Bronze coin depicting the head of Herod Philip and the Augusteum in Paneas (1-2 CE)


Bronze denomination

1 CE to 2 CE



Caesarea Philippi

Actual Location (Collection/Museum): 

Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Name of Ruler: 

Herod Philip

Obverse (Image and Inscription): 

Image: Head of Philip
Inscription: ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟΥ ΤΕΤΡΑΡΧΟΥ - (coin of) Philip the Tetrarch

Reverse (Image and Inscription): 

Image: Facade of tetrastyle temple (Augusteum in Paneas)
Inscription: CEBACTΩ ΚΑΙCAP – (to) Caesar Augustus

Diameter (mm): 
Weight (g): 

Meshorer, Ancient Jewish Coinage 2, Philip, no. 2, p. 244; RPC I/1, no. 4939, p. 680-681.

This bronze coin, minted at Paneas-Caesarea Philippi by Philip in 1-2 CE, depicts on the obverse the head of Philip and on the reverse the facade of a tetrastyle temple, possibly the Augusteum in Paneas. The inscriptions are in Greek. On the obverse, the inscription records the title and dynastic name of Philip the tetrarch. On the reverse, the inscription refers to the Roman emperor Augustus, as Augustus Caesar. Philip, one of the sons of Herod, had been appointed after the death of his father as the tetrarch of a large area, which included the territories of Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, Batanea and Paneas (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities XVII.188). The vast majority of the population living in these areas was of non-Jewish extraction. The fact that very few Jews lived in the area is mirrored in the iconography of the coins minted by Philip, which are devoid of Jewish symbols and include anthropomorphic images that are contrary to Jewish tradition. On the obverse are depicted portraits of the ruler, of the emperor or other members of the imperial family, while on the reverse is often depicted a tetrastyle temple. Once appointed tetrarch, Philip made improvements to the city of Paneas, which had been one of the capitals of the Herodian kingdom (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities XVIII.28). Indeed, Philip chose Paneas as capital of the area he ruled and he also refounded it as a city and renamed it Caesarea. It was in that very city that the mint that produced all the coins of Philip for the period going from the year 5 to the year 37 of his reign was settled (see RPC I/1, p. 680).

The obverse of the coin depicts the portrait of Philip, looking to the right. The ruler is depicted bareheaded (Meshorer, Ancient Jewish Coinage 2, p. 45-46). In fact the title of tetrarch did not give Philip the right to wear a crown. Josephus states that the only symbol of power of the tetrarch was his throne (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities XVIII.107). 
The temple depicted on the reverse ought to be identified with the Augusteum (Meshorer, Ancient Jewish Coinage 2, p. 46), erected by Herod the Great (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities XV.363). This coin mirrors the position of Philip as a client ruler. On one side of the coin, the ruler celebrates himself through the depiction of his portrait, following Hellenistic antecedents. Yet, on the reverse, Philip celebrates the imperial cult established by his father, and thus the Roman emperor.  

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