Jewish Coin of Alexander Jannaeus - Jewish King of the Hosmonean Kingdom 103-76 B. Bronze Prutah 13mm (2.02 grams) mint of Jerusalem circa 103-76 B. Reference: Hendin 1149 Paleo-Hebrew (Yehonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews) within wreath. Double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, pomegranate between horns, border of dots. Numismatic Note: This type of coin is known to bible history as the " Widow's Mite ".The Lesson (or Parable) of the widow's mite is a story present in the Synoptic Gospels (Mark 12:38-44, Luke 20:45-47 , 21:1-4), in which Jesus is teaching at the Temple in Jerusalem. The Gospel of Mark specifies that a mite was worth less than a quadrans , the smallest Roman coin, implying that Mark's intended audience were more familiar with Roman culture than with Jewish. In Jesus' times there actually was no coin called a mite. However, there was a mite in the time of the King James translation. The denomination is well known in the Southern Netherlands.
Both the duke of Brabant and the count of Flanders issued them and they were sometimes imitated in the North. Originally, the Brabant mijt (maille in French) was 1/76 stuiver, the Flemish mijt 1/48 stuiver. When the two areas were united under the dukes of Burgundy and later under the Habsburgs, the rate of the mijt was set at 1/32 stuiver. More important, they were the very smallest copper coins. By 1611 they were no longer made, but they still circulated.
Only the very poor could get away with giving a copper coin and only the desperately poor would give a copper coin as small as a mijt, as their social status could hardly sink any lower. A widow would in principle have to live without any income.The translator probably had a beggar and a contemporary widow in mind. In 1611, all this would have been self-evident to the readers. Witnessing the donations made by the rich men, Jesus highlights how a poor widow donates only two mites, the least valuable coins available at the time. But, Jesus observes, this sum was everything she had to her name, while the other people give only a small portion of their own wealth.
Taken literally, the widow's donation of one mite could have been by obligation, since she could not have given any less. Following this reasoning, some interpreters note that Jesus sits down in judgment "opposite" (over against, in opposition to) the treasury; the lesson drawn emphasizes that, while people are impressed with the large sums that are put in, they did not notice that the temple took half of what the "poor widow" had to live on. Connected with Mark 13:1-2, "there will not be left one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down", the lesson is then interpreted as promising the overthrow of any worship of God sustained by robbery. However, since the woman would have been under no obligation to give the second mite, when she gave "all her living" she could not have given any more.Following this reasoning, the tale is typically understood by Christians as a condemnation of the rich as they are described, for their inflated self importance displayed by the ostentatious announcements of their own generosity: which Jesus dwarfs by comparison to the widow's mite. Also, in light of its proximity to the widow's mite story, Mark 13:1-2 may imply that the widow's worship is of greater value than the Temple. Accordingly, the story is typically taken as an admonition to be wholeheartedly devoted to God, rather than concerned with pleasing men. In earlier times, many Christians, especially the Gnostics Ebionites , Waldensians , and Franciscans , argued that the passage is an encouragement to live in poverty, and not seek riches. In the introduction to the passage, Jesus is portrayed as condemning the Pharisees who feign piety in order to gain the trust of widows , and thereby gain access to their assets; although most interpretations of this read it as criticism of the actions of certain individuals, racist groups have historically argued that the passages in question justify anti-semitism , particularly as the Gospel of Mark argues that severe punishment awaits those who follow such actions Brown et al. Alexander Jannaeus (also known as Alexander Jannai/Yannai), king of Judea from (103 BCE to 76 BCE), son of John Hyrcanus , inherited the throne from his brother Aristobulus , and appears to have married his brother's widow, Shlomtzion or "Shelomit", also known as Salome Alexandra , according to the Biblical law of Yibum ("levirate marriage"), although Josephus is inexplicit on that point. Hasmonean Kingdom under Alexander Jannaeus. His likely full Hebrew name was Jonathan; he may have been the High Priest Jonathan, rather than his great-uncle of the same name, who established the Masada fortress. Under the name King Yannai, he appears as a wicked tyrant in the Talmud , reflecting his conflict with the Pharisee party.
