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The First Jewish Revolt as Reflected on the City Coins of the Southern Levant, Israel Numismatic Research 13, 2018, 121-138.


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The paper deals with civic coinages in the Southern Levant during and after the first Jewish revolt. It traces the increase of mint output and looks at the coin iconography. The impact of the Judaea Capta coins on the local coinages has long been recognized, but this paper discusses less explicit reflections of the revolt. Some of the coinages evoke Roman victory. These images, which have never been systematically studied, underline the regional impact of the conflict. Furthermore, regional variations appear; e.g., the cities on the coast responded differently to the events than cities in Galilee or in the Decapolis.
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13 | 2018
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Israel Numismatic Research
Published by the Israel Numismatic Society
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© The Israel Numismatic Society, Jerusalem 2018
Israel Numismatic Research
Published by the Israel Numismatic Society
Volume 13 2018
3 E
A. c
c. l
: Silver Coinage from the Co-
regency of Ptolemy VI and VIII
35 J
: Coinage as a Tool of Ptolemy VI Philometor’s Policies:
Ptolemaic Coins in Coele Syria and Phoenicia in the Middle of the Second
Century BCE
55 M
G. A
: Numismatic Evidence for Ancient Seafaring between
the Levant, Western and Southern Asia Minor and the Northern Black Sea
73 b
: Countermarked Coins of Demetrias (by
the Sea) and their Suggested Relation to Mark Antony
85 s
: The Source of Herod’s Eagle on the Façade of the Temple:
Eastern-Hellenistic or Roman?
101 c
: Judean Coins Unearthed in Spain: First Century BCE to
First Century CE
121 A
: The First Jewish Revolt as Reected on the City
Coins of the Southern Levant
139 r
: The Emperor Plowing: Cause
or Effect? A Hadrianic Coin from Excavations at Shu‘afat and the Foundation
of Aelia Capitolina
151 donAld t. AriEl And hElEnA sokolov: The Kafr Bara Hoard
195 dAvid Woods: Deciphering the Dodecanummia of Heraclius and Constans II
209 robErt kool, hAiM GitlEr And izhAk hErshko: Unmasking a Forged Lead
Seal of Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem
221 Abbreviations
AJC Y. Meshorer. Ancient Jewish Coinage. Dix Hills, NY 1982
AJN American Journal of Numismatics
BMC e.g., BMC Arab.: G.F. Hill. Catalogue of the Greek Coins of Arabia, Mesopotamia, and Persia. London
BMCO e.g., BMCO 1: S. Lane-Poole. The Coins of the Eastern Khaleefehs in the British Museum. Catalogue of
the Oriental Coins in the British Museum 1. London 1875
CH Coin Hoards
CHL Y. Meshorer, G. Bijovsky and W. Fischer-Bossert. Coins of the Holy Land: The Abraham and Marian
Sofaer Collection at the American Numismatic Society and the Israel Museum. Ed. by D. Hendin and A.
Meadows. New York 2013
CIL Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum
CNP e.g., L. Kadman. The Coins of Akko Ptolemais (Corpus Nummorum Palaestinensium IV). Jerusalem 1961
CRE e.g., H. Mattingly. The Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum I. Augustus to Vitellius. London
DOC e.g., P. Grierson. Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore
Collection 3. Leo III to Nicephorus III 717–1081. Washington, D.C. 1973
EH I T. Faucher, A. Meadows and C. Lorber eds. Egyptian Hoards I: The Ptolemies. Cairo 2017.
IEJ Israel Exploration Journal
IG Inscriptiones Graecae
IGCH M. Thompson, O. Mørkholm and C.M. Kraay. An Inventory of Greek Coin Hoards. New York 1973
INJ Israel Numismatic Journal
INR Israel Numismatic Research
LA Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Liber Annuus
LRBC e.g., P.V. Hill and J.P.C. Kent. Part 1: The Bronze Coinage of the House of Constantine, A.D. 32446. In
Late Roman Bronze Coinage (A.D. 324–498). London 1965. Pp. 440
MIB e.g., W. Hahn. Von Anastasius I. bis Justinianus I (491–565). Moneta Imperii Byzantini 1. Österreichische
Akademie der Wissenschaften Philosophisch-Historische Klasse Denkscriften 109. Veröffentlichungen
der Numismatischen Kommission 1. Vienna 1973
MIBE W. Hahn. Money of the Incipient Byzantine Empire (Anastasius I–Justinian I, 491–565) (Veröffentlichungen
des Instituts für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte der Universität Wien 6). Vienna 2000
MIBEC W. Hahn and M. Metlich. Money of the Incipient Byzantine Empire Continued (Justin II—Revolt of the
Heraclii, 565–610). (Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte der Universität
Wien 13). Vienna 2009
MN American Numismatic Society Museum Notes
NC Numismatic Chronicle
NCirc. Numismatic Circular
NNM Numismatic Notes and Monographs
RIC e.g., C.H.V. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage I. From 31 BC to AD 69. London 1984
RN Revue Numismatique
RPC e.g., A. Burnett, M. Amandry and I. Carradice. From Vespasian to Domitian (AD 69–96). Roman Provincial
Coinage 2. London 1999
RRC M.H. Crawford. Roman Republican Coinage. Cambridge 1974
SC e.g., A. Houghton and C. Lorber. Seleucid Coins. A Comprehensive Catalogue. Part I. Seleucus I through
Antiochus III. New York, Lancaster, Penn.-London 2002
SICA e.g., S. Album and T. Goodwin. Sylloge of Islamic Coins in the Ashmolean 1: The Pre-Reform Coinage
of the Early Islamic Period. Oxford 2002
SNAT e.g., L. Ilisch. Sylloge Numorum Arabicorum Tübingen–Palästina IVa Bilād aš-Šām I. Tübingen 1993
SNG Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum (with sufx as necessary, e.g. SNG Cop.)
