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The Coins of Herod the Great

Bronze coin of Herod the Great6pm, Thursday 15th April 2010

Stevenson Lecture Theatre, Clore Education Centre, The British Museum, London WC1  

A lecture by David M. Jacobson, University College, London

Followed by wine

Lecture abstract

It is well known that Herod the Great (37-4 BCE) lavished considerable effort on an ambitious building programme, the centrepiece of which was his reconstruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. However, Herod was also instrumental in erecting pagan temples, including three sanctuaries in his own kingdom dedicated to the worship of the Emperor Augustus and Dea Roma, at Samaria-Sebaste, Caesarea Maritima, and at Paneas (Banias), and several pagan temples outside his kingdom. There has been much recent research on Herod, examining his religious sympathies and cultural orientation. It is well known that ancient coins, and especially those of the Roman Imperial period, were used as a vehicle of political propaganda and ruler ideology. This lecture probes the imagery and inscriptions employed on Herod's coins for evidence of how he wished to be seen by his subjects and his Imperial masters.

 

 Above image: The largest bronze coin of Herod the Great - Obverse: tripod with lebes mounted on a stepped podium, flanked by a date on the left (LΓ= year 3) and (royal?) monogram on the right. The circumferential inscription in Greek reads HPΩΔOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (= of King Herod). Reproduced from a private collection, with permission.

 

 
 
 

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