Shekel coin bearing the symbol of a branch with three pomegranates, and the inscription “Jerusalem the Holy” | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
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Shekel coin bearing the symbol of a branch with three pomegranates, and the inscription “Jerusalem the Holy”

Shekel coin bearing the symbol of a branch with three pomegranates, and the inscription “Jerusalem the Holy”

Shekel coin bearing the symbol of a branch with three pomegranates, and the inscription “Jerusalem the Holy”

Shekel (silver)

Mint: Jerusalem, 67–68 BCE

Diam: 24 mm; Weight: 13.73 gr

Gift of Victor Carter, Los Angeles

Accession number:

71.00549

Archaeology/Numismatics

Obv.: Cup
Rev.: Stem with three pomegranates

When the First Jewish War broke out, the Jewish leadership began striking coins of its own. The symbols, inscriptions, and the very fact of their minting expressed the aim of the revolt: restoration of self-rule. The coins bore legends in ancient Hebrew script citing the year of issue, the coin’s value, and such legends as “Jerusalem the Holy” and “For the Redemption of Zion.” Their motifs include the Four Species, a branch with three pomegranates, and a chalice, symbols of the Temple. This coin was part of a hoard of 14 shekels, struck in Jerusalem during the revolt, found near the synagogue on Masada. It demonstrates that refugees from the besieged city managed to escape to Masada even during the final year of the war, just before the destruction of the Temple.