Obverse: Diademed Head of the King Facing Right
Reverse: Zeus Seated Left, Holding Nike and Scepter
The Seleukid Kingdom was established by Seleukos I, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, following the death of Alexander and the division of his empire. At its peak under Seleukos I and Antiochus I, the Seleucid Kingdom comprised almost the whole of the conquests of Alexander with the exception of Egypt. Antiochus IV was the younger son of Antiochus III the Great. He invaded Egypt but withdrew because of pressure from Rome. However, he is best remembered through the Jewish Festival of Hanukkah. Antiochus forced the Jews to worship Greek gods, despoiling the Temple in Jerusalem by placing sculpture of Zeus inside, and prohibited circumcision. These outrageous restrictions caused the Jews to revolt and Antiochus was defeated by Judas Maccabee who then purified the Temple, an event upon which the Festival of Hanukkah is based.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or your purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after us. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and place, whether currency in the age we live or an artifact of a long forgotten empire. This ancient coin is more than an artifact; it is a memorial to a lost kingdom passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation.