Kings of Armenia Minor, Aristoboulos. Æ25. Extremely Rare.

Kings of Armenia Minor, Aristoboulos. Æ25. Extremely Rare.

Kings of Armenia Minor, Aristoboulos Æ25. Nicopolis-ad-Lycum, or Chalkis, dated RY 17 = AD 70/1. 25 mm. 12.5 gm. Obv: BACIΛEΩC APICTOBOYΛOY ET [IZ](date), diademed and draped head left. Rev: TITΩ OΥECΠACIANΩ AYTOKPATΩP CEBACTΩ in six lines within wreath. Kovacs 301; cf. Meshorer 367a; cf. Hendin 1258; cf. Sofaer 172; cf. RG 3; cf. RPC II 1692. Countermark on neck, Howgego pl. 33, 722.1. Extremely Rare.

Great-grandson of Herod I the Great, Aristoboulos was the last of the Herodian Dynasty of Roman vassal kings. Appointed ruler of Armenia Minor in AD 54 by the emperor Nero (Josephus ‘Antiquities’, XX.158). His wife Salome is often identified as the young woman whom the New Testament relates danced for Herod the Great and, at the encouragement of her mother, received the severed head of John the Baptist in return (Matthew 14:1–12; Mark 6:14–29). Aristoboulos supported general Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo in the Roman-Parthian War of AD 58-63, receiving a portion of Armenia as reward. In AD 73 he supplied troops to the governor of Syria, Lucius Caesennius Paetus, who had persuaded the new emperor Vespasian that Antiochos IV of Commagene was planning to revolt and side with Vologases I of Parthia. Aristoboulos’ issued coins in only two years of his reign, years 13 (AD 66/7) and 17 (AD 70/1), as asserted by Kovacs, noted by Hendin (pg. 275), and proven by the clear date on a coin from the only other known issue of Aristoboulos, that which features dual portraits of himself and Salome. The years AD 66 and AD 70 mark the beginning and end of the First Jewish-Roman War, as commemorated in the reverse of the present type which refers to Titus, whom Vespasian had left to suppress the revolt while he himself made his bid for imperial power. The two issues, struck at the beginning and end of the war, honouring first Nero and now Titus, likely represent a public reaffirmation of Aristoboulos’ loyalty to his Roman patrons.
King of Chalkis from AD 57 until his death in 92, the region was then absorbed into the Roman provincial territories, thus ending rule of the descendants of Herod the great.

 

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