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Coins Found from the Time of the Maccabean Revolt

Israeli archaeologists recently discovered a trove of silver coins dating from the time of the Jewish revolt against Syrian-Greek rule. They were discovered in the town of Modi’in, which was the hometown of the Hasmonean dynasty that led the uprising. Sue Surkes writes:

The sixteen coins from the Hasmonean period (ca. 167-63 BCE) were concealed in a rock crevice up against a wall of a large agricultural estate, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Tuesday.

The excavation’s director Abraham Tendler said the shekels and half-shekels were minted in the city of Tyre, now part of Lebanon, and bear the images of the [Seleucid] king, Antiochus VII, and his brother Demetrius II. . . .

The discovery of the silver coins provides, [according to Tendler], “compelling evidence that one of the members of the estate who had saved his income for months needed to leave the house for some unknown reason. He buried his money in the hope of coming back and collecting it, but was apparently unfortunate and never returned. It is exciting to think that the coin hoard was waiting here 2,140 years until we exposed it.” . . .

Numerous bronze coins minted by the Hasmonean kings were also discovered in the excavation in addition to the sixteen silver ones, the authority reported. They bear the names of kings such as Yehoḥanan, Judah, Jonathan, or Mattathias with the title “high priest and head of the Council of the Jews.”

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, History & Ideas, Maccabees

In Dealing with Iran, the U.S. Can Learn from Ronald Reagan

When Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House in 1981, the consensus was that, with regard to the Soviet Union, two responsible policy choices presented themselves: détente, or a return to the Truman-era policy of containment. Reagan, however, insisted that the USSR’s influence could not just be checked but rolled back, and without massive bloodshed. A decade later, the Soviet empire collapsed entirely. In crafting a policy toward the Islamic Republic today, David Ignatius urges the current president to draw on Reagan’s success:

A serious strategy to roll back Iran would begin with Syria. The U.S. would maintain the strong military position it has established east of the Euphrates and enhance its garrison at Tanf and other points in southern Syria. Trump’s public comments suggest, however, that he wants to pull these troops out, the sooner the better. This would all but assure continued Iranian power in Syria.

Iraq is another key pressure point. The victory of militant Iraqi nationalist Moqtada al-Sadr in [last week’s] elections should worry Tehran as much as Washington. Sadr has quietly developed good relations with Saudi Arabia, and his movement may offer the best chance of maintaining an Arab Iraq as opposed to a Persian-dominated one. But again, that’s assuming that Washington is serious about backing the Saudis in checking Iran’s regional ambitions. . . .

The Arabs, [however], want the U.S. (or Israel) to do the fighting this time. That’s a bad idea for America, for many reasons, but the biggest is that there’s no U.S. political support for a war against Iran. . . .

Rolling back an aggressive rival seems impossible, until someone dares to try it.

Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Cold War, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Foreign policy