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Alexander Jannaeus (Yehonatan), 103 - 76 B.C.
Aristobulus' was succeeded by his eldest brother, Alexander Jannśus, 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.
|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.|
|Meshorer wrote of the inscriptions on this type, "The style of the script is distinctive. The letters are large and slight oblique, with sharp lines and edges; they tend toward systematization. The shapes are strong and clear...and contain few variants. The legend is mostly incomplete and contains many errors. Certain characters such as (B), (R), and (D) are almost indistinguishable." On this coin the inscription is nearly complete. The Paleo-Hebrew inscription on this coin reads, from right to left, as follows: YHWN/TN (Yehonatan) [K]HN (Priest) / G/DWL (high) W (and) (HH) (council) Y/HWD/M (Jews). See Reading Judean Coins in NumisWiki.|