SNR Schweizerische Numismatische Rundschau
TINC Transactions of the International Numismatic Congress
TJC Y. Meshorer. A Treasury of Jewish Coins from the Persian Period to Bar Kochba. Jerusalem-Nyack 2001
ZfN Zeitschrift für Numismatik
INR 13 (2018): 121–138
The First Jewish Revolt as Reected on the City
Coins of the Southern Levant
AchiM lichtEnbErGEr
University of Münster
The paper deals with civic coinages in the Southern Levant during and after the rst Jewish
revolt. It traces the increase of mint output and looks at the coin iconography. The impact of
the Judaea Capta coins on the local coinages has long been recognized, but this paper discusses
less explicit reections of the revolt. Some of the coinages evoke Roman victory. These images,
which have never been systematically studied, underline the regional impact of the conict.
Furthermore, regional variations appear; e.g., the cities on the coast responded differently to
the events than cities in Galilee or in the Decapolis.
It has long been acknowledged that coinage and war are closely related, having
economic and iconographic dimensions.1 First, with regard to the economic dimension,
coins were needed to pay soldiers, and the presence of soldiers could stimulate
local economies, increasing the demand for coins. Therefore, war is often related
to a growth in minting (see, e.g., Ziegler 1993:67–105). The increase in coinage
sometimes went together with the second dimension of war and coinage, namely
the iconography. During hostilities, coins often displayed images that were related
to battle and appealed to military virtues or anticipated victory (see, e.g., Manders
The rst Jewish revolt (66–70 CE) was a major event in the Southern Levant
and it had enormous impact on the local communities (Fig. 1).2 Many cities and
settlements in and around Judea were affected and took sides either with the rebels
or with the Roman army. Most of the pagan cities remained loyal to Rome, and,
while the iconography of the coins of the insurgents is well studied (most recently,
Deutsch 2017), the responses of the Greek cities during and after the conict have
not been in the scholarly spotlight (see Syon 2015:67–69). Only the Judaea Capta
1 I am indebted to the reviewers of the paper for their helpful comments.
2 Cf., e.g., Sorek 2008 and Popović 2011 with recent bibliography.
Fig. 1. Map of the Southern Levant with designated area of rst Jewish revolt (after Aharoni
and Avi-Yonah 1977:157; drawing by author with the assistance of Robert Dylka)
coinages minted in Caesarea (Pl. 12:1) and later by Agrippa II (Pl. 12:2–3) have
been extensively studied.3
After the Jewish revolt, Judea was ooded with coins minted in Caesarea and
by Agrippa II, directly reecting the imperial Judaea Capta coinage minted in
Rome, Lugdunum and Taracco.4 The local coins translated the Latin legend of the
Roman Judaea Capta coins into Greek: ΙΟΥΔΑΙΑΣ ΕΑΛΩΚΥΙΑΣ. These coins
dominated the local currency for some time and their motifs were even adopted
in places such as Pella and Philadelphia. The aim of this paper is to look at other
contemporary and postbellum reections of the Jewish revolt in local coinage.
Burnett, Amandry and Ripollès (RPC I:585) have observed that the increase in
production of city coins in Palestine relates to the Jewish revolt (see also Gebhardt
2002:73–75; Ariel, Baruch and Zilberbod 2014:159 and Syon 2015:67). Before the
revolt, most of the cities had only sporadic coin emissions. Few produced coins
immediately before the revolt’s outbreak. The last notable phase of coin production
was under Claudius (41–54 CE). Then, right at the beginning of the ghting, several
communities started to mint coins, as can be seen in Table 1, which is arranged
according to coin types. The table does not document quantities, but the number
of types at least provides an idea of the general trend.
Table 1. Minting cities before and after the rst Jewish revolt
Last coins before 66
Coinage 66–70 CE Coinage 70–96 CE
50/1 CE
(RPC I: Nos. 4746–
66/7? CE
(RPC I: 4749)
66–68? CE
(RPC I: 4750)
Hippos 39/8 BCE
(Meshorer 1985:74,
No. 197)
67/8 CE
(RPC I: 4807–4808)
Titus (undated)
(RPC II: 2102)
89/90 CE
(RPC II: 2103)
Domitian (undated)
(RPC II: 2104–2105)
Tiberias 53/4 CE
(RPC I: 4851–4853)
69/0 or 70/1 CE
(RPC II: 2242)
3 Barag 1978; Carradice 1982–1983:17–20; RPC II:303 and 317–318, Nos. 2310–2313;
TJC:106–110, 185–193; Hendin 2007. Not included in the following survey are the
coins minted by Agrippa II in Caesarea Philippi since they are royal coins and not
civic coins. Cf. Meshorer 1984–1985:39.
