From hunting Romans to stalking a silver coin, the Judean Sicarii are the third in the Assassin’s series

A cool theme for a coin series, the world of assassination has always drawn attention, not just from the usual conspiracy theorists, but from historians, who understand the sheer weight of impact a few can have on the direction a civilisation moves. While the name ‘assassin’ is believed to derive from the medieval Arab group, the Nizari, that doesn’t mean the practice of targetted political murder did, or that they were the first group to do so. The Sicarii, harking back to as early as 6 CE, are a perfect example.

The Sicarii were a group of Jewish assassins who operated in the 1st century CE, during the Roman occupation of Judea. They were known for their use of concealed daggers, called sicae, to kill Roman officials and Jews who collaborated with them. The group was associated with the Zealots, a radical Jewish movement that advocated for armed resistance against Roman rule. They played a role in the First Jewish-Roman War and were known for their extreme tactics, including the assassination of the high priest Jonathan in the Temple of Jerusalem. The Sicarii were ultimately defeated by the Romans, and their movement faded away.

An obvious subject for the Mint of GdaƄsk to use in their Assassins coin series, and the first of the three issues to date to go back to the ancient world, the Sicarii are depicted as a group of three in hooded robes, and carrying gilded, curved knives. Behind them are buildings exhibiting typical architectural forms of the period. It’s quite the menacing group, and it’s easy to see from the coin art how they went about their business. The obverse is a flourishing mix of lines, cleverly incorporating a pair of daggers.

All told, a fine addition to the Nizari, and Knight’s Templar coins. There are plenty more stories to be told in this dark world, and we genuinely hope they continue to do so, encompassing not just the groups that committed the assassinations, but those, like the Knights Templar, who fought against them. With the first recorded assassination being the Pharaoh Teti way back in 2291 BCE, and other famous examples like Philip of Macedon, Julius Caesar, and even the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, there are plenty of subjects to choose from,

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $5 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 62.2 g of 0.999 silver
DIMENSIONS 45.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS High-relief, Selective gilding
MINTAGE 999