He is among the more colorful historical figures, despite being little known outside specialized history. He and his widow (who became queen regnant after his death) had substantial impact on the subsequent development of Judaism. Jannaeus expanded the Hasmonean Kingdom and established the city of Gamla in 81 BCE as the capital for the Golan Heights.
During the twenty-seven year reign of Alexander Jannaeus, he was almost constantly involved in military conflict. Primarily, international factors at the time created an environment suitable for Jannaeus' conquests. First of all, Jannaeus received support from Cleopatra III in Egypt. She was probably swayed to support Jannaeus through two Jewish commanders in her military.This support was particularly crucial during the war with Ptolemy Lathyrus (discussed later). Ultimately, conflict in the Roman Empire was the greatest outside influence on Judean military campaigns. Political instability in Rome led to a Civil War beginning in 88 BCE.
With Rome chiefly concerned with a tumultuous domestic predicament, Jannaeus was free to expand the Judean state. Finally, a weak Seleucid Empire was unable to help Hellenistic cities near Judea. With a mercenary army similar to that of his father, Jannaeus led a Judean army that conquered the entire coastal plain except for Ashkelon. Jannaeus toppled Western Samaria, the Galilee and the Northern Transjordan. The coastal ports of Dor and Caesarea were also taken after Jannaeus was defeated at Acre.
Elsewhere on the Mediterranean coast, the Judeans triumphed over the cities of Raffah and Antedon. Finally, Jannaeus outlasted the inhabitants of Gaza in a year long siege. This impressive victory gained Judean control over the Mediterranean outlet for the Nabatean trade routes. After a failed siege against Gaza, Jannaeus struck a phony league of friendship with the Egyptian co-ruler Ptolemy Lathyrus. In reality Jannaeus sought the assistance of Lathyrus' mother, Cleopatra III , against her son.
When Lathyrus learned of this treachery, he took out his fury on Judea. After defeating Jannaeus near the Jordan River, Lathyrus' soldiers slaughtered fleeing Jewish troops. Afterwards, Lathyrus attacked a small village in Judea with utter malice.
The Egyptian troops strangled women and children. Then the deceased were cut into pieces, boiled in cauldrons, and eaten as a sacrifice. This disgusting act of cannibalism was used to terrify the Judean people and their military.
After this massacre, Jannaeus was in no position to stop the onslaught of Lathyrus. However, Cleopatra III stepped in to prevent Lathyrus from sacking Jerusalem. News of this slaughter certainly spread rapidly throughout Judea, exemplified by the Pesher on Isaiah 4Q161 found at Qumran: (25) He will shake his fist at the mount of the daughters of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem. (27) when he goes up from the Valley of Acco to fight against Philistia.
(29) and even up to the boundaries of Jerusalem. It is clear that a strong rift existed between the Pharisees and Alexander Jannaeus.
The rival Sadducees were avid supporters of Jannaeus (see 4Q448). The Pharisaic opposition to Jannaeus continued with his marriage to his brother's widow, which was forbidden by Torah law.
Furthermore, Jannaeus established himself as a ruler concerned mainly with conquests rather than his religious obligations. One year during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, Alexander Jannaeus, while officiating as the High Priest (Kohen Gadol) at the Temple in Jerusalem, demonstrated his support of the Sadducees by denying the law of the water libation.
The crowd responded with shock at his mockery and showed their displeasure by pelting Alexander with the etrogim (citrons) that they were holding in their hands. Unwittingly, the crowd had played right into Alexander's hands. He had intended to incite the people to riot and his soldiers fell upon the crowd at his command. The soldiers slew more than 6,000 people in the Temple courtyard.
This incident during Tabernacles was a major factor leading up to the Judean Civil War by igniting popular opponents of Jannaeus. A Qumran document sheds further light on another opponent of Jannaeus.The scroll 4Q390 was written by an adversary of Jannaeus seeking popular support to overthrow the Hasmonean King. The author called for an end to the dispute between Jannaeus and the Pharisees. According to the author, the only acceptable solution was an end to the Hasmonean Priesthood and secular control. This opposition culminated in the Judean Civil War.
