Recently uncovered Jewish Revolt coin shows rebels aware of impending disaster

A uncommon bronze coin from the fourth yr of the Great Jewish Revolt was just lately found in excavations within the City of David National Park. A testomony to the ultimate days of the rebel in opposition to the Romans, the coin was minted shortly earlier than the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.

Symbolically, the coin was rediscovered on the eve of the 17th of Tammuz, the graduation of the three weeks commemorating the conquest of the Romans of Jerusalem and the Temple’s destruction. The three-week mourning interval culminates on Tish B’av, thought-about the saddest day of the Jewish calendar.

In the primary few years of the rebel which lasted from 66-70 CE, cash inscribed in First Temple paleo-Hebrew lettering sounded the battle cry, “For the Freedom of Zion.” Illustrating the rebels’ waning confidence, Year Four cash (69-70 CE) are inscribed with the phrases, “For the Redemption of Zion.”

“The difference between ‘freedom’ and ‘redemption’ expresses the change occurring in the rebels’ subconscious, and the reality of those days,” mentioned Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Eli Shukron, who’s main the City of David excavation.

Year Four cash are additionally adorned with Jewish symbols. In the case of this coin, the 4 plant species related to the pilgrim vacation of Sukkot — palm, myrtle, citron and willow. Others depict a chalice which will have been utilized by clergymen within the temple.

A uncommon bronze Year Four coin, minted in 69-70 CE throughout the Great Jewish Revolt, inscribed with ‘For the Redemption of Zion,’ was found in moist sifting of materials from the City of David, June 2018. (Ilan Shilmaiv/City of David)

The coin was found throughout the latest systematic inspection of a bucket of filth taken from a 600-meter drainage ditch which runs beneath Rehov Hagai, the primary highway for pilgrims ascending to the Second Temple.

The ditch, uncovered in 2007, is the biggest within the underground system. It is presently half of the City of David National Park and runs from the Robinson’s Arch archaeological backyard, beneath the Ophel excavations, to an space simply north of the Silwan Pool, subsequent to the valley.

As acknowledged by the writings of Yosef Ben Matityahu, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, some 2,000 rebels had been killed by Romans whereas hiding in drainage ditches. Archaeological finds again up Josephus’s declare: Whole cooking pots, cash, and even a Roman sword of the period have been uncovered within the system of underground drainage ditches.

Shukron suspects rebels hid on this drainage ditch within the final days previous to the autumn of the town to the Romans.

“It’s possible that this coin, which was placed in the pocket of a Jerusalemite hiding from the Romans in underground warrens,” mentioned Shukron, “or maybe it rolled into the drainage ditch while the coin’s owner walked the streets of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.”

The coin was uncovered throughout moist sifting by a volunteer on the City of David Sifting Project positioned close to the Mount of Olives in Emek Tzurim.

Recent resurfacing of Year Four cash

A pupil from Armstrong College holds a coin found on the Ophel archaeological dig exterior the partitions of Jerusalem’s Old City, the place a hoard of uncommon bronze cash from the Jewish Revolt was just lately found, courting to circa 66-70CE. (Eilat Mazar)

In March 2018, a uncommon hoard of Year Four bronze Jewish Revolt cash found on the just lately renewed Ophel excavations was publicized. While discoveries of single cash happen considerably often, this trove of dozens of bronze cash, uncovered in a cave simply south of the Temple Mount by Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, is outstanding.

Mazar known as the cave a “time capsule” of Jewish life throughout the revolt. Indicating that rebels hid within the cave from the Romans are a quantity of Second Temple interval finds: the Year Four cash and damaged pottery vessels, together with jars and cooking pots.

At the Ophel archaeological dig exterior the partitions of Jerusalem’s Old City, a horde of uncommon bronze cash from the Jewish Revolt had been just lately found, courting to circa 66-70CE. (Eilat Mazar)

Until right this moment, most found Jewish Revolt cash are dated to Year Two. “The small amount of coins minted in the third year, and almost a complete lack of coins from the fourth year, indicates that most of the country was re-conquered by the Roman army fairly soon after the beginning of the revolt,” writes Robert Deutsch in his 2017 “The Coinage of the First Jewish Revolt against Rome, 66-73 C.E.”

As acknowledged by Deutsch, the bronze cash of the second and third years “are abundant and negligently manufactured.” The fourth yr cash, nonetheless, “are of a slightly higher quality.”

A uncommon bronze Year Four coin, minted in 69-70 CE throughout the Great Jewish Revolt, found in moist sifting of materials from the City of David, June 2018. (Ilan Shilmaiv/City of David)

A just lately revealed essay within the journal Israel Numismatic Research, “The Coin Finds from the 1968–1969 Excavations at Herodium,” “the hoarded bronze coins dating to ‘year four’ were found around and quite close to Jerusalem. This accords with the historic situation whereby at that time much of the country was captured by the Romans and only Jerusalem was still under rebel control.”

Almost precisely 50 years in the past, the primary excavations within the united capital following the 1967 Six Day War occurred close to Robinson’s Arch abutting the Western Wall. There, a massive hoard of Year Four cash was found by Prof. Benjamin Mazar, Eilat Mazar’s grandfather.

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