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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Holy Land: Coins: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1330547

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Biblical Artifacts
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Roman Emperor Nero's Bronze Prutahs which circulated in Judaea were minted in his name by Nero's appointed governor, Porcius Festus (58-62 CE). These two men figure prominently in Christian history. Festus is infamous for giving the Apostle Paul his final hearing before deporting him to Rome where Paul was later executed by Nero's order. Nero is another story.

Nero's rule, from 54 to 68 CE, is often associated with tyranny and extravagance. He is best known for:

• His love of executions, including those of his mother and stepbrother

• "Fiddling while Rome burned"

• His persecution of Christians

• Initiating the brutal First Roman-Jewish War (66-70 CE)

The Biblical Devil Incarnate-Christian historians often associate Nero with the Antichrist. Most scholars believe that the number 666, mentioned in the Bible, refers to Roman Emperor Nero. In the Book of Revelation (13:17-18), the number 666, describing "the Beast", is said to be a cryptic reference to Nero and his identity as the Antichrist. Nero's name, written in Aramaic numerology, is valued at 666. It is thought that the use of this number as a code for Nero's name allowed for secretly speaking against the emperor without the Roman authorities knowing. One author suggested that DCLXVI, or 666 in Roman numerals, is an abbreviation for the phrase "Domitius Caesar Legatos Xti Violenter Interfecit"—"The Emperor Domitius (i.e. Nero) violently killed the envoys of Christ".

In 68 AD a military coup drove Nero from the throne. Facing assassination, he committed suicide on 9th of June, 68 CE. Biblical passages refer to Roman Emperor Nero as, literally, the devil incarnate. Nero's lavish spending in Rome drove him to great lengths to finance his tyrannical regime. A special governor (aka a procurator), Porcius Festus, was appointed by Nero for the province of Judaea. Festus’ job was to exact heavy taxes, to torment both Jews and Christian residents alike, and to mint bronze coins bearing Nero's name in Greek. This is one of those coins.

The obverse side shows a wreath surrounding "NEP W N O / C " (of Nero), within wreath, bottom tied with X. The reverse side shows a palm branch and "LE KAICAPOC" (year of Nero’s reign, of Caesar). The palm branch was a universal symbol of triumph and victory in ancient times. Similarly, the wearing of a laurel wreath was an ancient symbol of victory which originated at the ancient Greek Olympic Games. The prutah was valued at 2 leptons, 64 to the silver denarius.


Weight:1.8-2.6 grams; Diameter: 14.5-17.5mm

Album open measures: 10 3/16” x 7 6/16”

Album folded measures: 5 6/16” x 7 6/16”