4 On the ‘Romanizing’ impact of these coins see Carradice 1982–1983 and Amandry
Last coins before 66
Coinage 66–70 CE Coinage 70–96 CE
Sepphoris - 67/8 CE
(RPC I: 4849–4850)
Gadara 50/1 CE
(RPC I: 4819–4821)
67/8 CE
(RPC I: 4822–4824)
71/2 CE
(RPC II: 2093–2095)
73/4 CE
(RPC II: 2096–2097)
Gaba 51/2 CE
(RPC I: 4856–4857)
-77/8 CE
(RPC II: 2232–2234)
78/9 CE
(RPC II: 2235–2237)
83/4 CE
(RPC II: 2238–2241)
Dora 15/6 CE
(RPC I: 4756)
65/6 CE
(RPC I: 4757, 4761, 4765)
67/8 CE
(RPC I: 4758, 4762, 4766)
68/9 CE
(RPC I: 4759, 4763)
69/70 CE
(RPC I: 4760, 4764, 4767 =
RPC II: 2088–2089)
76/7 CE
(RPC II: 2090–2091)
51/2 CE
(RPC I: 4831–4833)
66/7 CE
(RPC I: 4834–4835)
Pella - - 82/3 CE
(RPC II: 2098–2101)
-68 CE
(RPC I: 4862–4865)
Domitian (undated)
(RPC II: 2231)
Gerasa - 67/8 CE
(RPC I: 4839–4841)
Sebaste - - 81/2 CE
(RPC II: 2226–2229)
Philadelphia - - 78/9 CE
(RPC II: 2108)
79/80 CE
(RPC II: 2109)
80/1 CE
(RPC II: 2106–2107,
Ascalon 58/9 CE
(RPC I: 4888)
66/7 CE
(RPC I: 4889)
67/8 CE
(RPC I: 4890–4892)
72/3 – 94/5 CE
(RPC II: 2203–2217)
Gaza 5/6 CE
(RPC I: 4894–4895)
69/70 CE
(RPC II: 2201–2202)
The following pattern emerges from Table 1:
Eleven of the 15 listed cities minted coins at the beginning of the Jewish revolt.
Most of them had minted no coins in the years immediately before the revolt;
Sepphoris, Caesarea Maritima and Gerasa started only then.
2. After the revolt was quashed, only sporadic coinage is attested in the Flavian
period in most of the cities, and mostly in the later Flavian period. Only Ascalon
continuously produced coins. Pella, Sebaste and Philadelphia only minted coins
after the revolt’s end.
3. Only one city (Gaba), which minted coins before and after the revolt, did not
mint during the conict. Sepphoris and Gerasa only minted at the beginning
of the revolt.
These observations clearly demonstrate that the Jewish revolt had a major impact
on the minting behavior of the cities. It triggered many local bronze coinages
probably because of the presence of Roman soldiers (on bronze coins and the
Roman army see Howgego 1985:20–31; Ziegler 1993:67–105). In addition, silver
was minted by the Roman authorities in Caesarea to pay the soldiers (Amandry
2002). After the ghting there came a phase of only sporadic mint activity. This
can be explained either by an economic decline in the region or by the fact that no
coins were needed due to the still available strong wartime supply of currency and
the post-war Judaea Capta coins from Caesarea (Kadman 1957:33–35; Kadman
The iconography of some of the local civic coins reects the hostilities of the
Jewish revolt. The most explicit statements come from the two cities in Galilee,
Sepphoris and Tiberias, which were particularly threatened by the conict.
When Sepphoris started its civic coinage in 67/8 CE shortly after the rebellion
erupted, it adopted the titles of Neronias on the obverse and Eirenopolis on the
reverse (RPC I:671, Nos. 4849–4850; Seyrig 1950; Meshorer 1979:159–163; Pl.
12:4). Eirenopolis is a rare civic title and it can be assumed that, in combination
with the reference to the ruling Emperor Nero, it refers to the pro-Roman and
pacistic (or realpolitik) attitude of the city that stood with the Romans.5 The legend
5 See Josephus, BJ 2:511; 3:31, 61 and Vita 411. For the pro-Roman attitude of Sepphoris
see Schürer 1979:173–176; Meshorer 1979:160–161; Syon 2015:69. For cities called
Eirenopolis see Lichtenberger and Nieswandt 2018.
of the coins also names Vespasian, although at this point he was not yet emperor
but Nero’s commander of the Roman army at the beginning of the Jewish revolt.6
At the close of the Jewish revolt in 69/70 or 70/1 CE, the city of Tiberias and King
Agrippa II minted an issue with a palm branch on the obverse and a wreath with
inscription naming the city of Tiberias on the reverse (RPC II:309, No. 2242; Qedar
1989:34–35; TJC:106, No. 134; Hendin 2007:125–127; Pl. 12:5).
The obverse
legend refers not only to King Agrippa II (ΒΑ ΑΓΡΙ) but also bears the letters NIK
CEB which seems to be the Greek translation of the Latin Vic(toria) Aug(usti)
thus echoing an imperial slogan from Rome.8 Such direct translations from Latin
to Greek are rare in civic coins and underline the attachment of the city of Tiberias
and of Agrippa II to the emperor.
This kind of statement was needed, since during
the ghting Tiberias was torn between staying loyal to the king and the Romans
and joining the insurgents (Schürer 1979:180–181). In the end, the inhabitants
sided with the Romans; the coinage documents this orientation.
Coins of ‘Akko-Ptolemais depict on the reverse a typical colonial foundation type
with the emperor plowing. Behind the founder are four military standards inscribed
with Latin numerals: III, VI, X and XI (RPC I:659 and 660, Nos. 4749–4750; Pl.
12:6). The numerals refer to specic Roman legions. The reading of some of the
numerals is uncertain, but at least legio X took a prominent part in the Jewish revolt.
Therefore, it has been suggested that the numeration on the standards refers to
the Roman legions dispatched to quell the revolt (Kadman 1961:23, 78; Meshorer
1985:12; Syon 2015:67). It was at ‘Akko-Ptolemais where Roman troops were
mustered by Vespasian before marching against the rebels (Kadman 1961:23).
Since, however, the type was also continued in ‘Akko-Ptolemais after the revolt
(albeit without numerals), another interpretation is more likely: The numerals do
not relate to active legionary soldiers but to veterans who were allotted land in the
new colony (Shahaf 1959). If this interpretation is correct, then the iconography
of the coins bears no reference to the Jewish revolt.
