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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 Jannus, 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.

|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||tessera|NEW
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
JD110536. Lead tessera, Hendin 6192 (S), Meshorer TJC M, Meshorer AJC D, HGC 10 645, aF, heavy example, weight 5.154 g, maximum diameter 18.0 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; very scarce; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00


|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||prutah|NEW
Meshorer notes for this type, "letter shapes are bizarre and the lines of script are not evenly followed...While on most specimens, the inscription is complete, some time must be devoted to locating all of the characters." This "barbaric" inscription style is unique to this type.
JD110334. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6186, Meshorer TJC S, HGC 10 641, Choice VF, well centered bold strike, green patina, edge splits, sprue cuts, reverse edge beveled, weight 2.169 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, 104 - 76 B.C.; obverse barbaric style Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, surrounded by wreath; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns; from an Israeli Collection; $150.00 SALE PRICE $120.00


|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||prutah|NEW
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. Most examples have strong undertype effects obscuring the inscription but this coin does not and the inscription is clear. The Paleo-Hebrew inscription, in classic style, on this coin reads, from right to left, as follows: YNTN (Yonatan) / H (the) KHNH (Priest) / GDL (high) W (and) (HH)B/ R (council) [H] (the, omitted) YHD (Jews). See Reading Judean Coins in NumisWiki.
JD110335. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6185, Meshorer TJC T, Meshorer AJC I, HGC 10 642, gF, dark patina, highlighting earthen deposits, scratches, sprue cuts, reverse edge beveled, clear inscription, unusual because there is no indication of being overstruck, weight 2.329 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 104 - 76 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription in classic style: Yonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, within wreath; reverse double cornucopia with pomegranate between horns; from an Israeli collection; $150.00 SALE PRICE $120.00


Judean Kingdom, Alexander Jannaeus (Yehonatan), 104 - 76 B.C., Overstrike

|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.,| |Overstrike||prutah|NEW
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.
JD110129. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6185b, Meshorer TJC T1, Meshorer AJC I; undertype Hendin 6184 (Jannaeus, lily/anchor), aVF, strong undertype effects, reverse off center, ragged edge, weight 1.796 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 103 - 76 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription in classic style: Yonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, within wreath, struck over lily; reverse double cornucopia with pomegranate between horns, struck over anchor; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00


Judean Kingdom, Alexander Jannaeus (Yehonatan), 104 - 76 B.C.

|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||prutah|
The prutah was equal in value to 1/2 a Roman quadrans. -- Talmud Jerus., Kedushin 58d, written c. 200 A.D.
JD99831. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6181, Meshorer TJC P, Meshorer AJC E, HGC 10 638, VF, dark green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, off center, reverse edge beveled, weight 1.798 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 103 - 76 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, within wreath; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns; from the Michael Arslan Collection; $50.00 SALE PRICE $45.00


Judean Kingdom, Alexander Jannaeus (Yehonatan), 104 - 76 B.C.

|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||prutah|
Unpopular, Jannaeus was pelted with citrons on Sukkot. Enraged, he killed some 6,000 citizens. A revolt erupted and rebels called on the Seleucid King Demetrius III for aid. Demetrius forced him into the mountains but then withdrew. Back in power, Jannaeus crucified 800 rebels forcing them to watch the slaughter of their wives and children from their crosses.
JD99873. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6181, Meshorer TJC P, Meshorer AJC E, HGC 10 638, VF, off center, sprue remnants, tiny edge split, reverse edge beveled, weight 1.975 g, maximum diameter 14.2 mm, die axis 105o, Jerusalem mint, 103 - 76 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, within wreath; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns; from the Michael Arslan Collection; $50.00 SALE PRICE $45.00


Judean Kingdom, Alexander Jannaeus (Yehonatan), 104 - 76 B.C.

|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.|
The prutah was equal in value to 1/2 a Roman quadrans. -- Talmud Jerus., Kedushin 58d, written c. 200 A.D.
JD99867. Bronze Hendin 6181, Meshorer TJC P, Meshorer AJC E, HGC 10 638, F, green patina, off center, scratches, light deposits, tiny edge split, reverse edge beveled, weight 1.301 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 315o, Jerusalem mint, 103 - 76 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, within wreath; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns; from the Michael Arslan Collection; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00


