The coins minted by Herod the Great honored the Jewish tradition of not depicting graven images. While Greek and Roman coins depicted objects such as faces, idols, and astrological signs, Herod used objects such as helmets, diadems, shields, ships, bowls, and palm branches.
Herod the Great ruled Judea from about 40 BC to 4 BC. He had Rome’s military support in administering the area, which included two major trade routes between Africa and Asia. In addition to foreign trade, the territory was famous for its own agricultural products, especially olive oil (important for cooking, ointments, and lamp fuel) and dates (the main sweetener before sugar).
The reign of Herod the Great was marked by massive growth. Herod used the money from trade and taxes to finance some huge building projects, including the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the port city of Caesarea Maritima, and the fortresses at Masada, Antonia, and the Herodium.