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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Judean & Biblical Coins ▸ Hasmonean Dynasty ▸ Aristobulus IIView Options:  |  |  | 

Aristobulus II, 67 - 63 B.C.

Aristobulus II was the younger son of Alexander Jannaeus, King and High Priest, and Alexandra Salome. After the death of Alexander in 76 BC, his widow succeeded to the rule of Judea and installed her elder son Hyrcanus II as High Priest. When Salome died in 67 B.C., Hyrcanus succeeded to the kingship as well. Aristobulus entertained designs upon the throne, even during the life of his mother. He courted the nobles and the military and made himself the patron of the Sadducees and bringing their cause before the queen. The Sadducees controlled many fortresses which Aristobulus intended to use to help usurp the government. Aristobulus rebelled against his elder brother. The brothers met in battle near Jericho and many of Hyrcanus' soldiers deserted to Aristobulus, and giving the latter the victory.


Roman Republic, A. Plautius, c. 55 B.C.

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In 67 B.C., Aristobulus II rebelled against his older brother Hyrcanus II, the king of Judaea. Both brothers appealed to Pompey's deputy Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, who, bribed by a gift of 400 talents, decided in favor of Aristobulus. When Pompey arrived in Syria in 63 B.C., both brothers sent delegates to Damascus, but Pompey did not make an immediate decision. Aristobulus' followers refused to open the gates of Jerusalem and Romans forces besieged and captured the city. Pompey deemed Hyrcanus II, the elder, weaker brother a more reliable ally. Hyrcanus was restored as high priest, but not as king. Aristobulus was taken to Rome as a prisoner. In 57 B.C. Aristobulus escaped to Judaea and instigated another rebellion. A young cavalry commander, Marc Antony, led several men to scale Aristobulus' fortifications leading to his recapture. At the time this coin was struck in 55 B.C., Aristobulus was a prisoner in Rome. Julius Caesar released him in 49 B.C., hoping to turn Judaea against Pompey, but on his was to Judaea he was poisoned by a Pompey supporter. With help from the Parthians, Aristobulus' son Antigonus rebelled against Rome and became king in 40 B.C. He was defeated by Rome and killed in 37 B.C.

This special issue was struck by an Aedile Curule. Aediles supervised public works and staged games. Since this issue bears turreted Cybele, we may speculate it was to finance a building project.
RR86165. Silver denarius, RSC I Plautia 13, Sydenham 932, Crawford 431/1, BMCRR Rome 3916, Russo RBW 1540, SRCV I 395, aF, porous, bankers mark, weight 3.308 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 182o, Rome mint, 55 B.C.; obverse AED CVR S C downwards on left, A PLAVTIVS downwards on right, turreted head of Cybele right, wearing cruciform earring, hair rolled and in knot at the back, locks falling down neck; reverse Bacchius Judaeus (Aristobulus II High Priest and King of Judaea) kneeling right, with left hand holding reins of camel standing right on his far side, raising olive branch in right hand, IVDAEVS upward on right, BACCHIVS in exergue; from the Lucas Harsh Collection, ex Vaughn Rare Coin Gallery, ex Ettinger Collection; SOLD








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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Wednesday, May 22, 2019.
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Aristobulus II