6 Seyrig 1955:158–159; see also the contemporary bronzes of Caesarea, RPC I:673,
No. 4865.
7 The era of this coin is not sure. I follow TJC:106. See, however, also Stein 2008:127,
suggesting dates either 63/64 CE or 74/75 CE.
8 On possible models in coin iconography, see Qedar 1989:35.
9 This can be compared to the translation of Judaea Capta into Greek, see above n. 2.
Caesarea Maritima
In 67/8 CE a remarkable type of Tyche was depicted on coins of Caesarea (RPC
I:673, Nos. 4862; Kadman 1957:98–101, Nos. 1–13; Pl. 12:7). Tyche is the Greek
tutelary deity of a city and many cities had their own Tychai that gured prominently
in civic coinage (Christof 2001; Meyer 2006). The Tyche of Caesarea Maritima
is also known from other media such as sculpture and the Coupe de Césarée in
Paris. This type presents the city goddess with turreted crown as was typical in
her Greek depictions, but there are also innovative features. The Tyche wears a
chiton, leaving her right breast bare. She carries a parazonium and her right foot is
on a prow. With her left hand, she holds a long staff (scepter or stylis) and in her
outstretched right hand she holds a bust, probably of the Roman emperor. Below
her, the young personication of the harbor Sebastos was placed. Wenning (1986)
discussed this new Tyche type in detail, and he emphasized that it was very much
inuenced by Roman statues of Virtus or Dea Roma, suggesting that Caesarea was
expressing an explicitly pro-Roman orientation.
This type probably reects the presence of the Roman army in the city. Vespasian
camped there during the winter of 67/8 CE with legio V and legio XV and it was at
that time that this noteworthy Tyche type was created (Kadman 1957:21–22). The
type continued to be one of the most prominent coin types in the city until the end
of Caesarea’s emissions in the third century CE. The type however also inuenced
other Tychai holding a staff in the region, including a long-lasting iconographic
impact on the so-called ‘Decapolis type’ (see Lichtenberger 2003:297–298).
Although it seems as if the long staff as an attribute of Tyche occurs for the rst
time with the Tyche of Caesarea, as early as 66/7 CE, it is attested with the Tyche
of Nysa-Scythopolis (RPC I:668, No. 4834; Spijkerman 1978:188–189, No. 4;
Lichtenberger 2003:142; Barkay 2003:200, No. 12; Pl. 12:8). While the legio V
and legio XV stayed the winter of 67/8 CE in Caesarea, the legio X was stationed
in Nysa-Scythopolis (Barkay 2003:22). Probably on that occasion the city of
Nysa-Scythopolis issued bronze coins depicting the standing Tyche on the reverse.
Tyche is holding the staff and an unknown attribute (fruit?) in her hands. This is
the rst time that the staff is attested with a city goddess, and since in Caesarea it
clearly had a bellicose afliation, the same can be assumed for Nysa-Scythopolis
and therefore the new attribute must be related to the Jewish revolt implying that
the city was preparing well for the conict.
This assertion may also be made with another coin type of Nysa-Scythopolis,
minted in the same year (RPC I:668, No. 4835; Barkay 2003:48, No. 13; Lichtenberger
2003:449, No. MZ 65; Pl. 13:9). This pseudo-autonomous issue depicting a shield
with crossed spears on the reverse, an image not continued subsequently, clearly
signies that the city was in a state of preparedness for the upcoming conict (cf.
Barkay 2003:48; Lichtenberger 2003:136; Syon 2015:68).
Among the many types of Tychai in the region, there are Tychai in Gadara and
Hippos that in their iconography can be related to the attitudes of the cities during
and after the Jewish revolt.
The city of Gadara had already minted the bust of Tyche before the conict, and
in the second century CE, the city depicted Tyche with staff and cornucopia in a
type that was widespread in the Decapolis (Lichtenberger 2003:87–89). During
and immediately after the Jewish revolt, however, Gadaran coins depicted a
standing Tyche with cornucopia and wreath in her hands and a palm branch in the
eld (RPC I:667, No. 4822; RPC II:297, No. 2093; Spijkerman 1978:132–135;
Pl. 13:10). Tyche thus is presented in the pose of Nike, and with her attribute, the
wreath. Hence, she projects the idea of the anticipated and then actualized Roman
victory. This coin type is very frequent, which may be related to the increase of
coin production during the revolt.10
Hippos has a particularly rich repertoire of Tychai. At the outbreak of the Jewish
revolt, Hippos began minting coins depicting Tyche with a horse (Lichtenberger
2003:30–32). This image was continued until the end of the city’s coinage under
Elagabalus. In addition, one unique and rare type of Hippos depicting Domitian’s
portrait (RPC II:298, No. 2104; CHL:175, No. 9; Pl. 13:11) has exactly the same
type of Tyche as in Gadara, a Tyche with cornucopia and wreath in the extended
right hand. Unfortunately, the coin is undated and thus it is uncertain when in the
Flavian period it was minted. The coin, however, either expresses the same message
as the Gadara type, celebrating the Roman triumph, or is simply a copy of that
well-known type. In both cases, the type alludes to the Jewish revolt.
Years after the end of the Jewish revolt, Philadelphia started to mint its rst coinage.
Among its earliest issues, dating to 80/1 CE, is a reverse with the bust of the
local Tyche with a palm branch behind (RPC II:298, No. 2107; Spijkerman 1978:
10 This observation cannot be quantied and relies solely on the subjective impression of
the author.
