A coin depicting the ancient Greek king Antiochus IV, the villain of the Jewish Hanukkah story, has been discovered among a collection of artifacts stolen from a holy site in Israel.
The piece, minted between 169 and 164 BC, commemorates the ancient king’s victories in Egypt. However, Antiochus is better known for persecuting the Jews and desecrating their Temple in Jerusalem over 1,850 years ago.
While the discovery of the coin is exciting and happened just weeks before the first day of Hanukkah, officials are worried about the man who broke the law — he looted several coins and ancient artifacts from a protected area in Kiryat Shmona.
The Israel Antiquities Authority, which raided the man’s home, said removing such objects could harm the important research being conducted at the site and destroy any information that has yet to be revealed.
The ancient coin dates to between 169 and 164 BC and commemorates the ancient Greek king Antiochus IV’s victories over Egypt. However, the king is known for his persecution of the Jews
Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish celebration that begins on December 18th and ends on the evening of December 26th.
The holiday honors the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century BC, destroyed by Antiochus I, who replaced it with an altar praying to Greek gods.
Antiochus captured Jerusalem in 167 BC and desecrated the Temple by sacrificing a boar on an altar to Zeus.
The coin was found inside the home of a man who looted several artifacts from a holy site in Israel
Hanukkah commemorates the Hasmonean victories over the king’s forces in 167 BC.
The Jewish army was led by Matthias Maccabee and his son Judah, who were the first Jews who defended their religious beliefs rather than their lives.
The Maccabean revolt led to the capture of Jerusalem and the restoration of Jewish worship in the Temple and the Hasmonean dynasty that ruled Judea until 67 BC.
Antiochus IV is a villain in the Jewish story of Hanukkah who persecuted the Jews and destroyed their temple. Pictured is a statue of the king
However, the coin is a reminder of the dark time before the victory of the Maccabees over their Greek oppressors.
“Antiochus, king of the Seleucid kingdom, was formally named ‘Epiphanes’ – the face of God, but behind his back his subjects called him Epimanes – Antiochus the Mad.
The raid took place on Tuesday, and while the suspect told the Israel Antiquities Authority he was only searching for geological finds, officials found arrowheads, rings, cosmetics, buckles, lead objects, buttons and more hidden in his home.
“Although the discovery is beautiful and the timing of its discovery before Hanukkah is exciting, we must not forget that the suspect broke the law,” said Nir Distelfeld, inspector of the theft prevention unit for the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Northern District.
Several looted items were found in his home. The suspect claimed to be a geology enthusiast looking for quartz crystals and minerals, but “on the way” also collected coins and ancient artifacts. “
Pictured is the same coin that was found in the man’s home, but this one is not quite as weathered
There are still remnants of the fighting the Jews endured against their Greek oppressors. Last November, the charred remains of a 2,100-year-old Greek fortress were discovered in Israel, and experts said the scene provided “tangible evidence of the Hanukkah story.”
There are still remnants of the fighting the Jews endured against their Greek oppressors.
Last November, the charred remains of a 2,100-year-old Greek fortress were discovered in Israel, and experts said the scene provided “tangible evidence of the Hanukkah story.”
The castle, measuring 50 feet by 50 feet, was built of nine-foot stone walls before being burned to the ground during the Battle of the Hasmoneans and Seleucids, Kingdom of Antioch.
The ancient battle began when the Hasmoneans discovered Seleucid soldiers stationed in the fortress, which sat on a hill overlooking the Hellenistic city of Maricha.
There was no fighting inside the building, but the Jewish rebels tore down the roof, collapsing the walls – and then set the enemy castle on fire.
While moving mounds of earth away from the ruins, archaeologists unearthed thousands of crumbling stones that revealed a huge one-foot-thick layer of destruction containing hundreds of artifacts dating back to the late second century BC.
The team pulled collections of pottery, catapults, iron weapons, burnt wooden beams, and dozens of coins from the site.