Antigonus   [executed 30 BCE]

Given Hebrew name: Mattatayah (Mattathias)

Ninth & last Hasmonean to claim control of Judea. The ambitious younger son of Aristobulus II, with his older brother, led several futile Jewish rebellions against the Romans (57-55 BCE) during their father's imprisonment, which only increased Rome's suspicions of independence-minded Jews. The murder of Antipater (43 BCE) --  the chief supporter of his uncle, Hyrcanus II -- led Antigonus to launch a last attempt to seize control of Judea. He was defeated in battle by Antipater's younger son, Herod. But Antigonus allied himself with the Parthians, who were challenging Rome for control of Syria & Palestine. Proclaiming Antigonus "king" [basileus], a Parthian force took Jerusalem (40 BCE), deposed Hyrcanus from the high-priesthood & held Herod's older brother, Phasael, hostage. Herod, however, escaped & rallied Roman support. With his Parthian allies bested by Marc Antony, Antigonus was isolated & eventually captured in Jerusalem by Herod (37 BCE), who delivered him to the Romans at Antioch, where he was beheaded: the first "king" to be so executed at the hands of Rome.

References: Josephus, Antiquities 14.297-298, 330-346, 365-368, 379-418, 457-490
                   _____, War 1.173-174, 195-198, 248-254, 269-303, 317-319, 353, 357.
                   Cassius Dio, Roman History 49.22.

Other resources on line:

Large bilingual bronze coin minted by Antigonus to win popular support in his struggle with Herod. The face (left) is inscribed in Hebrew, the reverse (right) in Greek. The Hebrew inscription (surrounding a double cornucopia) -- "Mattatayah the High Priest and the Council of the Jews" -- claims supreme Judean religious authority, while the Greek (surrounding a laurel wreath) -- Antigonou Basileos ["of King Antigonus"] -- asserts Antigonus' Hellenistic political pretensions.

For high resolution images of this and other coins of Antigonus see Joseph Sermarini's Forum Ancient Coins.

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