Judean Civil War and the Crucifixion of the 800. The Judean Civil War initially began after the conquest of Gaza by Jannaeus.Due to Jannaeus' victory at Gaza, the Nabatean kingdom no longer controlled their trade routes to Rome and Damascus. Therefore Nabatean king Obadas I launched an attack on Judea in the Golan. Potentially, the war with the Nabateans was the last straw against a war-mongering king and an incompetent High Priest. A civil war broke out between Pharisaic supported Jewish rebels and Jannaeus. Overall, the war lasted six years and left 50,000 Judeans dead. After Jannaeus succeeded early in the war, the rebels unbelievably asked for Seleucid assistance. Judean insurgents joined forces with Demetrius III to fight against Jannaeus. The Seleucid forces defeated Jannaeus at Schechem and forced him into exile in the mountains. However, these Judean rebels ultimately decided that it was better to live under a terrible Jewish king than backtrack to a Seleucid ruler. The end of the Civil War brought a sense of national solidarity against Seleucid influence. Nevertheless, Jannaeus was uninterested in reconciliation within the Judean State. The aftermath of the Judean Civil War consisted of popular unrest, poverty and grief over the fallen soldiers on both sides. The greatest impact of the war was the victor's revenge. Josephus reports that Jannaeus brought 800 rebels to Jerusalem and had them crucified. Even worse, Jannaeus had the throats of the rebel's wives and children cut before their eyes as Jannaeus ate with his concubines.
This incredible account is supported in the Dead Sea Scrolls. In the Nahum Pesher, the Judean Civil War and Jannaeus' brutal retribution are specifically mentioned.
(2) The interpretation of it concerns Demetrius, King of Greece, who sought to enter Jerusalem on the advice of the Seeker-After-Smooth-Things. (3) But God did not give Jerusalem into the power of the Kings of Greece from Antiochus until the rise of the rulers of the Kittim. (6b) Its interpretation concerns the Lion of Wrath (7) which will bring vengeance against the Seekers-After-Smooth-Things; he would hang men alive.In this passage, The Seekers-After-Smooth-Things represent the Jewish Rebels, the Lion of Wrath represents Alexander Jannaeus, and the rulers of Kittim signify the Roman Empire. Given that this passage mentions the Roman takeover, it was clearly written after the fall of the Hasmonean Dynasty. Nevertheless, substantiation of Josephus' account of the crucifixion of Jewish rebels by Jannaeus quells any doubt of historicity of this event. The coinage of Alexander Jannaeus is characteristic of the early Jewish coinage in that it avoided human or animal representations, in opposition to the surrounding Greek, and later Roman types of the period. Jewish coinage instead focused on symbols, either natural, such as the palm treee , the pomegranate or the star, or man-made, such as the Temple , the Menorah , trumpets or cornucopia. Alexander Jannaeus was the first of the Jewish kings to introduce the "eight-ray star" or "eight-spoked wheel" symbol, in his bronzee "Widow's mite" coins, in combination with the widespread Seleucid numismatic symbol of the anchor. These coins are thought to be the ones referred to in the Bible in Luke 21:1-4. And He called unto him His disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had. Depending on the make, the star symbol can be shown with straight spokes connected to the outside circle, in a style rather indicative of a wheel. On others, the spokes can have a more "flame-like" shape, more indicative of the representation of a star within a diadem. It is not clear what the wheel or star may exactly symbolize, and interpretations vary, from the morning star, to the sun or the heavens. The influence of some Persian symbols of a star within a diadem, or the eight-spoked Buddhist wheel (see the coins of the Indo-Greek king Menander I with this symbol) have also been suggested. The eight-spoked Macedonian star (a variation of which is the Vergina Sun), emblem of the royal Argead dynasty and the ancient kingdom of Macedonia , within a Hellenistic diadem symbolizing royalty (many of the coins depict a small knot with two ends on top of the diadem), seem to be the most probable source for this symbol. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be quite happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Is there a number I can call you with questions about my order? When should I leave feedback? Once you receive your order, please leave a positive. Please don't leave any negative feedbacks, as it happens many times that people rush to leave feedback before letting sufficient time for the order to arrive. The matter of fact is that any issues can be resolved, as reputation is most important to me. My goal is to provide superior products and quality of service.
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