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Ancient Coin - Simon Bar Kochba - Zuz

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Ancient Coin - Simon Bar Kochba - Zuz Trumpets / Lyre
Subject Trumpets
Reverse Type Lyre
Denomination Zuz
Issuer Simon Bar Kochba
Primary ID N/A
Material Silver
Earliest 134
Latest Possible Year 135
Size (mm) 3
Period Imperial
Culture Judaea


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Notes: This coin was struck at the height of the Jew’s third and final rebellion against Roman Empire by the rebel leader Simon Bar Kochba. This coin is fascinating because unlike the more common bronze coins of the rebellion, the silver coins were actual counterstruck over Roman silver coins with Jewish descriptions depicting the liberation of Zion and the treasures of the temple. If you look closely at the coin you can actually see parts of the original Roman coin underneath the inscriptions in Hebrew!

Despite initial successes and brave efforts to resist, the rebellion eventually ended in tragedy for the Jewish people. The Roman Emperor Hadrian eventually had to dispatched 12 Legions with over 120,000 Roman soldiers (almost 1/3 of the entire Roman Army) and personally led them in a scorch earth campaign to completely destroy the nation of Judea. The end result for the Jewish people was the majority of Jews in Judea being killed, exiled or sold into slavery and the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora.

Despite the tragedy the Jewish people and culture endured. A final interesting fact about this coin is that the designs on the obverse, were used again on the first coins of Israel were stuck in 1947. The reverse temple lyre design was also used on later Israeli coinage. This coin is a fascinating piece of living history that is a physical symbol to the Jewish people’s bravery and resilience!

Denomination: A Zuz was an ancient Jewish silver coin struck during the Bar Kochba revolt, as well as a Jewish name for the various types of non-Jewish small silver coinage, used before and after the period of the revolt. The name was used from the Greek era of drachmas, through the Roman era of Denarius, and then as the quarter denomination of Bar Kochba coinage. The Jewish insurrectionists' zuz were overstruck on Roman Imperial denarii or Roman provincial drachmas of Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, Trajan and Hadrian. Four Zuz, denarii or drachmas make a Shekel, a Sela or a Tetradrachm. Bar Kochba silver Zuz/denarius. Obverse: trumpets surrounded by "To the freedom of Jerusalem". Reverse: A lyre surrounded by "Year two to the freedom of Israel"

It has been suggested that its name is probably a corruption of the Greek Zeus which was the deity portrayed on the reverse of every drachm and tetradrachm (four drachma) of the Seleucid period. Another suggestion is that in Hebrew, the word "zuz" means "move", or "to move", so it was called "zuzzim" to show that it was constantly moving around, usually referring to the fact that Jews must give charity[citation needed], or referring to the nature of money that it moves from one to another, alternating who is wealthy.[citation needed] It has also been suggested that zuz is related to a root (not occurring in the Hebrew Bible) meaning "shining" or "glittering".

According to Stephen Kaufman, however, zuzu is of Akkadian origin. American Heritage Dictionary also states: ?from Akkadian zuze, half, division, unit of weight, from zazu, to divide?.

In the Talmud, the Zuz and the dinar are used interchangeably, the difference being that the Zuz originally referred to the Greek Drachma (which was a quarter of the Greek Tetradrachm weighing approximately 17 grams) while the Dinar referred to the later Roman Denarius (which was a quarter of the Tyrian shekels and had the same weight as the Jerusalem Shekels and the Roman provincial Tetradrachms at approximately 14 grams).

The Zuz is mentioned in the Passover Haggadah in the Passover song Chad gadya, chad gadya (One little goat, one little goat); in which the lyric of dizabin abba bitrei zuzei (Which Father bought for two zuzim (half shekel) repeats at the end of every stanza. It may be significant that two zuzim equal the half-shekel tax required of every adult male Israelite in Exodus 30:13.

From Wikipedia

Period: Imperial Rome. As the Roman Republic began to implode because of corruption and infighting among powerful members of the Roman Senate, a new type of Roman Republican coinage emerges, that of the military strongmen who dominated and fought among each other before the final fall of the Republic. The drama surrounding the fall of the Roman Republic is a story full of political intrigue, military action, betrayal, murder and sex scandals. Different parts of this story have been told and retold by ancient historians, modern day scholars, dozens of Hollywood movies and even an HBO miniseries. All of the actors in this great drama, Crassus, Pompey, Julius Caesar, Brutus and Cassius, Mark Antony and Cleopatra and the last man standing at the end of it all, Octavian (later known as the first emperor of Rome, Emperor Augustus) all minted coins during this time bearing their names and propaganda images supporting their factions and political ideals.

Culture: Judea or Judaea is the ancient biblical, Roman, and modern name of the mountainous southern part of Palestine. The name originates from the Hebrew, Canaanite and later neo-Babylonian and Persian name "Yehudah" or "Yehud" for the biblical Israelite tribe of Judah (Yehudah) and associated Kingdom of Judah, which the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia dates from 934 until 586 BCE. The name of the region continued to be incorporated through the Babylonian conquest, Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman periods as Yehud, Yehud Medinata, Hasmonean Judea, and consequently Herodian Judea and Roman Judea, respectively.

As a consequence of the Bar Kokhba revolt, in 135 CE the region was renamed and merged with Roman Syria to form Syria Palaestina by the victorious Roman Emperor Hadrian. A large part of Judea was included in Jordanian West Bank between 1948 and 1967 (i.e., the "West Bank" of the Kingdom of Jordan). The term Judea as a geographical term was revived by the Israeli government in the 20th century as part of the Israeli administrative district name Judea and Samaria Area for the territory generally referred to as the West Bank.

From Wikipedia


Item created by: gdm on 2016-09-09 08:48:57. Last edited by gdm on 2016-09-09 08:50:57

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