246–247, No. 10; Pl. 13:12). This unique appearance of the attribute at the mint
probably relates to some victory celebrated by the city.11 That the Philadelphians
were signaling a victory is supported by another coin from that year, depicting
Nike with a wreath on the obverse and a palm tree on the reverse (RPC II:299, No.
2112; Spijkerman 1978:246–247, No. 7; Pl. 13:13). Even though the coin postdates
the end of the Jewish revolt by a full decade, the palm tree reverse on this small
denomination may reference the province of Judea, as the type is known from
coins of the procurators and from the undated small denominations of Caesarea.12
The palm tree also frequently occurs on the imperial Judaea Capta coinage of
the Flavians.13 The palm-tree type does not recur in the coinage of Philadelphia.
Beginning in the rst century CE, the civic coins of the Southern Levant usually
depicted the emperor or members of his family on the obverses, while the reverses
were reserved for local themes. Some of the cities, however, also depicted the
emperor on the reverse. Interestingly, this is a phenomenon that mostly seems to
have been restricted to the time of the revolt and its aftermath.
At the same time when Caesarea minted the Tyche coins in 67/8 CE, the city also
minted coins with another reverse type, depicting a draped standing male with
spear and bust in his hands (RPC I:673, No. 4863; Kadman 1957:100–101, Nos.
14–19; Pl. 13:14). This type is not repeated later and the statuary type is likely to
portray an emperor. Together with the Tyche coin type, this depiction probably
reects the city’s pro-Roman orientation from the beginning of the Jewish revolt,
although it must be acknowledged that later Caesarea also depicts emperors (in
different types) on coin reverses (Kadman 1957:102–143 passim).
In a similar pattern to Caesarea Maritima, Sebaste minted coins that depicted on
its reverses a Tyche in a posture copying Caesarea’s Tyche (RPC II:306–307, No.
2226; Pl. 13:15) and other coins with the standing emperor on the reverse (RPC
II:307, No. 2228; Pl. 13:16). Both types were minted in 81/2 CE, the rst year in
which Sebaste issued its civic coinage. Although the coins were minted more than
11 For Hellenistic models of this type, cf. Lichtenberger 2003:254 n. 2391.
12 TJC:256, Nos. 311–315; 259–260, Nos. 340–344 (Procurators); 264, Nos. 374–375
13 RIC II: vol. 1:53, and now also Gambash, Gitler and Cotton 2013.
a decade after the revolt, this iconographic combination known from Caesarea
indicates that the Sebaste iconography references the Jewish revolt.
Pella also inaugurated its coinage in 80/1 CE and although there is the same temporal
distance to the end of the rst revolt, its coin iconography clearly relates to that
event. Pella as well depicts the standing emperor on its rst reverses (RPC II:297,
No. 2098; Spijkerman 1978:212–213, No. 1; Pl. 13:17). Other coins show Nike
writing on a shield (RPC II:297, No. 2100; Spijkerman 1978:212–213, No. 3; Pl.
13:18) and a third coin depicts a palm tree on the reverse (RPC II:297, No. 2101;
Spijkerman 1978:212–213, No. 4; Pl. 13:19). None of these coin types were ever
repeated in Pella and there is no doubt that the Nike coins copy the local Judaea
Capta coins minted in Caesarea (Hendin 2007:127) and that the palm tree refers
to Judea as attested also in the small denominational coinage of Caesarea and the
procurators as well as the imperial Judaea Capta coins.14 Therefore, although minted
much later than the revolt, it is clear that these coins still referenced the tragedy.
Some of the cities discussed display an iconographic ignorance of the Jewish
revolt. Dora, Ascalon, Gaza and possibly ‘Akko-Ptolemais did not choose specic
images that shared the other mints’ proclivities.15 Probably because these cities
were less affected by the ghting, they were not inclined to join the iconographic
trend of the other cities.
The evidence for Gaba is inconclusive. Although from its location, the city
was clearly affected by the ghting (Schürer 1979:164), it did not mint any coins
during the revolt. Maybe the municipal infrastructure was damaged by the revolt.
After the revolt, Gaba chose a Nike type which should be interpreted as celebrating
the Roman victory (RPC II:308, No. 2234; Pl. 13:20). This type is related to the
Nike type minted by Agrippa II (TJC:234, Nos. 137–138). However, the type in
Gaba was continued under Trajan and Hadrian (CHL:44–45, Nos. 17–18, 21) and
if it indeed relates to the victory of 70 CE, then the creation of the type was not
ephemeral but more stable (as was the type of the Tyche of Caesarea Maritima).16
14 See above nn. 11 and 12.
15 There is only the possible exception of the undated and pseudo-autonomous coin type
of ‘Akko-Ptolemais depicting Nike (RPC I:672, No. 4751), which stems from the rst
century CE and which is attributed either to the time of Nero (RPC I:672, No. 4751)
or of Domitian (Syon 2015:67–68), under whom otherwise no other coins are attested
in the city. Since this coin cannot be attributed with certainty to the time of a specic
emperor, it is not included in the discussion.
16 This can be compared to the Tyche type with tropaion in Petra, which probably relates
An enigmatic case is the coinage of Gerasa. The 67/8 CE coins that were minted
by this city — a city that was affected by the revolt and the ghting (Schürer
1979:150) — depict the two most important deities of Gerasa, Artemis and Zeus
Olympios as well as Tyche. Nothing seems to refer to the conict. However, there
might be an indirect reection of the effects of the ghting. It is odd that the coinage
of Gerasa depicted the image of Zeus Olympios on only this occasion (RPC I:669,
No. 4841; Spijkerman 1978:158–159, No. 1; Pl. 13:21), while Artemis continues
to be portrayed throughout the civic coinage of Gerasa.
