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Revisiting The Collection: Vespasian Judaea Capta Palm Tree Denarius

David Atherton

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In this instalment of 'Revisiting the Collection' we take a look at a Judaea Capta denarius I acquired in May of 2012. It is not your usual Capta denarius!





AR Denarius, 2.71g
Rome Mint, 69-70 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: IVDAEA in exergue; Judaea std. r., hands bound behind back, to r. of palm tree
RIC 4 (R). BMC 43. RSC 229. BNC -. Hendin 1480.
Acquired from Zuzim Judaea, May 2012.

The reverse commemorates the end of the Jewish War and is part of the 'Judaea Capta' series that Vespasian issued soon after he became emperor. The coin depicts a Jewess, seated before a palm tree (representing the land of Judaea), with her hands tied behind her back and in a dejected state of mourning. Clearly no academic interpretation is needed to understand what is meant by this reverse design. This palm tree variety was only fleetingly struck and is much scarcer than the common Jewess seated before trophy design.




The obverse is slightly double struck, but the reverse displays an almost intact beaded border. The flans of Vespasian's early denarius issues tended to be a bit undersized, so this oblong specimen is quite exceptional.

Thanks for looking/watching!

Edited by David Atherton
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