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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Judean & Biblical Coins| ▸ |Roman Procurators| ▸ |Valerius Gratus||View Options:  |  |  |   

Roman Judaea, Valerius Gratus, Prefect under Tiberius, 15 - 26 A.D.

"And, as a further attestation to what I say of the dilatory nature of Tiberius, I appeal to this his practice itself; for although he were emperor twenty-two years, he sent in all but two procurator to govern the nation of the Jews. Gratus, and his successor in the government, Pilate." - Josephus, antiquities VIII, VI, 5.

Judaea, Valerius Gratus, Roman Prefect Under Tiberius, 15 - 26 A.D., Cohors II Italica Civium Romanorum Countermark

|Valerius| |Gratus|, |Judaea,| |Valerius| |Gratus,| |Roman| |Prefect| |Under| |Tiberius,| |15| |-| |26| |A.D.,| |Cohors| |II| |Italica| |Civium| |Romanorum| |Countermark||prutah|NEW
Now there was a certain man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort...(Acts 10:1).

Spijkermann was the first to publish a countermarked prutah, also a Valerius Gratus coin, in 1963. Lnnqvist published the first detailed study, "New Vistas on the Countermarked Coins of the Roman Prefects of Judaea" in INJ 12. Kogon published an update, "Countermarks on Small Judean Coins" in INR 7, identifying 47 known specimens of countermarked prutah of all types. Both papers are available online. Lnnqvist interpreted CΠ in the countermark as an abbreviation for the Greek word σπειρα, referring to a Roman legionary tactical unit, a cohors. The use of CΠ referring to a cohors is also known from an inscription. He suggested that the countermarks were applied in 36 - 37 A.D. in Jerusalem to mark the coins as pay for the soldiers of the cohors II Italica civium Romanorum.
JD111613. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6369a (same c/m); RPC I 4966.8-11 (same); Meshorer TJC 330 (same); countermark: Kogon 3b, Howgego GIC 386, coin: Fair, countermark: VF, weight 2.195 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 24 - 25 A.D., c/m: 36 - 37/41 A.D.; obverse TIB / KAI/CAP (Greek: Tiberius Caesar) in three lines within wreath tied at base with an X; reverse palm branch curving right, flanked by IOY-ΛIA (Greek: Julia = Tiberius' mother Livia) above L - IA (year 11 of Tiberius) in two lines across field; countermark: palm frond flanked by C-Π within 8mm circular punch; from the collection of a Texas clergyman, ex J. P. Fontanille Collection (2016); rare countermark; $1600.00 (1616.00)


|Valerius| |Gratus|, |Judaea,| |Valerius| |Gratus,| |Roman| |Prefect| |Under| |Tiberius,| |15| |-| |26| |A.D.||prutah|
In 18 A.D., Germanicus Caesar arrived in Syria, as the new commander for the Roman East. Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso, governor of Syria, ignored Germanicus' order to send Syrian-based legions to Armenia to back his planned coronation of Artaxias III. Some Roman sources of the period suggest that Tiberius gave Piso secret instructions to thwart and control Germanicus. The following year Germanicus died at Antioch. On his deathbed he accused Piso of poisoning him. Tiberius was forced to order an investigation and a public trial in the Roman Senate for Piso. Piso committed suicide, though it was rumored that Tiberius, fearing incriminating disclosures, had him put to death.
JD111317. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6368; Meshorer TJC 328; Sofaer pl. 219, 28; BMC Palestine p. 255, 38; RPC I 4965, Choice VF, centered, dark patina, highlighting earthen deposits, porosity, traces of flan casting sprues, weight 2.245 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 90o, Jerusalem mint, 18 - 19 A.D.; obverse TIB / KAI/CAP (Greek: Tiberius Caesar) in three lines within wreath tied at base with an X; reverse palm branch curving right, flanked by IOY-ΛIA (Greek: Julia = Tiberius' mother Livia) above L - E (year 5 of Tiberius) in two lines across field; $150.00 (151.50)


