The Jewish War, year four, 69/70 CE,
Obverse: Chalice with pearl rim, legend reading For The Redemption of Zion,
Reverse: Lulav flanked by Etrog on either side, legend reading Year Four.
The men and women who first held and used this coin shared a dream of freedom. Minted centuries ago in a time of struggle, the coin bears imagery that looks forward to an age of peace and abundance. When we hold it today, we feel the power of those ancient dreams, the hopes and desires of people who valued freedom enough to fight for it.
The dissatisfaction of the people during the period of Roman Procuratorial rule in Judea led from time to time to outbreaks and blood shed, and to their suppression by the Roman legions. In 66 A.D., serious rioting broke out at Caesarea, which soon spread. The Jews quickly gained the upper hand and the roman occupation forces were driven out of much of the country, which encouraged the population to openly oppose the roman army.
For the next several years, a bitter war was waged in Judea between the Jewish inhabitants and the Roman legions, with the latter slowly regaining the positions they had lost at the beginning of the revolt. Nero, the emperor at the time the war began, sent the general Vespasian to command the roman forces. He reconquered the northern part of the country and then laid siege to Jerusalem. On the ninth of Av, 70 A.D., the second temple was destroyed. By this time, Vespasian had already been proclaimed emperor in Rome, and his son, Titus, had taken over as commander. Many thousands were killed in the fighting and, when the temple fell, aspirations for Jewish independence faded for generations. The coins issued during this dramatic period in history carry "revolutionary" slogans as well as depictions of symbols that are characteristically Jewish.