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Denomination: Bronze Prutah Date: 37-44 CE
Description: obverse AΓPIΠA BACIΛEWC (King Agrippa), umbrella-like canopy with fringes; reverse three heads of barley between two leaves, Jerusalem mint
History: Herod Agrippa I was the son of Aristobulus and Bernice, and grandson of Herod the Great. After the death of his father, he was sent to the Imperial Court of Rome by his grandfather. There he befriended Claudius, Caligula, and Drusus. Together they grew up and were educated by the Emperor Tiberius. Though his youth in the court was filled with deep friendship and reckless extravagance, his life fell apart due to the death of Drusus, whom he was closest to. Following this life altering event, Herod spiraled into a deep sorrow littered with bouts of excessive spending that nearly ruined him. With help from his wife, sister, brother in law, and uncle, he was pulled from the brink of disaster and given enough support to recover from his debts. Years later, when his friend Caligula became emperor, he was rewarded the territory comprising of most of Israel, including Judea, Galilee, Batanaea and Perea. Herod Agrippa's rule allowed his people a brief period of peace and prosperity. The evil consequences of a ruler's unbridled passions and tyranny had been sufficiently evident to him in Rome, and they had taught him moderation and strict self-control. His people regarded him with love and devotion, because he healed with tender hand the deep wounds inflicted upon the national susceptibilities by brutal Roman governors. He ruled his subjects with compassion and friendliness. Like the ancestral Asmoneans from whom he sprang through his noble grandmother Mariamne, he honored the Law. Like the merest commoner, he carried his basket of first-fruits to the Temple. On the coins he minted, there was great effort in carefully avoiding the placement of any symbols which could offend the people's religious sentiment. The royal canopy on the obverse symbolizes his power, while the three ears of barley pay homage to the real strength of a nation- it's people.