Juba II, King of Mauritan

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Jochen1, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    Dear Friends of ancient history!

    The client kingdoms of the Romans were an important instrument of their rule and are historically very significant. They are also an interesting field of collecting for numismatists, which unfortunately is often neglected.

    Mauritania, Juba II, King of Mauritania 25 BC-23 AD.
    AR - Denarius, 3.24g, 17.83mm, 180°.
    ca. 11 AD(?)
    Av.: REX IVBA (from lower r.)
    Head of Juba II with diadem n.r.
    Rv.: BACIΛ-ICC-A KΛEO[ΠA]TPA. (from lower r.)
    Isis crown with ears of grain above crescent moon
    Ref.: SNG Copenhagen 574; Müller 89
    Nearly SS, Vs. somewhat off-centre.
    ex Harlan J. Berk
    Origin and Family:
    The father of Juba II. (c. 50 BC-23 AD) was Juba I (king of Numidia, c. 60-46 BC), son of Hiempsal II. (King of Numidia, 88-68 BC). In the civil war, he sided with Pompey against Caesar and destroyed the army of Scribonius Curio, who was to wrest Africa from Pompey. When Caesar landed in Africa in 47 BC, he was ready with large troops to support the Pompeians against Caesar. After Caesar's victory at Thapsus, he fled back to Numidia without his destroyed army, but Zama closed the gates to him. He then committed suicide. Caesar made Numidia the province of Africa Nova.

    Juba II was brought to Rome by Caesar after Caesar's victory at Thapsus and was carried along in his fourfold triumphal procession. He then grew up at the court of Octavia, Octavian's sister, where he received the education of an educated Roman. Augustus granted him Roman citizenship and he was given the name Gaius Iulius Juba. After the Cantabrian War (26/25), Augustus installed him as king in Mauritania. This made him one of the many strategically important client kings of the Roman Empire. He traced himself back to Heracles and Tinge (Pauly). Tinge was the wife of the Libyan giant Antaios, whom Heracles had killed and with whom Heracles subsequently had a son Safax, who founded the city of Tunis and named it after his mother.

    It is known of his military activities that he, together with Cornelius Lentulus, put down an uprising of the Gaetulians, tribes south of the Atlas Mountains, in 6 AD. Of economic importance was that under his reign purple deposits were discovered on the Purpurariae Insulae, 2 islands off the coast of Mauritania, which were traded under the name "Gaetulian purple". The islands were probably the Canary Islands and the purple the resin of the dragon trees (Dracaena draco).

    Around 20 BC he was married by Augustus to Cleopatra Selene, who had also grown up at the court of Octavia, a daughter of Cleopatra VII and Marcus Antonius. With her he had a son, Ptolemy, who succeeded him on the throne. After the death of Cleopatra Selene, he entered into a second marriage with Glaphyra, the daughter of the Cappadocian king Archelaus, who had been married before him to Alexander, the son of Herod the Great, and who left him again a short time later to marry Herod Archelaus, Alexander's stepbrother, to the annoyance of the Jews.
    Juba II. Copenhagen.jpg
    Marble bust of Juba II: from the early 1st century, today in the Glyptothek in Copenhagen

    Culture and science:
    His focus, however, was undoubtedly on culture and science. Under Juba II, Greek culture spread throughout North Africa. He renamed his residence Iol Caesarea in honour of Augustus and developed it into a cultural centre. He founded an important library and furnished his capital, as well as Volubilis, with temples, statues and other art treasures, and also had Egyptian works of art transferred there after his marriage.

    Like his grandfather Hiempsal II, who wrote a history of Numidia in Punic and was cultically revered, he was extremely interested in science and very active himself. Unfortunately, most of his works have been lost and are only known from the accounts of writers and historians. He was highly praised by Pliny and Plutarch, who made use of his works. Pliny writes that Juba was then better known as a scientist than as a king. He is known to have written books About

    (1) Geography:
    2 books "About the Assyrians
    2 books "On the Libyans". In these he relocates the sources of the Nile to West Africa,
    but already knows the Nile cataracts.
    "On the Arabs", in which he describes the coast from the Red Sea to India.
    He dedicated this work to Gaius Caesar, the grandson of Augustus, who lived from
    1 B.C.-4 A.D., who undertook a campaign in the Orient. It is assumed that Juba accompanied accompanied him on this journey.

