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Bar Kochba Revolt coinage

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Bar Kochba silver Shekel/tetradrachm. Obverse: the Jewish Temple facade with the rising star, surrounded by "Shimon". Reverse: A lulav, the text reads: "to the freedom of Jerusalem"

Bar Kokhba Coin

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"

Bar Kochba Revolt coinage were coins issued by the Jews during the Second Jewish Revolt (also known as the Bar Kokhba Revolt) against the Roman Empire of 132-135 AD.

The leader of the Second Revolt was Shim'on (Simon) Bar Koseba, who was known as 'Bar Kochba', meaning 'Son of the Star', in reference to the Messianic expectations of the Jews found in the Tanakh: "There shall step forth a star (kochab) out of Jacob" (Numbers 24:17). Large quantities of coins were issued in silver and copper with rebellious inscriptions, all being overstruck over foreign (mostly Roman) coins, when a file was used to remove the designs of the original coins, such as the portrait of the Roman Emperor. The undercoin can clearly be seen on some of the silver coins because they were not filed down as not to lose the value of the silver, on the bronze coins it is very difficult to see the underlying coin because they were filed down prior to the over-striking. In rare instances, the coin cracked when it was overstruck.[1]

The name "Shim'on" appears on all of the coins of the Second Revolt except for a few types issued at the beginning of the Revolt with the name "Eleazar the Priest (Cohen),". The overstruck silver shekel/tetradrachms (see illustration) are among the most religiously significant coins issued by the ancient Jews, because the Holy of Holies of the Jerusalem Temple is shown, with the Ark of the Covenant. The word "Jerusalem" was inscribed around the representation of the Temple. Beginning in the second year of issue and continuing into the final year, a star appeared above the Temple on many coins, probably in reference to Bar Kochba's nickname "Son of the Star". Agricultural symbols connected with the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot, such as lulav and etrog, appear on the reverse of some of the smaller bronze coins, surrounded by a Hebrew inscription: 'Year One of the Redemption of Israel', 'Year Two of the Freedom of Israel', or 'For the Freedom of Jerusalem'.[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 [1] Handbook of Biblical Numismatics pg 19

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