Learn more about the Types of Coins issued by the Kingdom of Nabataea of ancient Petra in Jordan and the Greek and Roman coins
Ancient Arabia from circa 250’s B.C. to circa 250 A.D. is an interesting topic to explore. There were many different types of coins issued. One of the most powerful kingdoms of the area was the Kingdom of Nabataea. This was a kingdom based in the middle of the desert and was known as a Caravan Kingdom as a lot of caravans passed through there on their way from further south and even east. The kingdom prospered and to this day, the ruins that are left from that time period are gorgeous and an archeological site of importance.
Arabia was to the south of ancient Jerusalem and is therefore an important neighbor that has played a role in ancient biblical history. The Romans at one point consolidated all of Arabia into a province with same name, ending the Kingdom of Nabataea along with others.
The goal of this guide is to explore many different types of ancient coins.
Educational Video about Ancient Petra
Anonymous Arab Kingdom of Nabataea PETRA 270BC Athena Nike Greek Coin i46676
Bronze 16mm (4.04 grams) Petra mint, circa 270-72 B.C.
Reference: HGC 10, 671; Meshorer, Nabataea 1-4
Helmeted head of Athena right.
Nike advancing left, holding wreath and cornucopia; crescent above Λ in field to left.The northern kingdom of Arabia of the Nabataean people, with Petra being the capital existed until early 2nd century A.D. when Roman emperor Trajan created the province of Arabia.
ARABIA Saba Kingdom 160BC Owl as Athens Silver Ancient Greek Coin RARE i47784
Silver ‘Tetradrachm’ 28mm (4.87 grams) Struck circa 160-130 B.C.
Reference: HGC 10, 725; Munro-Hay 1.13il
Laureate male head with long hair right.
Owl standing right on amphora; monograms to left and right.* Numismatic Note: The coins of this kingdom use the reverse similar to the “New Style” tetradrachm coins of Athens, and what the obverse ostensibly is similar to the Roman Republican L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi denarius or perhaps a royal portrait.
Pompey the Great General Beats Aretas III Arab Nabatea Silver Roman Coin i46389
Silver Denarius 18mm (3.68 grams) Rome mint at Rome 58 B.C.
Reference: Aemilia 8; B.M.C. 3878; Syd. 913; Craw. 422/lb; Hendin 1443
M . SCAVR / AED CVR above king Aretas kneeling beside a camel r., EX on ,
S . C on right, REX ARETAS in exergue.
HYPSAE (vs) / AED CVR above Jupiter in quadriga left, CAPTVM on right,
c. HYPSAEVS cos PREIV (ER) in ex. scorpion below horses.This coin commemorated the victory over Aretas III by Pompey the Great’s general, Marcus Aemilius Scaurus. King Aretas III was an ally and supported John Hyrcanus II in war against his brother, Aristobulus II. Upon defeat, King Aretas had to pay a massive sum of 300 talents as a fine to Pompey the Great. M. Aemilius and Pub. Plautius were curule aediles together in 58 B.C. It is interesting to note that this is one of the earliest types that had the moneyer commemorate their own accomplishments on a coin.”Aristobulus was not able to make resistance, but was deserted in his first onset, and was driven to Jerusalem: he also had been taken at first by force, if Scaurus, the Roman general, had not come and seasonably interposed himself and raised the siege.” (Josephus, Wars, 1, VI:2)
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ARETAS IV 9BC Arab Kingdom of Nabataea Authentic PETRA Ancient Greek Coin i46668
ARETAS IV & SHAQUILATH Arab Kingdom of Nabataea PETRA Ancient Greek Coin i46666
Aretas IV Aretas IV, with Shaqilath
Bronze 15mm (2.63 grams) Petra mint, circa 11-40 A.D.
Reference: Meshorer, Nabataea 97
Aretas standing facing, head left, wearing military attire, holding spear and placing hand on hilt of sword; palm frond to left, monogram to right.
Shaqilath standing left, raising hand; wreath to left; to right, name in Aramaic in three lines.
Arab Kingdom of Nabataea ARETAS IV & SHAQUILAT PETRA Ancient Greek Coin i466722
Aretas IV King Aretas IV with Queen Shaqilath
Bronze 20mm (4.36 grams) Petra mint, circa 11-40 A.D.
Reference: Sear GIC 5699; B.M.C. 28.8,15; Meshorer, Nabataea 114
Conjoined bustsr right of Aretas, laureate, and Queen Shaqilath, draped; Aramaic letters in field.
Two cornucopiae, crossed; between them, Aramaic legend = ‘Aretas, Shaqilath’ in three lines.
Arab Kingdom of Nabataea ARETAS IV & SHQUILATH Silver Ancient Greek Coin i46670
Aretas IV – King: 9 B.C. – 40 A.D.
Debased Silver Drachm 16mm (3.28 grams) Petra mint: 11 A.D.
Reference: Sear GIC 5695; Cf. Meshorer, Nabataea 100
Laureate bust of Aretas right; around, Aramaic legend = ‘Aretas, king of Nabataea, lover of his people’.
