Numismatic and History Discussions > Biblical & Judean Coins

Bacchius Ivdaevs

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One of the denarii of the Plautia family,  the A. Plautius  c 54 BC, has the turreted head of Cybele with the inscription PLAVTIVS  AED  CVR SC and the reverse shows a man kneeling holding a camel and presenting an olive branch with the inscription BACCHIVS IVDAEVS.  Stevenson (1889) mentioned that Bacchius was unknown to history and that since the attitude of Bachius is the same as that of Aretus in the coins of Aemilius Scaurus, it must be from the same time and related to the pacification of the area imposed by Cn  Pompey.  Aretus was granted peace after a payment of a number of talents.  Other authors coincide that Bacchius was unknown to history and repeat what Stevenson said "Gobernor of Arabia and by religion Jew",

At the site  from Spain you can read about  Bacchius "En el reverso se representa al rey de Arabia Bacchius a quien Plautius dictara las Leyes"  (In reverse king Bacchius of Arabia to whom A Plautius presented the laws).

Here I am presenting 1.-  a scan taken from Roman Silver Coins Vol 1 H,A,Seaby  1967 p.75 Drawing of denarius of A Plautius with Bacchius in the reverse.; and 2.- a Aemilius coin with king Aretas in reverse from  Denarios.Org.

Was Bacchius an unknown Jewish king?  Was he converted to Judaism?.  I would like to know more about this character or is he still "unknown to history"?

Thank you in advance.

I've never heard of Bacchius, but I can answer one of your questions:

--- Quote from: eduardo on August 06, 2005, 07:35:49 pm ---Was Bacchius an unknown Jewish king?

--- End quote ---

no, he could not have been.  Josephus (and others, I am sure) gives an account of all the Hasmoneans, and does not mention Bacchius.  We are completely certain about the line of Jewish Kings.  Josephus says that from the very beginning of the Hasmoneans, Judaea was allied with Rome.  Judah the Maccabee initiated the alliance, which, slowly, became Roman domination over Judaea.

 :Judean_kaf_2: :Judean_alef_1: :Judean_tsad_3:

Howard Cole:
Here is what Hendin says about it.

This coin is of the same reverse type as the previous coin's obverse (like the second coin you have posted that shows Aretas III) , with the exception of the inscription.  The "Bacchius the Jew" referred to on this coin is one of the enigmas of Jewish numismatics.  Narkiss said the coin represents Aristobulus II, commemorating his unsuccessful insurrection.  Kindler, however, believes that the supplication referred to is one Dionysius, ruler of Tripoli during this period.


Thank you Zam and Howard for your quick responce.  Yes it made no much sence to me the existance of a Jewish king of that time not listed.    The explanation by most authors. King of Arabia of Jewish religion is not  too clear.   Was there an interest in converting foreigns into Judaism at the time?   Either.  Be it Aristobulus II or Dionysius of Tripoli, I will have to find out more about this two gentlemen.

If it was Aristobulus II, I can't see why they wouldn't use his name.  Aristobulus was already a Roman/Hellenistic version of his name.  His name in Hebrew was   :Judean_hey_3: :Judean_daleth_2: :Judean_waw_1: :Judean_hey_3: :Aramaic_yod: (Yehudah).  Why would they further change his name from an already Romanized form?
as to conversions, I can't think of anything that would suggest conversions to Judaism, except for the time when Hyrcanus I forced the Idumaeans to convert.  Other than that, I can't see why there would be conversions.  Jews at this point were still an ethnicity.  All Jews originated in Judaea.  I may be wrong, but it doesn't seem like it would be very open to conversions.  A Roman or an Arab could change religion, but they would still be a Roman or an Arab, not a Jew.
So the mystery continues...

 :Judean_kaf_2: :Judean_alef_1: :Judean_tsad_3:


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