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Coin Struck by Vilified King from Hanukkah Story Found in Jerusalem

Archaeologist Orna Cohen with the ancient coin found in the Tower of David courtyard (Courtesy Shay Amiran) Archaeologist Orna Cohen with the ancient coin found in the Tower of David courtyard (Courtesy Shay Amiran)

A chief conservator for Jerusalem’s Tower of David found a bronze penny showing the face of Antiochus IV Epiphanes during routine work last week before the start of Hanukkah. This notable king was defeated by the Maccabees – which is believed to be a blessing from God – in the Jewish Hanukkah story.

A bronze penny minted by the Greek tyrant from the Hanukkah story was recently stumbled upon by archaeologists amid the ruins of Jerusalem’s Tower of David during routine cleaning of the site, the museum said in a statement Tuesday ahead of the commencement of the eight-day festival on Saturday night…

The head of Antiochus IV Epiphanes appears on the front of the bronze penny, and the reverse has a goddess holding something — perhaps a torch — in her hand.

Antiochus IV was a Seleucid monarch remembered in Jewish history for his promotion of Hellenization and suppression of religious observances. While he was battling the rival Ptolemaic kingdom in Egypt for control of the Levant, Jewish zealots rose in revolt against Antiochus and the Hellenized high priest installed in the Jerusalem temple.

Tags: Facts and Findings

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