Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Bar-Kokhba Revolt

In 2009 the largest cache of rare coins ever found in a scientific excavation from the period of the Bar-Kokhba revolt against the Romans was discovered in a cave by researchers.

Most of the discovered coins were overstruck as rebels' coins on Roman coins. The new imprints show Jewish images and words (for example: the facade of the Temple in Jerusalem and the slogan "for the freedom of Jerusalem"). Other coins that were found, of gold, silver and bronze, are original Roman coins of the period minted elsewhere in the Roman Empire or in Israel.
The coins were found near Betar. Ancient Betar was the site of the "last stand" of the rebels led by Bar-Kokhba in their struggle against Roman rule in Judea from 132-135 CE.

The discovery verifies the assumption that the refugees of the revolt fled to caves in the center of a populated area in addition to the caves found in more isolated areas of the Judean Desert.

Sextus Julius Severus
In 132, a revolt led by Bar Kokhba spread from Modi'in across the country, cutting off the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. The outbreak took the Romans by surprise. Hadrian called his general Sextus Julius Severus from Britain, and troops were brought from as far as the Danube.

The struggle lasted for three years before the revolt was brutally crushed in the summer of 135 AD. After losing Jerusalem, Bar Kokhba and the remnants of his army withdrew to the fortress of Betar, which also subsequently came under siege. The Jerusalem Talmud relates that the numbers slain were enormous, that the Romans "went on killing until their horses were submerged in blood to their nostrils"
In 2015 another hoard was found in the vicinity of Qiryat Gat, Israel. Archaeologists uncovered about 140 gold and silver coins along with gold jewelry in a pit in the courtyard of an exposed building dating to the Roman and Byzantine period. A wealthy woman likely stashed the hoard of coins and jewelry in the pit due to the impending danger of the Revolt.

A sela attributed to the third year (A.D. 134/5) of the revolt. It features on the obverse the fa├žade of the Temple of Jerusalem (the Ark of the Covenant can be seen, inside) and on the reverse, the lulav and etrog, along with an inscription "For the Freedom of Jerusalem."
The coins that were discovered date to the reigns of the Roman emperors Nero, Nerva and Trajan who ruled the Roman Empire from 54-117 A.D.

“This hoard includes silver and gold coins of different denominations, most of which date to the reign of the emperor Trajan. This is probably an emergency cache that was concealed at the time of impending danger by a wealthy woman who wrapped her jewelry and money in a cloth and hid them deep in the ground prior to or during the Bar Kokhba Revolt.

It is now clear that the owner of the hoard never returned to claim it,”

In an attempt to erase any memory of Judea, Hadrian wiped the name off the map and replaced it with Syria Palaestina.