Home News Israel Rare Half-Shekel Coin From Jewish Revolt Against Rome Discovered

Rare Half-Shekel Coin From Jewish Revolt Against Rome Discovered

Rare Half-Shekel Coin From Jewish Revolt Against Rome Discovered
Photo by Emil Aladjem/Israel Antiquities Authority on 26 July, 2023
By Pesach Benson • 26 July, 2023

Jerusalem, 26 July, 2023 (TPS) — A rare 2,000-year-old coin dating back to the Jewish Revolt against Rome was discovered in the Judean Desert, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Tuesday.

The silver half-shekel coin depicts three pomegranates while the other side features a chalice. The words “Holy Jerusalem” were also inscribed. The IAA dated the coin to 66 or 67 CE.

The Jews were under the rule of the Roman Empire, so the minting of coins was a defiant expression of national identity, the Antiquities Authority said. Only the Roman emperor had the authority to mint coins, and Roman coins almost always featured the reigning the emperor and animals.

Yaniv David Levy, a numismatic scholar at the IAA, explained that the half-shekel was a special tax Jews paid for upkeep of the Temple and procuring animals for sacrifices.

“Coins from the first year of the revolt, such as this coin that was discovered in the Judean Desert, are rare,” said Levy.

“During the time of the Second Temple, pilgrims used to pay a tax of half a shekel to the Temple. The accepted currency for paying this tax for almost 2,000 years was the Tyrian shekel. When the revolt broke out, the rebels issued, as mentioned, these replacement coins which bore the inscriptions ‘Israel shekel,’ ‘half shekel’ and ‘quarter shekel.’ It seems that the worship of the Temple continued even during the rebellion, and these coins were also used by the rebels for this purpose.”

The IAA’s announcement came during the week of Tisha B’Av, a somber Jewish holiday commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples which both occurred on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. The holiday, during which Jews fast, begins on Wednesday night at sundown.

The coin was found during an IAA survey of caves in the Judean Desert. It was discovered by the entrance to a cave by the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, which is near the Dead Sea.

“Apparently there was a rebel who roamed the desert cliffs, and he dropped the precious shekel treasure, and luckily we were able to find it 2,000 years later and bring it back to the public,” said IAA archaeologist Hagay Hamer.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com