Thursday, October 15, 2009

Judaea Capta - An Historically Important Denarius of Vespasian

Obverse: Head of Vespasian, facing right.

Reverse: Jewess weeping under a Roman trophy
Inscription: IVDAEA

After victory was declared by Vespasian in the Jewish war in 70 CE, a large and varied series of coins commemorating the victory was struck by the Roman mints. The Jewish War pretty clearly made an impression on the Romans and they certainly wanted to commemorate a victory in a hard fought, long and bitter war. This series of coins was struck over 25 years and through the reign of three Roman Emperors - Vespasian and his sons Titus and Domitian.

This silver denarius is from that series, and is in fact one of the more common types of coin reverses featured on the Judaea Capta denarii. A lovely historic coin marking the most important victory of one of the The Twelve Caesars, and the winner of the civil war and the last man standing in the tumult and civil war during the Year of the Four Emperors, 69 CE (for an excellent book on this dramatic year read 69 A.D.: The Year of Four Emperors).

In the year of the Four Emperors, Otho, Galba, Vitellius, and Vespasian were all emperor in the same year in quick succession, and only Vespasian survived past that year and died of natural causes in 79 CE. Vespasian was one of Rome's most capable generals and certainly lived in very interesting times, and he lost no chance to emphasize his military virtue to the Roman people and importantly the Roman legions with this series of coins, many of which would have gone to the soldier's pay. lest the soldiers thin they could unseat him as they had the previous four emperors of Rome.

Here's an interesting and brief article on the Judaea Capta series of coins, complete with some photos of some very nice examples of the coins in the series.

This example of the Judaea Capta denarii coins are relatively common and affordable and an excellent and must-have addition to any Roman or Jewish coin collection.

No comments: