In the year 70, Jerusalem lay in ruins, the once magnificent Temple reduced to rubble. The Roman conquerors were scattering the people of tiny Judea throughout the empire, beginning another Diaspora—the longest exile in the history of the Jews.
Across the Mediterranean, in the imperial city of Rome, the end of the Jewish Revolt was the occasion for unparalleled jubilation.1 Elaborate parades, forums, carnivals and gladiator contests continued for weeks after the last battle was over. The leading warriors of Judea, including the condemned Shimon Bar Giora and Yochanan Gush-halav, were paraded through the streets of Rome in chains, while holy vessels from the Temple were triumphantly borne by Legionnaires. The procession was immortalized on the Arch of Titus.2
Emperor Vespasian’s proudest display, however, was stamped on the thousands of coins he minted to celebrate his conquest of the Jewish nation.3