Moneta Gallery Coin Museum



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Phoenicia - TYRE Shekel "30 Pieces of Silver"

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Moneta



Registered: August 2005
Location: Arizona USA
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A Biblical related coin known as type "30 Pieces of Silver" accepted/rejected by Judas for the betrayal of Jesus Christ to the Romans.
The Tyrian shekel weighed four Athenian drachmas, about 14 grams, more than earlier 11-gram Israeli shekels, but was regarded as the equivalent for religious duties at that time. Because Roman coinage was only 80% silver, the purer (94% or more) Tyrian shekels were required to pay the temple tax in Jerusalem. The money changers referenced in the New Testament Gospels (Matt. 21:12 and parallels) exchanged Tyrian shekels for common Roman currency. (Wikipedia)
Other possibilities for the "30 Pieces" have been advanced but none were as common as the Tyrian Shekel and meet the criteria of Temple authorities. In 126 - 125 B.C.E. Tyre regained it's autonomy from the Seleukids and the Ptolomaimic Kingdoms and began minting this fine series of shekels.
With such a long-running series, it is only natural that some dates within the series would take on an added significance for collectors of ancients. For example, there is the so-called “millennium shekel,” which was struck in civic year 126, or 1 BC/AD 1. The most popular date in the series, however, is the issue of civic year 159, or AD 33/4. Following traditional chronologies, this is the year in which Jesus was crucified by the Procurator Pontius Pilate. (CoinWeek)
This silver tetradrachm (Shekel) weighs 14.27 grams, which is the median mass for this series, is dated 'Year 5' which equates to 122 - 121 B.C.E. It bears a wonderful portrait of a beardless Melqarth. Being on a smaller and thicker flan, the lion's skin around his neck is off flan as is most of the eagle's head on the reverse. The eagle stands on the "beak" of a galley carrying a palm frond under it's right wing; in the filed to the left is a club, a symbol of Herakles (Hercules). with which Melqarth is associated.
Melek-qart, "King of the City"; (Akkadian: Milqartu) was the tutelary god of the Phoenician city of Tyre. Melqart was often titled Ba'l Sur, "Lord of Tyre", and considered to be the ancestor of the Tyrian royal family. In Greek, he was identified with Heracles and referred to as the Tyrian Herakles.
As Tyrian trade and colonization expanded, Melqart became venerated in Phoenician and Punic cultures from Syria to Spain. The first occurrence of the name is in a 9th-century B.C.E. stela inscription found in 1939 north of Aleppo in northern Syria, the "Ben-Hadad" inscription, erected by the son of the king of Arma, "for his lord Melqart, which he vowed to him and he heard his voice".
Melqart is likely to have been the particular Ba‘al found in the Tanakh (the Jewish Bible, specifically in 1 Kings 16.31–10.26) whose worship was prominently introduced to Israel by King Ahab and largely eradicated by King Jehu. In 1 Kings 18.27, it is possible that there is a mocking reference to legendary Heraclean journeys made by the god and to the annual egersis ("awakening") of the god:
And it came to pass at noon that Elijah mocked them and said, "Cry out loud: for he is a god; either he is lost in thought, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened."
Toned XF, BMC56 (Pegasi Auctions A32-223)
For a great introduction to the coins of the Bible see the Nov 2017 issue of ANA's "Numismatist" at > [ link ]
· Date: October 3, 2015 · Views: 1,738 · Filesize: 105.3kb · Dimensions: 890 x 412 ·
Keywords: Phoenicia, Tyre, Shekel
Additional Categories: Greek

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