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Rome - The Republic

Moneyer: Aulus Plautius
Held Office: 55 BC
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: Rome
Obverse: Turreted head of Cybele right. "A•PLAVTIVS" before. "AED•CVR•S•C" behind.
Reverse: Bacchius the Jew (= Aristobalus of Judaea?), in attitude of supplication, kneeling right beside camel, presenting olive branch. "BACHIVS" in exergue. "JVDAEVS" on right.
Reference: RCVM 395, RSC Plautia 13, RRC 431/1
Weight: 3.5 gms
Diameter: 17.7 mm
Comment: The obverse type probably refers to the Ludi Megalenses, celebrated by the Curule Aediles.

The kneeling figure is probably Aristobalus, the Jewish high priest/king, then held captive by Pompey in Rome.


Aristobulus was the younger son of Alexander Jannaeus (King of Judaea 103 to 76 BC) and Alexandra. After the death of his mother in 70 BC, there was a civil war between Aristobulus and his brother Hyrcanus, for the possession of the throne. In 63 BC, Aristobulus was deprived of the sovereignty by Pompey and taken as prisoner to Rome. In 57 BC, he escaped from his confinement at Rome, with his son Antigonus, and returned to Judaea, to renewed the war; but he was taken prisoner, and sent back to Rome by Gabinius. In 49 BC he was released by Julius Caesar, who sent him into Judaea, but he was poisoned on the way by some of Pompey's party.

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