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Area/Ruler: Roman Judaea: Herod Archelaus
Reigned: 4 BC - 6 AD
Denomination: AE Prutah
Obverse: Bunch of grapes on branch, with leaf. "ΗΡΨΟϒ"
Reverse: Crested Helmet facing. "ΕΘΝΑΡΟϒ"
Reference: Hendin 505, GIC 5539
Weight: 1.9 gms
Diameter: 15 mm


Herod Archelaus was born in 23 BC and was the son of King Herod and Malthace. He was the brother of Herod Antipas and a half brother of Philip. , He was sent as a hostage to Rome, with his brothers, where he was educated. Although he was appointed king in his father's will, the emperor Augustus only allowed him only the title of ethnarch ('national leader') of Samaria, Judaea and Idumea.

Soon after his accession in 4 BC, there were riots in protest against his father's execution of the Jews who had removed a golden eagle from the entrance to the Temple. Three thousand Jews were killed during the celebration of Passover. When Archelaus travelled to Rome, to have himself crowned by Augustus, fresh riots broke out. Archelaus' troops were unable to cope with them, and the Roman governor of Syria, Publius Quinctilius Varus, with 3 or 4 legions, had to intervene. Two thousand people were crucified before peace was made with the leaders of the mobs. Matthew implies that Jesus' parents Joseph and Mary were afraid to go to the areas ruled by Archelaus, and therefore settled in Galilee (see below).

Herod Archelaus ruled so badly that the Jews and Samaritans appealed to Rome. In 6 AD, Archelaus was banished to Vienne in Gaul. Judaea became a province of the Roman Empire. Archelaus probably died before 18 AD.

"But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene."

King James Bible, Matthew 2.19-23

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