Kings of Armenia Minor. Aristobulus with Salome (54-92). Ae. 21. “Bring me the head of John the Baptist”. Extremely Rare.


Kings of Armenia Minor. Aristobulus with Salome (54-92). Ae. 21.5 mm. 8.3 gm. Dated RY 13 (66/7). Obv: BACIΛEΩC APICTOBOVΛOV ET IΓ, Diademed and draped bust of Aristobulus left. Rev: BACIΛIC-CHC CAΛOMHC, Diademed and draped bust of Salome left. Meshorer 365 var. or corr. (date); Hendin 1257a; RPC I 3840 var. or corr. (same). Extremely rare, with only a small handful known.

Matthew 14 1-13: At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, 2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. 3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife. 4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. 5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. 6 But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. 7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. 8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger. 9 And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath’s sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. 10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. 11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. 12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

Although neither Matthew nor Mark mention the name of Herodias’ daughter, we are told by Josephus in Chapter 5, Book 18 of his Jewish Antiquities that she was named Salome. Following the death of her first husband (and uncle), Philip the tetrarch in AD 34, Salome married her cousin Aristobulus.  Aristobulus was appointed by Nero in 55 to be King of Armenia Minor. This example of the extremely rare issue shows nearly complete legends on both the obverse and reverse.