Is there a link between the Jewish revolt and the numismatic disappearance
of Zeus? Josephus remarked that the inhabitants of Gerasa were friendly toward
their Jewish compatriots during the conict (BJ 2:480), and Rigsby (2000) even
suggested that Jewish suppliants took refuge in the temple of Zeus in Gerasa,
which was destroyed during the revolt (Seigne 1992:191). Was it demolished by
the Romans? The destruction might be related Josephus’ account that the Romans
conquered a place named Gerasa at the time (BJ 4:487). This story is usually taken
as referring to another Gerasa, in Judea (Schürer 1979:150; Zissu 2007), but in
light of the coin evidence above, an identication of the city with Gerasa in the
Decapolis should not be rejected out of hand.
Did those who attended the temple of Zeus Olympios in Gerasa therefore have
a pro-revolt attitude (see also Seigne 1992:191–192)? Is the absence of Zeus in
the later civic coinage the result of taking the wrong side? Unfortunately, there is
no direct evidence for this, but Seigne suggests that under Hadrian, possibly in the
context of the Bar Kokhba revolt, there were conicts between the authorities of
Gerasa and the imperial court resulting in the withdrawal of civic privileges (Seigne
forthcoming; see also Seigne 1992:188). The privileges were directly related to
Zeus Olympios
and this might hint at an ambiguous position of the temple of
Zeus in the conict between Rome and the Jews.
Tiberias and Sepphoris had a mixed Jewish-Gentile population with a Jewish
majority (cf. Schürer 1979:173–174, 179). At the beginning of the revolt both
cities were affected by the ghting and both were in a conict of loyalty, which
ultimately was decided in favor of the Roman side. The result of their decision is
to the establishment of Provincia Arabia and which is attested well beyond the event,
cf. Lichtenberger 2011.
17 Specically, the asylia connected with the sanctuary of Zeus Olympios (Lichtenberger
reected in the plain pro-Roman coinage issued by the two cities. Both cities felt
it important to demonstrate their loyalty.
The Coast
Among the coastal cities, ‘Akko-Ptolemais, Dora, Ascalon and Gaza show no
iconographic trace of the hostilities. They increased their coin output when the
revolt began and this might be the reason that in the years after the ghting (with
the exception of Ascalon) they hardly minted coins. Their non-martial iconography
was probably due to the fact that they were not attacked by the insurgents. From an
iconographic point of view, there is only one18 exception on the coast: Caesarea.
Since Caesarea had a strong connection to the Roman soldiers involved in the
ghting, the city chose to create an innovative pro-Roman Tyche coin type and
also apparently depicted the emperor on another coin. After the revolt, the city
signicantly celebrated the Roman victory by producing the large-output ΙΟΥΔΑΙΑΣ
ΕΑΛΩΚΥΙΑΣ emission inspired by the imperial Judaea Capta coins.
At the beginning of the revolt, the pagan city of Sebaste was attacked by Jews
(Schürer 1979:163). Sebaste started minting about ten years after the ghting
ended, but then it chose images that were closely related to the martial types of
Caesarea: Tyche in a similar type and the standing emperor.
The Decapolis
Several of the cities of the Decapolis were directly affected by the events of the
revolt. The pagan cities were attacked by the Jews, as reported by Josephus for
Hippos, Gadara, Nysa-Scythopolis, Pella, Gerasa and Philadelphia (BJ 2:458–459).
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that, with the exception of Gerasa, the cities
chose images on their coins that anticipated or celebrated the Roman victory. The
civic Tychai of those cities were particularly suitable gures to incorporate such
a message since they were the divine embodiments of the cities. After the revolt,
Pella and Philadelphia chose images that were directly taken from the local Judaea
Capta coinage of Caesarea.
The lack of such images in Gerasa seems to raise doubt as to the loyalty of
that city towards Rome. If this interpretation is correct, then Gerasa was the only
city in the region whose coinage reects siding with the revolt, although this is
indirect rather than explicit.
18 But see above n. 13.
An exhaustive discussion of countermarks on city coins of the region is still a research
Quite a number of countermarks are encountered on coins from the
time of the rst revolt and its aftermath (Pl. 13:15). Unfortunately, despite all of
this data, it is uncertain what the countermarking indicates about the support the
cities with countermarked coins provided to the Roman cause. The countermarks
underline the monetary function of the emissions in the context of the Roman army,
since several of the countermarks can be related to the Roman forces. Howgego
showed that there are many reasons for countermarking coins and each coin needs
to be discussed in its own context. Coins of Nero might have been countermarked
to keep them in circulation after the emperor’s damnatio memoriae (Howgego
1985:6), and the city of Caesarea might have countermarked coins to celebrate the
foundation of the colony (Howgego 1985:6). In other regions of the Mediterranean,
there also seems to have been an increase of countermarks under Nero (Howgego
1985:15). The countermarks are often difcult to date, and, as for example in the
case of Sebaste countermarks also might have been struck due to later events such
as the Bar Kokhba revolt (cf. Howgego 1985: countermarks 141, 281, 291, 410,
733). Thus they do not provide a clear picture for the situation of the rst revolt.
However, it is clear that they mostly attest to activity relating to the Roman army.
Countermarks (in the following, the countermark numbers of Howgego 1985 are
listed; cf. also the remarks by Ariel, Baruch and Zilberbod 2014:156–157) are
attested for ‘Akko-Ptolemais (138), Hippos (121), Gadara (206, 735iii), Dora
(154, 733), Nysa-Scythopolis (123, 133, 555, 728), Pella (124), Caesarea (115,
135, 543, 548, 575, 596, 727) and Philadelphia (17, 821). The date of the Ascalon
countermarks (142, 143, 732) is difcult to determine. No countermarks are yet
attested for Tiberias, Sepphoris, Gaba, Gerasa and Gaza. Remarkably, the cities
in the Galilee have none nor do the coastal cities Gaza and possibly Ascalon. In
the Decapolis, Gerasa, as noted, was the exception.
