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My first Nabataean coin, Aretas IV


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After more than 20 years of collecting ancient coins I got my first Nabataean coin. I like it, and maybe Nabataean coins will become a new little special collection.



Kings of Nabathaea
Aretas IV, Year 2-24
Petra (Jordan) mint
Obv.: laureate head of Aretas right
Rev.: two crossed and filleted cornucopias, Nabataean het (Aretas) between the horns, Aretas in Nabathean language is HRTT (Harithath)
AE, 1.729g, maximum diameter 13.6mm, die axis 0°
Ref.: Al-Qatanani 141, Meshorer Nabataean 70, SNG ANS 6 1432


Aretas IV Philopatris (Harithath) was king of the Nabataeans from about 9 B.C. to 40 A.D. He is considered one of the most important known kings of the Nabataeans and is therefore also called "Aretas the Great". During his reign the Nabataean Empire was at its height.

Around 9 BC, he became king of the Nabataeans as Aretas after the death of his (presumed) brother Obodas III.  Nabataean inscriptions usually refer to him as Aretas, king of Nabatu, who loves his people. Hence the addition Philopatris, "who loves his country". Aretas IV had two wives: Huldu (Chuldu, 1-16) and Shaqilath (Shuqeilat, his sister, from 23).

His daughter Phasaelis married Herod Antipas. 

Petra, the capital of the ancient Nabataean kingdom, is a famous archaeological site in the south-west desert of Jordan. Accessible through a narrow canyon called Al Siq, it contains tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs, earning it the nickname 'Rose City'. Perhaps its most famous structure is the 45m high Al Khazneh, a temple with an ornate Greek-style facade, known as The Treasury. It is believed to have been the mausoleum of the Nabatean king Aretas IV in the 1st century AD. 


Al Khazneh (Mausoleum of Aretas IV):


Source Wikipedia: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license, Author: "Graham Racher" 


I want to see your Nabataean coins and/or your Petra pictures if you've been there!


Edited by shanxi
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Lovely coin, great patina on it.


Aretas IV, with Shuqailat (9.B.C. - 40 A.D.)

Nabataean Kingdom
AR Drachm
O: Laureate and draped bust of Aretas right.  RY30? (21 A.D.)
R: Veiled and draped bust of Shuqailat right; date at end of legend to left.
Petra Mint
Meshorer, Nabataea 100

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Nice looking coin!

Here's my only Petra coin..This one with his wife/ sister...ARETAS_WHITE(1).jpg.7c3466249d8830d76dccdf516809e42a.jpg

Nabataean Kingdom. Aretas IV (Haritat), with Shaqilath..9BC-40AD AE unit Petra mint.
Obverse..Jugate draped busts of Aretas and Shaqilath (wife) right symbol in front (S?)
Reverse..Crossed cornucopias, Nabataean script (spelling Ruler and wifes names) in 3 lines, above, between and below the horns. Aretas name in Nabataean is 'Haritat' Spelt 'HRTT' and his wife 'Shaqilath' spelt 'SQYLT'

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That's lovely, @shanxi! Here's my not-exactly-FDC Aretas IV:

Aretas IV, Philopater, 9 BCE - 40 CE, and wife Shaquilath I.
Nabatean AE 17.5 mm, 4.30 g.
Nabatea, Petra.
Obv: Jugate busts of Aretas and Shaquilath to right.
Rev: Two cornuacopiae, crossed; between them Aramaic legend, "Aretas, Shaquilath" in three lines.
Refs: Meshorer 114; SGI 5699; BMC 28.9,23; Forrer 212.

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@shanxi - Very nice coin and write-up!


I have an Aretas IV + Shaqilath coin that seems to be the most common/popular Nabataean coin.  It has turned out to be one of my favorite coins, which I certainly wasn't expecting when I purchased it!  There is something about the busts, desert patina, and Aramaic letters that I find especially appealing in hand.


King Aretas IV & Queen Shaqilath, Kingdom of Nabataea, 9 BC - 40 AD. AE18, Petra mint, 18mm, 4 grams.

Obv: Jugate busts right of Aretas IV, laureate, and Queen Shaqilath, draped; Aramaic letters.

Rev: Crossed cornucopiae; Aramaic legend 'Aretas, Shaqilath' in three lines. 


ex. Frank Robinson.

Edited by Sol_Invictus
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Nice start to a Nabataean collection @shanxi.  I have a few, mostly from unidentified lots.  Here are three that recently came my way.


Nabataean Kingdom Æ 15 Aretas IV and Shuqailait  (c. 9 B.C. - 40 A.D.) Jugate busts of Aretas IV and Shuqailait right / Two crossed cornucopias, Nabataean legend between horns, [Aretas] | Shaquilath in three lines. Meshorer 112-114? (2.64 grams / 15 x 13 mm) eBay Feb. 2023 


Nabataean Kingdom Æ 16 Rabbel II with Hagru (c. 92-106 A.D.) Rabbel II laureate and Hagru jugate draped busts right / Two crossed cornucopias, Nabataean legend between horns, Rabbel | HagruMeshorer 164; SNG ANS 1452.  (2.62 grams / 14 x 11 mm) eBay Feb. 2023      Lot @ $3.50

This last one is the ugliest (and that is saying a lot).  At first I thought it was an exceptionally ugly Seleucid something-or-other.  Turns out I was in the ballpark, sort of.  It turns out some early Nabataean AEs were imitations of Macedonian staters.  I doubt anybody was fooled into thinking this was a stater:  


Nabataean Kingdom Æ 14 Anonymous Issue Imitating Macedonian Alexander staters (c. 135-9 B.C.)       Petra Mint? Helmeted head of Athena right / Nike advancing left, holding wreath and cornucopia, to left, crescent above [Λ].  Meshorer 1; CN 3; Barkay, Earliest Group 3; HCG 10, 671. (4.00 grams / 14 x 13 mm) eBay Feb. 2023      Lot @ $3.50

Note:  "Schmitt-Korte & Price argue that the anonymous bronzes, imitations of the gold staters of Alexander, are the first issues of a mint at PetraAretas III (87-62 BC) lost his principal city of Damascus to Tigranes II in 72 BC, and the mint was transferred to...PetraThe great variation in style of this type suggests a long period of striking..." CNG Auction

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Nice coin @shanxi!  Hard to find in that condition.



Arabia Petraea, Petra. Aretas IV AE15

Kings of the Nabataeans
Obv: Aretas IV stands between palm branch and monogram.
Rev: His wife Shaqilat standing left, raising hand; wreath to left.
9 B.C.-A.D. 40



Edited by AncientOne
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Really nice coins posted, and the photo of Petra at night, candles in the foreground, is gorgeous.

Here's my Petra bronze, acquired from Roma.

Nabataea, Aretas IV, Shuqailat I, Æ 17, Petra, years 26-48 (AD 17-49).  Acquired  Roma E-Sale 92, lot 592.


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I have a few, but don’t post them as often as I should.

Rabbel II and Queen Hagru Prutah, 70-106 image.jpeg.071e2295edeaf0878e1bf7321ce58f79.jpeg
Petra. Bronze, 14mm, 2.39g. Laureate and draped busts of Rabbel and Hagru conjoined. Crossed cornucopiae; inscription between them הגרו / רבאל (Rabbel / Hagru) (Meshorer 164).

Edited by John Conduitt
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