Coin images © David Hendin, Reprinted with permission

PLANTS NOT PORTRAITS. Herod Antipas’s coinage is telling in what it lacks. Of only five series of coins that Antipas issued—the first of which was in the 24th year of his reign—none of them has any figural images, showing his respectful observance of the Jewish ban against graven images. As shown in the upper bronze coin at left, Antipas limited his coin designs to floral motifs. The obverse bears the Greek inscription “Tiberias” (where it was minted) surrounded by a wreath; the reverse reads “of Herod the Tetrarch, year 33” (i.e., 29/30 A.D.) around a palm branch, a common Jewish symbol that often represents the lulav waved during the holiday of Sukkoth. Antipas’s brother Herod Philip, however, frequently issued coins bearing his own portrait or that of the emperor, as well as other pagan symbols. The lower example at left has a portrait of the emperor Tiberius on the obverse with a laurel branch and an inscription (in Greek), “Tiberius Augustus Caesar.” On the reverse Philip’s regnal year “37” (33/34 A.D.) is written among the columns of the Augusteum of Paneas, which is surrounded by the inscription “In the time of Philip the Tetrarch.”