Biblical Archaeology Review 36:1, January/February 2010

Roman Coins Boast “Judaea Capta”

By Robert Deutsch

The late great Israeli numismatist Yaakov Meshorer wrote in 2001:

The Judaea Capta [coins] were minted in a quantity that is surprising for Roman coins in general, and for those celebrating victories over other peoples in particular, as if the victory over Judaea was the most important of them all. No other victory was commemorated by such a large number of coins.1

Despite its minute size within the empire, suppression of the Great Jewish Revolt of 66–70 C.E. required a massive Roman military force. Three Roman legions were brought into Judea from Syria and Egypt. The Jewish historian Josephus, who was an eye-witness to the fighting, tells us that the Roman army included the fifth, tenth and 15th legions, plus 23 annexed cohorts, as well as auxiliaries furnished by local kings such as Agrippa and the Arab Malchus, and numbered more than 60,000 soldiers.2 The revolt effectively ended in 70 C.E. with the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple.a

Join the BAS Library!

Already a library member? Log in here.

Institution user? Log in with your IP address.