Coinage of Herod the Great

28 Apr 2020  Tue

King Herod, who lived from 74 B.C. to 4 B.C., was a vassal king for the Romans. Herod's rule marked a new beginning in the history of Judea. He is known for his colossal building projects throughout Judea, including his renovation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the expansion of the Temple Mount towards its north.

Herod was born in southern Palestine. His father, Antipater, was an Edomite (a Semitic people, identified by some scholars as Arab, who converted to Judaism). Antipater was a man of great influence and wealth who increased both by marrying the daughter of a noble from Petra (in southwestern Jordan), at that time the capital of the rising Arab Nabataean kingdom. Thus, Herod was of Arab origin, although he was a practicing Jew.

He was granted the title of "King of Judea" by the Roman Senate. Herod also appears in the Christian Gospel of Matthew as the ruler of Judea who orders the Massacre of the Innocents at the time of the birth of Jesus.

The coinage of Herod the Great continued the Jewish tradition of not depicting a graven image. However, a prutah (small denomination coins) of Herod was the first coin since the Persian period to depict a living creature. The largest denomination coin issued by Herod, bears a year, "year 3", and displays a series of unusual designs, such as a helmet with long cheek pieces, surmounted by a star. The second-largest denomination features a crested helmet and a shield these designs are surrounded by the Greek inscription.

Image Source:

Knowledge Base