Treasure Trove: An ancient coin recalls the Jewish struggle for Jerusalem during the Roman conquest

This coin is from 69 CE, the fourth year of the Jewish revolt against the Roman conquerors in the land of Israel. Rome sent 60,000 troops to crush the rebellion.

During the revolt, coins were minted with symbols that served as political statements to rally support for independence from Rome. On one side, is a lulav and two etrogs with a legend in Paleo-Hebrew (ancient Hebrew) that reads shnat arba (year four). 

On the photographed side, is a chalice and the words legeulat Zion (for the redemption of Zion). The year after this coin was minted, a seven-month siege of Jerusalem ended with the destruction of the city, including the Second Temple.  

The destruction of the First and Second Temples, and other disasters that befell the Jewish people, are mourned on Tisha b’Av, which this year begins at sundown on Wednesday, July 26.