    (2) History:
    2 books of "Roman History". This work may well have been a compilation
    of books by other historians. In any case, Dionysius of Halicarnassus is said to have made use of it.

    (3) Comparative Cultural History:
    15 books Comparative compilation of customs and institutions with derivation of Roman things from Greek. This is said to have been a main source for Plutarch.

    (4) Rhetoric:
    2 books "On the Decline of Oratory".

    (5) Arts:
    17 books on the history of theatre and music, one of his Hobbies
    8 books on graphic arts

    (6) Natural history
    About the miracle plant Euphorbion discovered in the Atlas Mountains. This is a
    spurge (Euphorbia mauritanica L.), the gummy milky juice of which was
    its gummy milky juice was used as a remedy. This plant got its name
    (and today the whole genus!) after the personal physician of Juba II, Euphorbos, who was a brother of Antonius Musa, the equally famous personal physician of Augustus.

    He is said to have collected Pythagorean writings.

    Most of his works were written in Greek, for which he had a preference since his time in Rome.

    One can see that his interests were wide-ranging, but one must also ask how he could have had time for his governmental activities?

    Cleopatra Selene:
    The reverse of the coin is dedicated to Cleopatra Selene. She was the daughter of Cleopatra VII and Marcus Antonius and the twin sister of Alexander Helios. Like her mother, she considered herself the incarnation of Isis, whose star was the moon (Selene). This was the counterpart to Helios, Sun, her brother's name. At the age of 6 she was made Queen of Cyrene by Cleopatra VII (so-called "endowments of Alexandria"), although the military administration remained in Roman hands. After the battle of Actium and the suicide of her parents, she was taken to Rome and there, perhaps also her brother, was carried along in the triumphal procession. In 20 BC, Augustus married her to Juba II.

    As Queen of Mauretania, she presented herself as a self-confident ruler in the succession of the Ptolemies. She had coins minted in her name and proudly called herself Basilissa. She had a son, Ptolemy, with Juba II, who succeeded him on the throne. There is no agreement about a possible daughter.

    The date of death of Cleopatra Selene is assumed to be 5 BC. Coins with her portrait from the years 11-17 AD, which were found in 1907 at Ksar in Morocco, seem to be posthumous coinages.
    Mausoleum of Juba II and Cleopatra Selene in Sidi Rached, Algeria.

    (1) Plinius the Elder., Naturalis Historiae

    (1) Der Kleine Pauly
    (2) Isabelle Badur, Das Leben vvon Juba II., Untersuchung seiner geographishen
    Studien in der Naturalis Historiae von Plinius d. Ae., Seminararbeit 2001
    (3) Helmut Genaust, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der botanishen Pflanzennamen

    Online Sources:
    (1) Wikipedia

    Best regards
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    As I understand it, Mauretania included the modern country of Morocco. Because of this, I have long desired a few coins of Juba - but I haven't gotten any yet. Yours is quite nice!

    What are the most common types of Juba II coins?
    Are there any common problems or notable counterfeits?
    Can anyone talk a bit about other kings/queens of Mauretania and their coins?
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  4. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Very nice Jochen. I have always loved Juba II and Cleopatra Selene's coins. For a time I was trying to collect all of Antony's descendants. Here are 2 of my Juba II's


    Juba II and Cleopatra Selene
    Diademed head right

    Star and crescent.

    Caesarea; 25 B.C.-23 A.D
    17 mm, 2.62 gm

    MAA 85; SNG Copenhagen 590; Mazard 300.
    VF, toned



    Juba II & Cleopatra Selene daughter of Antony

    Head of Juba II left.

