Judaea Capta coinage

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'Judea Capta' sestertius of Vespasian, struck in 71 to celebrate the victory in the Jewish Revolt. The legend on the reverse says: IVDAEA CAPTA, "Judaea conquered".
Roman denarius depicting Titus, c. 79. The reverse commemorates his triumph in the Judaean wars, representing a captive kneeling in front of a trophy of arms.
'Judaea Capta' coin issued by Agrippa II

Judaea Capta coins (also spelled Judea Capta) were a series of commemorative coins originally issued by the Roman Emperor Vespasian to celebrate the capture of Judaea and the destruction of the Jewish Second Temple by his son Titus in 70 AD during the First Jewish Revolt. There are several variants of the coinage. The reverse of the coins may show a female (representing Jerusalem?[citation needed]) seated right in an attitude of mourning at the base of a palm tree, with either a captive bearded male (representing Judah?[citation needed]) standing left, with his hands bound behind his back, or the standing figure of the victorious emperor, or the goddess Victoria, with a trophy of weapons, shields, and helmets to the left.[citation needed]

Inscription and imagery[edit]

The inscription appears in several versions, IUDAEA CAPTA ("Judaea [has been] conquered"/"conquered Judaea"), in rare cases the harsher IUDAEA DEVICTA or DEVICTA IUDAEA ("Judaea [has been] defeated"/"defeated Judaea"), and also DE IUDAEIS ("[the booty] from the Judaeans") and IUDAEA ("Judaea").[1][2] The inscription may also be in Greek, IOYΔAIAΣ EAΛΩKYIAΣ,[3] a translation of the Latin IUDAEA CAPTA, or it may sometimes be absent, in which case the assessment on whether the coin belongs to the series is made based on the typical imagery used by the mint.[2]

The palm tree can appear on the coin either in combination with the mourning woman, or without her.[2] Andrea Moresino-Zipper contests that in the former case, it is the woman who symbolises the defeated Judaea and the towering, dominating palm stands for victorious Rome, while in the latter case the palm tree does represent Judaea.[2]

History[edit]

The Judaea Capta coins were struck for 25 years under Vespasian and his two sons who succeeded him as Emperor - Titus and Domitian. These commemorative coins were issued in bronze, silver and gold by mints in Rome, throughout the Roman Empire, and in Judaea itself.[4] They were issued in every denomination, and at least 48 different types are known.[5][6]

Only bronze 'Judaea Capta' coins were struck in Caesarea, in the defeated Roman province of Judea. These coins are much cruder than the Roman issues, and the inscriptions are in Greek rather than Latin. The designs feature the goddess Nike writing on a shield, Minerva with a spear, shield, trophy and palm tree, etc. Most such coins were issued during the reign of the Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD).[4][6]

Unusually, a 'Judaea Capta' coin was also minted by the Jewish ruler Agrippa II, the great-grandson of Herod the Great. Brought up in Rome at the court of Claudius, Agrippa was thoroughly Romanised and was a close friend of Titus, whom he supported throughout the First Jewish Revolt. His bronze coin was minted at Tiberias and shows a portrait of Titus on the obverse with the Greek inscription 'ΚΑΙΣΑΡ ΣΕΒΑΣ ΑΥΤΟΚΡ ΤΙΤΟΣ' (abbreviated for Καῖσαρ Σεβαστὸς Αυτοκράτωρ Τίτος, in Latin: "Caesar Augustus Imperator Titus"), while the reverse depicted the goddess Nike advancing right holding a wreath and palm branch over her shoulder, with a star in upper right field and the inscription 'ETO - KS BA AGRI-PPA'.[citation needed]

Popular Bible-related interpretations[edit]

To Jewish observers, the female figure may reflect the biblical prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 3:8, 25-26): "For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen ... Thy men shall fall by the sword and thy mighty in the war. And her gates shall lament and mourn, and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ D. Bernard Hoenig, "The Other Side of the Coin: Israel answers ancient Rome's Judea Capta series with Liberata medals", Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) 7:2, March/April 1981
  2. ^ a b c d Andrea Moresino-Zipper (2009). Gerd Theissen; et al., eds. Die Judaea-Capta-Münze und das Motiv der Palme. Römisches Siegessymbol oder Repräsentation Judäas? (The Judaea Capta coin and the image of the palm tree: Roman symbol of victory, or representation of Judaea?). Jerusalem und die Länder: Ikonographie - Topographie - Theologie. Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus/Studien zur Umwelt des Neuen Testaments (NTOA/StUNT) (Book 70) (in German). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. p. 61, 64-67. ISBN 9783525533901. Retrieved 26 July 2018. 
  3. ^ Nili Ahipaz, The Coins from Herodium — the Tomb Area (Chapter 10), in Herodium: Final Reports of the 1972–2010 Excavations Directed by Ehud Netzer, Volume I: "Herod's Tomb Precinct", p. 423. Israel Exploration Society, Jerusalem 2015. ISBN 978-965-221-099-9.
  4. ^ a b Handbook of Biblical Numismatics p.15
  5. ^ Howard Brin, Judaea Capta Coinage
  6. ^ a b See "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 

External links[edit]