KINGS OF ARMENIA MINOR. Aristobulus, 54-71/2. Oktachalkon (Bronze, 25 mm, 11.78 g, 11 h), with Titus (69-81). Chalcis (?), RY 17 = 70/1. [BACIΛEΩC APICTOBOYΛO]Y ET IZ Diademed and draped bust of Aristobulus to left; on neck, countermark: monogram. Rev. TITΩ / OYECΠA/CIANΩ AY/TOKPATO/PI CEBAC/TΩ within laurel wreath. Kovacs 301. RPC II 1692. For countermark, Kovacs p. 79, 24. Very rare and unusually attractive, with a bold portrait and a lovely dark patina. Very fine.
Aristobulus' sole coinage was struck in the years 66/7 and 70/1, which coincide with the beginning and the end of the Jewish War. This not only provides valuable information regarding the length of Aristobulus' reign as King of Armenia Minor, it also suggests that he felt the need to express public allegiance to the Romans in a time when they were fighting the insurrection of the king's fellow believers in Palestine. In fact, the remarkable mentioning of Titus, Rome's commander in Judaea, in preference to the emperor Vespasian on the reverse of this issue is a strong argument in favor of an attribution of the series to Antiochia or, rather, Chalcis, instead of to the Armenian capital Nicopolis ad Lycum: perhaps Aristobulus actively supported the Roman war efforts from a base in his family's native town. Nonetheless, the introduction of a new civic era in Nicopolis ad Lycum in 71/2 shows that the king was disposed by Vespasian as King of Armenia Minor soon thereafter. This does not necessarily imply imperial discontent, however, as it is likely that he was subsequently granted the small client state of Chalcis ad Belum, where an Aristobulus is attested as king in 72/3.