Although in some cases, such as in Sebaste, Pella, Hippos and Philadelphia the
coins under discussion stem from a decade after the end of the rst revolt and
often seem to be related to Emperor Domitian, they still reference the conict (see
also Hendin 2007:128–129). In their Roman and empire-wide representations,
the Flavians celebrated their military achievements by drawing attention to their
19 On countermarks, see the excellent study of Howgego 1985. For a critical review
of reasons for countermarking in Nysa-Scythopolis, see Barkay 2003:53–59, on
Caesarea see Kadman 1957:79–82 and see the inconclusive evidence on ‘Akko-
Ptolemais (Kadman 1961:82–84).
success in suppressing the Jewish revolt (e.g., Tuck 2016:111–112). However,
when looking at the coins of Pella, for example, it is clear that the coins of the
city do not exhibit general Flavian imagery. Rather, they refer specically to the
events in the region or copy types of the regional Judaea Capta coins of Agrippa II
and Caesarea. In general, these are not region-wide neutral images, but individual
municipal choices carrying messages that either reference the local Judaea Capta
types or Judea itself. This is underlined by the fact that such images are mainly
found in places that were directly affected by the ghting. If it were a reection
of general Flavian propaganda, then we would have found these images also in
other mints in the region or beyond. Thus, we can conclude that the Jewish revolt
had signicant impact not only on the minting pattern but also on the iconography
of the coins of the most affected cities. In particular, the “delayed” expression of
apparently related types during the reign of Domitian seems to attest to memories
of the traumatic experiences of the cities during the revolt.
After the end of the rst Jewish revolt the local Judaea Capta series minted in
Caesarea and by Agrippa II has long been recognized as the most direct numismatic
expression of the Roman victory. Later reections in local civic coinage, reections
even more than ten years after the revolt’s end, are also found and are well studied.
In this paper, the focus was also on coins minted during the conict, in order to
examine how the region’s cities reacted to the conict. It became clear that upon
the outbreak of the revolt, which triggered many local emissions, the images on the
coins were inuenced by the iconography of victory. In particular, the new gures
of civic Tyche anticipated the Roman victory and as Tyche was the personication
of the city, it was a particularly strong pro-Roman statement. It is remarkable that
the Tyche of Caesarea, which was created at the outset of the revolt, had long lasting
impact on Tyche types in the region well into the third century CE. Similarly, the
Nike type (e.g., of Gaba) also continued well beyond the cessation of hostilities,
into the second century CE. This indicates how strongly the Jewish revolt was
perceived as a transformative and dening event in the region.
There is no direct evidence for anti-Roman attitudes in the coinages. This comes
as no surprise since the pagan cities were attacked by the rebels and therefore
took sides with the Romans. The case of Gerasa might be an exception. Although
dragged into the conict, there is no evidence for any bias in the coinage. In fact,
it seems as if Gerasa was not completely loyal to Rome and the disappearance of
depictions of Zeus Olympios in the civic coinage might have been a consequence
of the conict.
It is also remarkable that the reactions to the rst revolt followed regional patterns.
While coinage in general increased because of the Roman army’s presence, only
some coinages adopted specic images. In the Galilean cities this was most explicit,
but also in the Decapolis pro-Roman statements and the anticipated Roman victory
can be traced. The coastal cities — with the exception of Caesarea — were little
interested in such iconography; rather they continued their traditional motifs. It has
been shown that the civic coinages, with their differing regional and chronological
expressions of the historic events in which they were engulfed, should be taken
into account as independent sources for the study of the rst Jewish revolt.
All coins are bronze.
1. Minted in Caesarea Maritima with head of Titus on the obverse and Nike writing
on a shield in front of palm tree on the reverse (ΙΟΥΔΑΙΑΣ ΕΑΛΩΚΥΙΑΣ)
(after TJC:265, No. 382).
2. Minted by Agrippa II in 74/5 CE with bust of Titus on the obverse and Nike
advancing r. with wreath in r. hand and palm branch over shoulder on reverse
(after TJC:234, No. 138a).
3. Minted by Agrippa II in 74/5 CE with head of Domitian on obverse and Nike
writing on shield on reverse (after TJC:234, No. 139).
4. Minted by Sepphoris 67/8 CE with wreath on obverse and double cornucopia
with kerykeion on reverse. The reverse legend names Sepphoris Eirenopolis
(after Meshorer 1979: Pl. 18.1).
5. Minted by Tiberias and Agrippa II, minted 69/70 or 70/1 CE with palm branch
on obverse and legend ΒΑ ΑΓΡΙΡΙΠΑ ΝΙΚ ΣΕΒ and on the reverse wreath
with inscription and legend TIBE/PIAΣ (after TJC:233, No. 134).
6. Minted by ‘Akko-Ptolemais probably in 66/7 CE with head of Nero on obverse
and founder of the colony and four legionary standards (III, VI, X, XI) on the
reverse (after Meshorer 1985:12, No. 2).
7. Minted by Caesarea Maritima in 68 CE with head of Nero on obverse and Tyche
of Caesarea on reverse (after RPC I: Pl. 176:4862).
8. Minted by Nysa-Scythopolis in 66/7 CE with head of Nero on obverse and Tyche
of Scythopolis on reverse (after Spijkerman 1978: Pl. 41:4).
9. Minted by Nysa-Scythopolis in 66/7 CE with head of Dionysus on obverse and
shield and crossed spears on reverse (after Rosenberger 1977:29, No. 10).