    Cleopatra Selene left

    dated year 6 = 20-19 BC.


    Very Rare

    Ex-D. Loates Fine Arts; Ex-William McDonald Collection; Ex-Geoffrey Bell 2012 Fall Auction lot 273
  5. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    @Jochen1 - informative as always. I suspect Juba's scholarly nature
    made him a good client king - not too ambitious.
    He produced many interesting coin types, of which I have a small
    sub-collection :


    REX IVBA, diademed head right
    Cornucopiae with fillet hanging to either side, transverse sceptre in background.
    Mazard 243; MAA 94; SNG Copenhagen 581


    REX IVBA, head of Juba II in the guise of Hercules, wearing lion skin headdress; club behind / Club draped with lion's skin, bow to right; arrow and RXXXXII to left.
    SNG Copenhagen 585 var. (Year 41); Mazard 182 var. (same).


    REX IVBA, Diademed head right
    Headdress of Isis surmounted by corn ears on left, and sistrum on right; BA-CIΛCC-A across fields, KΛEOΠATPA in exergue.
    Mazard 313; MAA 99; SNG Copenhagen 551


    REX•IVBA, diademed head of Juba right
    KΛЄOΠATPA BACIΛICCA above and below crocodile standing to left on ground line
    MAA 104; Mazard 340; SNG Copenhagen 592
  6. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member


    I wrote by mistake:
    "He dedicated this work to Gaius Caesar, the grandson of Augustus, who lived from 1 B.C.-4 A.D., who undertook a campaign in the Orient."

    It should be: "who undertook from 1 B.C. - 4 A.D. a campaign in the Orient."

    +VGO.DVCKS and Alegandron like this.
  7. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Agreed! Thanks for the as always excellent writeup, Jochen.

    MAURETANIA Juba II - Cornucopiae 221 new.JPG
    AR Denarius. 3.14g, 17mm. Iol-Caesarea mint, 25 BC - AD 24 AD. MAA 95; SNG Copenhagen 579. O: REX IVBA, diademed head right. R: Cornucopia; transverse scepter in background, crescent to upper right.
    Ex Ronald J. Hansen Collection; ex CNG E-Auction 319 (Jan 2014), lot 149; ex Noble 66 (30 March 2001), lot 3452

    MAURETANIA Juba II Cleo Selene - AR Denarius 4132.JPG JUBA II with CLEOPATRA SELENE
    AR Denarius. 2.91g, 17.2mm. Iol-Caesarea mint, circa 20 BC - AD 20. Mazard 361; MAA 108; SNG Copenhagen 566. O: REX IVBA, diademed head of Juba right. R: BACIΛICCA KΛEΟΠΑΤΡA, diademed and draped bust of Cleopatra Selene left.
    Ex Stein A. Evensen Collection, purchased from John Jencek, July 2009

    MAURETANIA Cleopatra Selene - AE30 Crocodile 4169.JPG KINGDOM OF MAURETANIA. Cleopatra Selene II.
    AE30. 12.46g, 30.2mm. Iol-Caesarea mint, circa 20 BC - AD 20. SNG Copenhagen 612; Mazard 395; MAA 214. O: [BACIΛICCA] KΛE[ΟΠΑΤΡA], diademed and draped bust right. R: KΛEΟΠΑΤ[ΡA], Crocodile right; [BACIΛICCA] in exergue.
  8. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Another fine write-up.

    I have but one Juba II:

    Mauretania - Juba II den 1990 (0).jpg
    Mauretania Denarius
    Juba II
    (25 B.C.-23 A.D.)
    Caesarea (Iol) Mint

    REX IVBA, diademed head right / Filleted cornucopia with transverse sceptre behind; crescent in upper right.
    SNG Copenhagen 579; MAA 95;Mazard 241; SGI 5974.1.
    (2.80 grams / 16 mm )
    Broucheion, Bing, Jochen1 and 3 others like this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page