Biblical Archaeology Review 36:3, May/June 2010

Queries & Comments

Reminding the Conquered of Rome’s Power

Re: the article on the Judea Capta coins by Robert Deutsch (January/February 2010). Although the Latin versions of the “Judea Capta” coins are more famous, Greek “Judea Capta” coins were also minted in Caesarea Maritima.

Roman coins served not only as a means of commerce but also as an effective form of political propaganda. When they circulated in Rome, they were a means of celebrating victories of the empire. However, in the provinces, such coins were a powerful (and sometimes bitter) reminder of the consequences of trying to resist Roman imperial power.

The “Judea Capta” coins minted in Caesarea Maritima put the inscription in Greek, the common language of the region. These coins were minted specifically for circulation in the country that had been conquered, thus creating an even more bitter taste for those who used them.

The photos (above) are of a coin from my collection, showing Titus on the obverse and ΙΟVΔΑΙΑΣ ΗΑΛΩΚVΙΑΣ (“Judea Destroyed”) on the reverse.

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