British Museum collections, £12.99
Weight: 14.150 g
Diameter: 24.000 mm
CM 1875-5-3-9 (BMC First Jewish Revolt 3)
Coins and Medals
Silver shekel of the First Jewish Revolt from Rome
Jewish, AD 66
From Judaea (modern Israel)
The first Jewish coins produced in silver
On two occasions the Jews raised armed revolts against Roman domination. The revolts, in AD 66-70 and 133-135, seem to have occurred mainly for religious reasons. On both occasions the rebel leaders struck coins in silver, presumably to pay their soldiers.
The First Revolt ended in disaster and the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by fire. The coins issued at this time were the first Jewish coins produced in silver. Each carried a date according to the year of the Revolt (years 1 to 5). While the need to pay troops may have provided the motivation for the issue of silver coin, the opportunity was nonetheless taken to express Jewish national and religious sentiments. This was achieved both through the choice of designs, and a return to the use of Hebrew for coin legends. On the obverse (front) of this coin can be seen the representation of a holy vessel, presumably from the Temple. The legend reads 'Shekel of Israel', and the date 'Year 1'. On the reverse is a branch with three pomegranates, also an emblem of religious significance. The legend on this side reads 'Holy Jerusalem'.
K. Butcher, Roman provincial coins: an int (London, Seaby, 1988)
Y. Meshorer, Ancient Jewish coinage II (Dix Hills, New York, 1982)