Category Archives: CoinWeek Ancient Coins

Coins of Herod the Great – CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series

By Mike Markowitz for CoinWeek ….. IN BIBLICAL HISTORY and popular legend, Herod “the Great”, Rome’s client king of Judaea from 40 to 4 BCE, is an evil tyrant. But ironically, the atrocity he is best remembered for–the “Massacre of the Innocents” (Matthew, 2:16–18)–probably never happened. Herod was born about 73 BCE. Herod’s wealthy father, […]

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One of a Kind: Some Unique Ancient Coins

CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series by Mike Markowitz for CoinWeek ….. “This is a very rare coin; only two examples known! Unfortunately, the only guy in the world who cares has the other one.” — Classic Numismatic Joke (source unknown) “Unique” means one of a kind. The ultimate rarity. The rarest anything can be. This designation, […]

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CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series: Macedon Before Alexander

By Mike Markowitz for CoinWeek …..   The extent of the Kingdom of Macedonia is as ill-defined as its history is fragmentary (Raymond, 3). ANCIENT MACEDONIANS[1] were marginal Greeks. Although permitted to compete in the Olympics, the Macedonians spoke a distinctive dialect. While their neighbors were creating novel forms of government like democracy, oligarchy and […]

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CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series – The Seleucids and Their Coins: Part III

CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series by Mike Markowitz ….. Part I | Part II Antiochus V & Timarchus When Seleucid king Antiochus IV died unexpectedly in 164 BCE, he left his nine-year-old son in the care of Lysias, a trusted official. As Antiochus V, the boy’s portrait appears on the coinage[1] with the epithet Eupatoros (“son of a […]

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Does This Toga Make Me Look Fat? Clothing on Ancient Coins

CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series by Mike Markowitz …. And if any man will sue thee at law and take away thy coat [Greek: chiton; Latin: tunica], let him have thy cloak [Greek: himation; Latin: pallium] also. —Matthew, 5:40[1] LIVING IN A WORLD OF CHEAP, machine-made textiles, it is easy for us to forget that every […]

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The Image of Jesus on Ancient Coins

CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series by Mike Markowitz …. As with politicians, nothing is more important to gods than image … Perhaps this is the secret of the longevity of the God of Israel, that He never allowed an image of Himself[1]. THE OLD TESTAMENT’S STRICT PROHIBITION of idolatry inhibited the development of religious art in […]

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CAPTA: The Coinage of Roman Imperial Conquest

CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series by Mike Markowitz ….   He hath brought many captives home to Rome Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill: — Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2 ROME LIVED BY CONQUEST. THE SPOILS of conquered territories and peoples helped to pay the expenses of the state. Mark Antony’s funeral oration […]

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CAPTA: The Coinage of Roman Imperial Conquest

CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series by Mike Markowitz …. He hath brought many captives home to Rome Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill: — Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2 ROME LIVED BY CONQUEST. THE SPOILS of conquered territories and peoples helped to pay the expenses of the state. Mark Antony’s funeral oration for […]

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CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series: Coinage of the Normans in Sicily

By Mike Markowitz for CoinWeek …. FOR ENGLISH SPEAKERS, THE Norman conquest of England in 1066 is one of the most memorized events in Western history. But few have ever heard of the Norman conquest of Sicily. Descendants of ferocious Vikings who settled in the French province of Normandy, the warlike Normans were eventually Christianized. […]

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Ancient Coins – How Elephants were Depicted on Ancient Coinage

CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series by Mike Markowitz …. STRONG, INTELLIGENT AND LONG-LIVED – yet surprisingly gentle – elephants have long exerted a powerful hold over the human imagination. Prehistoric cave paintings depict elephants and their extinct cousins, the wooly mammoth and mastodon. Ivory from elephant tusks was a precious raw material in the ancient world […]

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CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series: Janus, God of January

By Mike Markowitz for CoinWeek …. ANCIENT ROMANS KNEW even less about the prehistoric origins of their religion than we do, since we have knowledge from centuries of archaeology. Latin writers of the Classical era tried to connect their own native Italian gods to the prestigious gods of ancient Greece, with their complex genealogies and […]

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CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series: Janus, God of January

By Mike Markowitz for CoinWeek ….   ANCIENT ROMANS KNEW even less about the prehistoric origins of their religion than we do, since we have knowledge from centuries of archaeology. Latin writers of the Classical era tried to connect their own native Italian gods to the prestigious gods of ancient Greece, with their complex genealogies […]

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Ancient Coin Profiles: Byzantine Empire – Manuel I Aspron Trachy

Overview: In 1092 CE the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus enacted sweeping coinage reforms. He stopped production of previous denominations and introduced five new ones: the gold hyperpyron (which served as the unit of account for the new money), the electrum aspron trachy, the billon (copper and silver) aspron trachy, the copper tetarteron, and the […]

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Coinage of Kyrene: A Greek City in Libya

CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series by Mike Markowitz…. THE JEBEL AKHDAR OR “GREEN MOUNTAINS” OF LIBYA stretches eastward from Benghazi for a hundred miles (160 km) along the coast. With an average annual rainfall of 15-20 inches (375-500 mm), these limestone hills are the most forested region in North Africa. In ancient times, before centuries of […]

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