Wednesday, June 20, 2012

2,000-Year-Old Roman Gold and Silver Coins, Jewellery Found in Southern Israel

The archeological record continues to reveal details of the systems of state currency once enjoyed by the ruling authorities in the ancient Roman empire.  This story comes to us from the eastern side of the empire, in present day Israel, rather than the present day UK, where most of the recent Roman coin hoards have been being unearthed.

Below is a photo of this hoard, which includes some personal effects (jewelry) probably which indicates that this hoard was in the possession of the non-govt sector at the time it was buried.  Any Roman coins present here  represents a portion of the savings or Net Financial Assets (NFA) of the non-govt sector of Rome 2,000 years ago.  These savings were provided by the Roman monetary authorities to the non-government sector through deficit spending of these coins into circulation by the Roman government.  Interestingly, no Roman Treasury Securities were found buried along with this coin hoard ;).

The author of the story gets it right to an extent when the author writes here:
“During the uprising, between 132-135 CE, the Jews under Roman rule would re-strike coins of the emperor Trajan with symbols of the revolt."
It is not clear whether this hoard contains any re-struck coins of the type referred to here, but if there was a revolution against the authority of the Roman civil government at that time, that would be strongly demonstrated by re-striking Roman state currency with a new imprimatur of the revolutionary entity.  Thus staging a tax revolt as, although the silver slug would still exist, the currency would not as coins struck with the correct image of the Emperor would no longer be available to pay the Roman poll tax, so the act of re-striking the Roman currency (nomisma) was indeed crossing the point of no return for the rebels.

Nat Geo is also reporting a recent find in Israel of gold artifacts from centuries before the Roman empire  here.  No coins were found in that hoard, it may pre-date (c. 1,000 BC) the human establishment of civil governments that issued state currency.


Tom Hickey said...

"so the act of re-striking the Roman currency (nomisma) was indeed crossing the point of no return for the rebels."

Right. It would have been a capital offense.

Trixie said...

More proof the internet hates me:

If you use Chrome, type 'askew' in the search bar. In the event, oh I don't know, you type it ON ACCIDENT, by oh I don't know, trying to spell 'eschew'. As in what prompts one to say GOD BLESS YOU like you're French.

I've just about had it.

Matt Franko said...

If they caught them in the act Tom, I would think for sure...

but you could see how if those who obtained large balances of the Roman coins perhaps set aside plenty for they and theirs to pay the poll tax and then Philargurion (fondness for silver) set in with them and they melted down the denarius that would leave insufficient balances for the rest of the subjects to pay the poll tax, back to 9 bones for 10 dogs and chaos.

I get the idea that the poll tax rate was not too bad (because there is a record of savings you can see), but if you didnt come up with it, they reeeeaaally came down hard on you.

Over in Brittania, it looks like they would actually go to the trouble of counterfeiting denarius out of solid silver:

So the subjects were apparently very motivated to make sure they could cough up a denarius when called upon...

You restrike one of those, and "it was on"...


Tom Hickey said...

"Over in Brittania, it looks like they would actually go to the trouble of counterfeiting denarius out of solid silver: So the subjects were apparently very motivated to make sure they could cough up a denarius when called upon..."

Very interesting. Sure makes the case for state money being a tax credit.

Unforgiven said...

@Matt Franko -

These days, they just hoard USD. Same effect. Pwnage of the peons and shittons via currency starvation, while the phat boys wait for the bargains to roll in.

Matt Franko said...


Right Tom has referred to this as "same-o, same-o".

The biblical accounts of around the same time period have daughters of Israel in prostitution (outrageous!!!), son of Israel Lazarus laid at the garbage door of the rich man to beg with the dogs (outrageous!!!), etc...

evidence of hoarding both in the physical archeology here, and the socio-economic results of such hoarding corroborated in the contemporaneous documentary records...

Saying goes something like: those who refuse to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it....


Marie said...

Trixie -

I have been vexed with this type of problem many times myself. Attempts to find "Don't mess with Marie's head" extensions to Chrome have been futile. I finally found some relief by clicking on the Wrench, then taking the tick off of "Enable Instant for faster searching" and then in the advanced settings, taking the tick off of "Use a prediction service to help complete searches and URLs typed in the address bar".

Well, it certainly helped to keep me from getting ticked off. Remember, I'm pulling for you, we're all in this together.

Yours in Christ,
Marie of Romania

Trixie said...

Dear Marie of Romania,

Thank you for your understanding, I do appreciate it. And yes, "we're all in this together". Because it's duct tape that binds us. Even Canadians know that.

And I've had similar frustrations with Chrome. Like looking for the feature "Uninstall application because you know what? YOU'RE NOT FUNNY ANYMORE". Even the MS Office Paperclip was more entertaining.

God Save the Queen...because no one else cares,

Tom Hickey said...

Trixie, on Chrome for Mac, remove extensions is done by going to Preferences > Extensions and selecting the extension and clicking on the Remove box. Yu can also turn extensions on and off without removing them there, too. Hope that helps.

It is doesn't, describe the problem for us and maybe someone can come up with a fix.

Matt Franko said...

Chrome has really helped me on my Dell NetBook.

I was ready to throw this thing out if had to continue to use Explorer.

I installed Chrome and it has acted like a completely different computer...


Unforgiven said...

Yeah, browsers tend to collect extensions and add-ons. One of the main sources is downloaded programs that bundle other "helpful" apps. Best to use the Custom install if it's offered and otherwise watch out for the screen that offers to install:

Google Toolbar
Search Conduit (goes by MANY names, vile spyware, all of them)
Ask Toolbar
Various and sundry search redirectors

The list goes on. This doesn't even cover the stuff the latest malware uses to screw you up and turn your system into a "bot".

When a system comes across my bench, I usually run it through 6 or 7 different scans along with the normal diags. Of course, no need for that if you're going to wipe and reinstall. But you'd better check your partitions first. You may have a hitchhiker.

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