Coins from the First Jewish Revolt against the Romans
This post is Part Two of a series about the destruction of the Temples. Part One can be found here.
When the Jews began to revolt against Rome in the year 66 CE, the Romans closed down the mint at Tyre in Phoenicia where silver coins were minted. Silver coins were used to pay the temple taxes, so they were vital to the Jews. In defiance of Rome, the Jews minted silver and bronze coins which mimicked the weight and other features of the Tyrian shekels. Some important differences were:
1. Instead of the non-Jewish designs which had appeared on coins since the time of Herod, these coins had Jewish symbols such as pomegrantes and chalices.
2. The coins were inscribed in paleo-Hebrew instead of in Greek.
3. The coins were dated by year from the beginning of the revolt.
4. The slogans on the coins speak about redemption, Jerusalem and Israel.
These coins circulated all over Judea and were found at many sites, including Masada and Gamla. The coins were minted even at the very end of the revolt and nine year 5 coins have been found. Three of these were found in the excavation of Masada in the 1960’s by Yigael Yadin. Here is one of those coins, depicting a pomegrante surrounded by the words “Jerusalem the Holy.”
For more information on this coin see Rare Coin from Year 5 of the Revolt, 70 CE. For more on coins from the First Jewish Revolt see Silver Shekel from the First Jewish Revolt, 66-70 CE.