Conjoined draped busts right of Aretas, laureate, and Queen Shaquilath; around, Aramaic legend = ‘Shaquilath, queen of Nabataea, year 20’ (= c. A.D. 11).
Aretas IV Arab Kingdom of Nabataea PETRA 4BC Original Ancient Greek Coin i503900
Aretas IV Arab Kingdom of Nabataea PETRA 4BC Original Ancient Greek Coin i503855
King Aretas IV of Arab Caravan Kingdom of Nabataea Ancient BibleTime Coin i50387
King Aretas IV of Arab Caravan Kingdom of Nabataea 4BC Ancient Bible Coin i504000
Aretas IV – King: 9 B.C. – 40 A.D.
Bronze 15mm (2.20 grams) Petra mint, Struck 4/3 B.C.
Reference: Meshorer, Nabataea 76
Laureate head of Aretas IV right; in field, right, ח.
Two cornucopiae crossed between them, caduceus; on staff of caduceus, above, ח below, o; in field left, ח.
MALICHUS II & SHAQILATH II Arab Kingdom of Nabataea PETRA Rare Greek Coin i46669
Malichus II – King: 40-71 A.D.
Malichus II and Queen Shaqilath II
Silver Drachm 15mm (3.73 grams) Petra mint, Struck circa 49 A.D.
Reference: Sear GIC 5702; Cf. Meshorer, Nabataea 134
Laureate bust of Malichus right; around, Aramaic legend = ‘Malichus the king, king of Nabataea, year 9’ (= circa A.D. 49)
Veiled and draped bust of Queen Shaquilath II right; around, Aramaic legend = ‘Shaqilath, his siter, queen of Nabataea’.
King Malichus II Arab Caravan Kingdom of Nabataea 64AD Greek Type Coin i50452
Bronze 16mm (2.73 grams) Petra mint, Struck 64/65 A.D.
Reference: Meshorer, Nabataea 140
Jugate heads of Malichus II and Shuqailat II right, the king laureate, with hair hanging down to nape of neck, wearing V-shaped ornament above forehead, the queen laureate; in field, ש מ .
Two cornucopiae crossed; between them, above and below, in three lines, inscription מלכן/שקי/לת (Malichus/Shuqai/lat).
King Rabbel II Arab Caravan Kingdom of Nabataea 75AD Greek Type Coin i50401
Bronze 16mm (2.52 grams) Petra mint, Struck 75/76 A.D.
Reference: Meshorer, Nabataea 146
Jugate portraits of Rabbel II and Shuqailat right, both laureate, head of Rabbel with very long hair covering nape of neck, but of Shuqailat draped.
Two cornucopiae crossed; between them, above and below, in three lines, inscription רבאל/שקילת/אמה (Rabbel/Shuqailat/his mother)
ARABIA FELIX HIMYARITES Yemen Ancient Silver Quinarius Greek-like Coin i39632
Scyphate Silver Quinarius 14mm (1.00 grams)
“RYDN” Royal Series. “‘MDN BYN” (Amdan Bayyin). Circa 80-100 A.D.
Reference: Malcom-Hay 3.4i; BMC Arabia pg. 71, 1; SNG ANS 1596
Male head right within torc; monogram behind.
“‘MDNIBYNI” around, “RYDN” in exergue, small head right; “sceptre” symbol before.
King Rabbel II Gamilat Arab Caravan Kingdom of Nabataea 101AD Greek Coin i5041717
Bronze 17mm (3.47 grams) Petra mint, Struck 101/102 A.D.
Reference: Meshorer, Nabataea 163A
Jugate portraits of Rabbel II, his head laureate, with particularly long hair coming down to nape of neck, undraped, and of Gamilat, laureate, her bust draped.
Two cornucopiae crossed; between them, in two lines, inscription רבאל/גמלת (Rabbel/Gamilat).
TRAJAN creates ARABIA Province 112AD Camel Ancient Silver Roman Rome Coin i53225
Silver Denarius 19mm (3.01 grams) Rome mint: 112 A.D.
Reference: RIC 245; BMCRE 474. Cohen 26 (3 Fr.)
IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS VI P P, Laureate, draped bust right left shoulder.
S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIP Exe: ARAB ADQ, Arabia standing, facing, holding branch
and cinnamon sticks; camel to left.
SEVERUS ALEXANDER 222AD Bostra Arabia Zeus-Ammon Ancient Roman Coin i38501
PHILIP I the ARAB 248AD 1000 Years of Rome Wolf Twins Silver Roman Coin i5217070
Silver Antoninianus 23mm (3.95 grams) Rome mint: 248 A.D.
Commemorating the 1000th anniversary of Rome
Reference: RIC 15; C 178
IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right
SAECVLARES AVGG / II, Lupa ( She-wolf) standing left, looking back to lick her suckling twins, Romulus and Remus.
Article by Ilya Zlobin, world-renowned expert numismatist, enthusiast, author and dealer in authentic ancient Greek, ancient Roman, ancient Byzantine coins and beyond.
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