10. Minted by Gadara in 67/8 CE with head of Nero on obverse and Tyche of
Gadara on reverse (after Spijkerman 1978: Pl. 27:23).
11. Minted by Hippos under Domitian with head of Domitian on obverse and Tyche
of Hippos on reverse (after CHL: Pl. 145:9).
12. Minted by Philadelphia in 80/1 CE with head of Domitian on obverse and
head of Tyche of Philadelphia on reverse (after Spijkerman 1978: Pl. 54:10).
13. Minted by Philadelphia in 80/1 CE with Nike to r. on obverse and palm tree
on reverse (after Spijkerman 1978: Pl. 54:7).
14. Minted by Caesarea Maritima in 68 CE with head of Nero on obverse and
standing emperor on reverse (after RPC I: Pl. 176:4863).
15. Minted by Sebaste in 81/2 CE with head of Domitian on obverse and Tyche
of Sebaste on reverse (after CHL: Pl. 61:5).
16. Minted by Sebaste in 81/2 CE with head of Domitian on obverse and standing
emperor on reverse (after CHL: Pl. 62:10).
17. Minted by Pella in 80/1 CE with head of Domitian on obverse and standing
emperor on reverse (after Spijkerman 1978: Pl. 46:1).
18. Minted by Pella in 80/1 CE with head of Domitian on obverse and Nike writing
on shield on reverse (after Spijkerman 1978: Pl. 46:3).
19. Minted by Pella in 80/1 CE with head of Domitian on obverse and palm tree
on reverse (after Spijkerman 1978: Pl. 46:4).
20. Minted by Gaba in 77/8 CE with veiled head on obverse and Nike on reverse
(after CHL: Pl. 41:2).
21. Minted by Gerasa in 67/8 CE with head of Zeus Olympios on obverse and
cornucopia on reverse (after Spijkerman 1978: Pl. 33:1).
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13 14
... The First Jewish Revolt (66-70 CE) was a period that brought considerable turmoil to the Decapolis (Lichtenberger, 2018). Josephus reports conflicts between the pagan citizens of the cities and their Jewish compatriots (Jos. ...
... Often, they ended in violence. The coinages of the cities during this period took a pro-Roman attitude with the exception of Gerasa, which seems to have had an ambiguous position during the conflict (Lichtenberger, 2018). Later, Eusebius of Caesarea (Hist. ...
... 81 This outwardly unremarkable history nevertheless involves historical events and dynamics directly shaped by Jerash's situation between the Mediterranean and the Arabian macroregions. Amongst them are the Hellenistic origins of the urban settlement, its likely occupation by the Nabatean kingdom, 82 the conquest by Roman (63 BCE), Palmyrene (270 CE), Sasanian (614 CE) and Arab (636 CE) armies, the turmoils of the Jewish War (66)(67)(68)(69)(70), 83 and the patronage and investment offered by Roman, Umayyad 75 and much later Mamluk authorities, 84 as well as the city's integration into Christian networks in Late Antiquity, 85 and later into the Islamic world. The outcomes of these encounters between imperial agencies and local responses are represented in the archaeological, architectural and epigraphic records of Jerash, 86 and might reflect back on our understanding of macroregional development. ...
Full-text available
Combining global perspectives with localized case studies and integrating scientific and material evidence of environmental change in historical narratives are amongst the main challenges for the field of global history in addressing the dawn of the Anthropocene. In this article, we trace the relationship of the city of Gerasa (Jerash, Jordan) with its riverine hinterland, from the first millennium BCE until the nineteenth century CE. We argue that the study of long-term historical trajectories of microregions not only depends on context from regional and global history timelines, but also has the potential to provide insights relevant to those scales in return. Zooming in and scaling up must go hand in hand in order for global history perspectives to be properly informed, and archaeology and natural sciences have crucial insights to offer – although importantly only when evidence comes from well-contextualized frameworks.
The Flavian dynasty faced formidable challenges at its inception, stemming in no small part from its relative ignobilitas. This chapter explores a number of important themes of Flavian image-making: victory and triumph; peace, restoration and renewal; dynasty; and public benefaction, framed as a reversal of Neronian self-indulgence. The most fully preserved and understood imagery of Flavian victory in the Judean war is found on the relief decoration on the Arch of Titus, dedicated in 81. The chapter also considers the three Flavian emperors as individuals, briefly examining some of the distinctive ways that each fashioned his own public persona within these broader thematic tendencies. From the outset Vespasian was presented as an outstanding general who was not aiming for power but was chosen by fate and by Rome's soldiers. Vespasian's portraiture, which marks a clear rejection of Julio-Claudian classicism, participates in the generation of this public persona.
La politique monétaire des Flaviens en Syrie de 69 à 73. I: C. Augé and F. Duyrat eds. Les monnayages syriens. Quel apport pour l'histoire du Proche-Orient hellénistique et romain ? Beirut
  • M Amandry
Amandry M. 2002. La politique monétaire des Flaviens en Syrie de 69 à 73. I: C. Augé and F. Duyrat eds. Les monnayages syriens. Quel apport pour l'histoire du Proche-Orient hellénistique et romain ? Beirut. Pp. 141-143.
Out of the North the Evil Shall Break Forth": Numismatic Evidence for the Besiegers in Jerusalem during the
  • D T Ariel
  • Y Baruch
  • I Zilberbod
Ariel D.T., Baruch, Y. and Zilberbod, I. 2014. "Out of the North the Evil Shall Break Forth": Numismatic Evidence for the Besiegers in Jerusalem during the First Jewish Revolt? INR 9:149-161.