Roma Numismatics Ltd > E-Sale 101Auction date: 13 October 2022
Lot number: 389

Price realized: 480 GBP   (Approx. 531 USD / 548 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:


Kings of Armenia Minor, Aristoboulos, with Salome, Æ 4 Chalkoi. Nicopolis-ad-Lycum, or Chalkis, dated RY 13 = AD 66/7. BACIΛEΩC A[PICTOBOVΛO]V ET IΓ, diademed and draped bust of Aristoboulos to left / BACIΛICCHC CAΛOMHC, diademed and draped bust of Salome to left. Kovacs 300; RPC I 3840; TJC 365 corr. (date). 5.49g, 21mm, 12h.

Near Very Fine. Extremely Rare.

From the inventory of a UK dealer.

Son of Herod of Chalkis and great-grandson of Herod I 'the Great', Aristoboulos hailed from the Herodian Dynasty of Roman vassal kings and in turn was granted the kingdom of Armenia Minor in AD 54 by the emperor Nero (Josephus 'Antiquities', XX.158). Though uncertain, 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). The martyrdom by beheading of John the Baptist is a holy day observed by various Christian churches, and a theme often seen in art, sculpture, music and poetry.

A loyal client king of Rome, Aristoboulos supported the general Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo in the Roman-Parthian War of AD 58-63, receiving a portion of Greater Armenia as reward, and in AD 73 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' decision to strike 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 this dated issue is significant. 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 then Titus, probably therefore represent a public reaffirmation of Aristoboulos' loyalty to his Roman patrons.

Also king of Chalkis from AD 57 until his death in 92, whereupon the region was absorbed into the Roman provincial territories, a mint location in Chalkis has been cited as a possibility for the production of Aristoboulos' coinage, though traditionally it has been noted as 'presumably' being from Nicopolis-ad-Lycum, where a specimen was acquired by F. Cumont c. 1900. Given the close proximity of Chalkis to the war in Judaea and the notable similarity in appearance and fabric of these coins to those of Chalkis, a mint location in Chalkis cannot be discounted.

Estimate: 800 GBP