chapter  8
10 Pages

CITY COINS AND ROMAN POWER IN PALESTINE

From Pompey to the Great Revolt
ByMark A. Chancey

Coins are significant sources for understanding attitudes of civic governments, at least as publicly displayed, toward imperial power. Civic coinage illustrates how the cities’ elites expressed both local identity and subordination to Rome. Indeed, for some cities in Palestine, coins are our only source of information on these issues, especially in the early phases of the region’s Romanization. This chapter provides an overview of the ways in which city coins reflect the recognition of Roman domination in Palestine, beginning with Pompey’s conquest in 63 BCE and ending with the first Jewish Revolt (66-70 CE).1 It focuses on how deference to the Romans is reflected in the portraiture (or lack thereof) on coins’ obverses, the symbols on coins’ reverses, and the content of numismatic inscriptions. The discussion is limited to civic coinage, although one can observe similar attempts to balance royal power with respect for the Romans on the coins of the Herodian and Nabatean client kings (Meshorer 1975, 1982, 1990-1991). Procuratorial coinage is not discussed, since it was a fundamentally different phenomenon, with Roman officials themselves supervising its minting.