guys!

Does anyone know, what were the types of coins that were in circulation on Judea in the time of Jesus?


Other people know this area better than me and might weight in to correct me.  Also there are several goods books on this area of coinage - my favorite being David Hendin's Guide to Biblical Coinage, 5th edition.

But I will take at a crack at answering.

Your question was phrased very well as they key is what coinage was in circulation.  In the ancient world coins circulated for a long time so a lot of coins in circulation during Jesus' lifetime were struck long before his birth.

Most coins in circulation were small bronze coins - generally known as prutot.

Jesus was born around the time of the death of Herod I (the Great). His coins would obviously have been in circulation.

However, coins of the earlier members of the Hasmonean dynasty, including John Hyrcanus I and Alexander Jannaeus, would have ranged from roughly 40 to a bit over a hundred years old.  These coins, struck in huge numbers, would still have been common-place.

Some worn examples of older bronze Ptolemaic (small ones) and Seleucid coinage were also likely occasionally encountered in the market.

Common coins were struck by the Herodian king Herod Archelaus during Jesus' lifetime.

However, much of Jesus' lifetime occurred during the so-called Roman Governors' period when small bronze coins were struck bearing the names of Roman Emperors, like Tiberius, by governors like Coponius, Marcus Ambibulus, and Valerius Gratus.

At Jesus' death the most recent coins would of course have been those struck by the Governor Pontius Pilate.


Mauro Coca C:

  Ptolemaic and seleucidal tetradrachmas;  Roman coins .... wasn't it also?

Coins of the Herods, procuratorial coins up to Pilate, no doubt older prutoth as well.


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