Judean Kingdom, Alexander Jannaeus (Yehonatan), 104 - 76 B.C.

|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||prutah|
Meshorer wrote of the inscriptions on this type, "The letters are clear, large and straight, with few variants. On many coins the inscription, especially the final word, is incomplete. Even the specimens that depict incomplete inscriptions and orthographic errors reveal a good style and contain well-defined letters." The Paleo-Hebrew inscription on this coin reads, from right to left, as follows: YHW/NTN (Yehonatan) HK/N (Priest, should be KHN) H (high) LDG (high) W (and) / (HH)BR (council) H (the) Y/Y (Jews, blundered). See Reading Judean Coins in NumisWiki.
JD99877. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6181, Meshorer TJC P, Meshorer AJC E, HGC 10 638, VF, dark patina, uneven strike, obverse beveled edge, reverse off center, weight 1.360 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, 104 - 76 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription within wreath: Yehonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns; from the Michael Arslan Collection; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00


Judean Kingdom, Alexander Jannaeus (Yehonatan), 104 - 76 B.C.

|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||prutah|
The prutah was equal in value to 1/2 a Roman quadrans. -- Talmud Jerus., Kedushin 58d, written c. 200 A.D.
JD99819. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6181, Meshorer TJC P, Meshorer AJC E, HGC 10 638, aVF, reverse edge beveled, part of inscription omitted, unstruck, or off flan, weight 1.860 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 103 - 76 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, within wreath; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns; from the Michael Arslan Collection; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00


Judean Kingdom, Alexander Jannaeus (Yehonatan), 104 - 76 B.C.

|Alexander| |Jannaeus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |Jannaeus| |(Yehonatan),| |104| |-| |76| |B.C.||prutah|
The prutah was equal in value to 1/2 a Roman quadrans. -- Talmud Jerus., Kedushin 58d, written c. 200 A.D.
JD99836. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6181, Meshorer TJC P, Meshorer AJC E, HGC 10 638, gF, dark green patina, earthen deposits,off center, tiny edge split, reverse edge beveled, weight 1.356 g, maximum diameter 13.7 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 103 - 76 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Yehonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews, within wreath; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns; from the Michael Arslan Collection; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00




  






REFERENCES

Cohen, E. Dated Coins of Antiquity: A comprehensive catalogue of the coins and how their numbers came about. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
Fontanille, J. Menorah Coin Project, website: http://menorahcoinproject.com/
Hendin, D. Guide to Biblical Coins, 6th Edition. (Amphora, 2021).
Hill, G. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Palestine. (London, 1914).
Hoover, O. Handbook of Coins of the Southern Levant: Phoenicia, Southern Koile Syria (Including Judaea), and Arabia, Fifth to First Centuries BC. HGC 10. (Lancaster, PA, 2010).
Kaufman, J. Unrecorded Hasmonean Coins from the J. Ch Kaufman Collection. (Jerusalem, 1995).
Kindler, A. Coins of the Land of Israel. (Jerusalem, 1974).
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).
Reinach, S. Jewish Coins. (London, 1903).
Rogers, E. Handy Guide To Jewish Coins. (London, 1914).
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).

SYMBOLS ON THE COINS OF ALEXANDER JANNAEUS (YEHONATAN)

Anchor: 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.

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 cornucopia symbolizes abundance and the prosperity of the nation.

Diadem: The diadem symbolizes royalty.

Lily: 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.

Lulav: Lulav is a ripe, green, closed frond of the date palm tree. It is one of the Four Species used in the daily prayer services during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The other species are the hadass (myrtle), aravah (willow), and etrog (citron). Each type of plant represents different parts of your body because it shows that you worship God with all of your body. To qualify for use as one of the Four Species, the lulav must be ramrod straight, with whole leaves that lay closely together, and not be bent or broken at the top. The term Lulav also refers to the lulav in combination with two of the other species that are bound together to perform the mitzvah of waving the lulav.

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.

Star: The star symbolizes heaven.


Catalog current as of Tuesday, December 6, 2022.
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