Bearing the likeness of Emperor Antoninus Pius, the coin was minted in the city of Geva Philippi.
A soldier found a rare coin during a training exercise, announced the Israel Antiquities Authority on February 9th, 2021. On the front, the coin shows Emperor Antoninus Pius, the emperor adopted by Hadrian and designated his heir. As emperor, he was known as Antoninus Pius Hadrian. The back of the coin shows the Syrian god MEN, the moon god. The inscription reads “Of the people of Geva Phillipi, year 217.” The year 217 correlates with 158-159 C.E.
Dr. Avner Ecker explains the context of this rare coin: “The year marked on the coin is the year when the municipal council was evidently established and its citizens were allowed self-government under the Roman Empire. Geva is an ancient settlement, referred to by Josephus as a town located on the foothills at the edge of the Jezreel Valley. Herod settled his cavalry forces there (hence the name Geva Parashim, ‘City of Horsemen’) and in the Great Revolt, in 66–70 CE, local and Roman forces set out from there to fight Jewish rebels near Bet She‘arim. Some believe that Geva is located near Sha‘ar Ha-‘Amakim, but most scholars identify the site as Tel Abu Shusha, near Kibbutz Mishmar Ha-‘Emek. Excavations conducted by Bar Ilan University on the tell last summer unearthed remains of fortifications and buildings dating from the Hellenistic to the Byzantine period.
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