- ancient jewish coins
Ancient jewish coins
The first Jewish coins were officially being issued from the 4th century BCE in the Yehud Medinata, the “province of Judah” which was an autonomous province of the Persian Empire with the permission of the imperial government. They continued to be used in some form through the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Unlike later Jewish coinage, they depicted plants, animals and even human beings. They bore an owl motif (inspired by the Greek goddess Athena) and the inscription Yehud (YHD) indicating their provenance.
During the rule of Antioch VII (Seleucid Empire) half-Syrian and half-Israeli coins were issued with an image of a lily that symbolized Jerusalem. The first truly Jewish coins were issued in 135 BCE in the Hasmonean Kingdom, which was founded after the successful rebellion led by Simon Maccabaeus. The Romans minted their own coins during the period of their hegemony, but these coins differed greatly under different governors. Herod, for instance, issued coins with a wide range of motifs including the first living being - an eagle - to be depicted since the Persian era. The Jews themselves issued coins during the Bar Kochba revolt against the Romans (in Israel Roman coins are often found dating back to this period with images that were struck on top of the Roman ones).
A curiosity are European-made counterfeit ancient Hebrew coins that were made sometime around the 16th century. Supposedly Judas received them for betraying his master.