|Valerius| |Gratus|, |Judaea,| |Valerius| |Gratus,| |Roman| |Prefect| |Under| |Tiberius,| |15| |-| |26| |A.D.||prutah|
In 18 A.D., Germanicus Caesar arrived in Syria, as the new commander for the Roman East. Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso, governor of Syria, ignored Germanicus' order to send Syrian-based legions to Armenia to back his planned coronation of Artaxias III. Some Roman sources of the period suggest that Tiberius gave Piso secret instructions to thwart and control Germanicus. The following year Germanicus died at Antioch. On his deathbed he accused Piso of poisoning him. Tiberius was forced to order an investigation and a public trial in the Roman Senate for Piso. Piso committed suicide, though it was rumored that Tiberius, fearing incriminating disclosures, had him put to death.
JD111318. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6368; Meshorer TJC 328; Sofaer pl. 219, 28; BMC Palestine p. 255, 38; RPC I 4965, VF, dark green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, slightly off center, reverse edge beveled, remnants of casting sprues, weight 2.233 g, maximum diameter 15.7 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, 18 - 19 A.D.; obverse TIB / KAI/CAP (Greek: Tiberius Caesar) in three lines within wreath tied at base with an X; reverse palm branch curving right, flanked by IOY-ΛIA (Greek: Julia = Tiberius' mother Livia) above L - E (year 5 of Tiberius) in two lines across field; $120.00 (121.20)


|Valerius| |Gratus|, |Judaea,| |Valerius| |Gratus,| |Roman| |Prefect| |Under| |Tiberius,| |15| |-| |26| |A.D.||prutah|NEW
Julia on the obverse, refers to Livia, wife of Augustus and mother of Tiberius. Livia took the name Julia Augusta after Augustus died.

In the book Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ and its derived films, Gratus is almost killed by a tile accidentally dropped by Judah Ben-Hur. This prompts all subsequent events of the story. In the novel Gratus is portrayed as a corrupt governor who acted against Ben-Hur's family in order to enrich himself.
JD111322. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6364, Meshorer TJC 321, Sofaer pl. 219, 18; BMC Palestine p. 253, 16 & pl. XXVIII, 11; RPC I 4961, F, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, porosity, ragged sprue cuts, weight 1.550 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, 16 - 17 A.D.; obverse IOY/ΛIA (Greek: Julia) in two lines within wreath; reverse three formal lilies in bloom springing from a single base, L - Γ (year 3 of Tiberius) divided across field; $120.00 (121.20)


|Valerius| |Gratus|, |Judaea,| |Valerius| |Gratus,| |Roman| |Prefect| |Under| |Tiberius,| |15| |-| |26| |A.D.||prutah|
In 18 A.D., Germanicus Caesar arrived in Syria, as the new commander for the Roman East. Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso, governor of Syria, ignored Germanicus' order to send Syrian-based legions to Armenia to back his planned coronation of Artaxias III. Some Roman sources of the period suggest that Tiberius gave Piso secret instructions to thwart and control Germanicus. The following year Germanicus died at Antioch. On his deathbed he accused Piso of poisoning him. Tiberius was forced to order an investigation and a public trial in the Roman Senate for Piso. Piso committed suicide, though it was rumored that Tiberius, fearing incriminating disclosures, had him put to death.
JD111320. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6368; Meshorer TJC 328; Sofaer pl. 219, 28; BMC Palestine p. 255, 38; RPC I 4965, VF, dark patina, highlighting earthen deposits, rev. edge beveled, weight 2.206 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 315o, Jerusalem mint, 18 - 19 A.D.; obverse TIB / KAI/CAP (Greek: Tiberius Caesar) in three lines within wreath tied at base with an X; reverse palm branch curving right, flanked by IOY-ΛIA (Greek: Julia = Tiberius' mother Livia) above L - E (year 5 of Tiberius) in two lines across field; $110.00 (111.10)


|Valerius| |Gratus|, |Judaea,| |Valerius| |Gratus,| |Roman| |Prefect| |Under| |Tiberius,| |15| |-| |26| |A.D.||prutah|NEW
The government of Gratus is chiefly remarkable for the frequent changes he made in the appointment of the high-priesthood. He deposed Ananus, and substituted Ismael, son of Fabi, then Eleazar, son of Arianus, then Simon, son of Camith, and lastly Joseph Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Ananus.
JD111323. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6363; Meshorer TJC 320; Sofaer 15; RPC I 4960; BMC Palestine p. 252, 10, pl. XXVIII, 9, weight 1.754 g, maximum diameter 15.7 mm, die axis 225o, Jerusalem mint, 16 - 17 A.D.; obverse KAI/CAP (Greek: Caesar) in two lines within wreath; reverse TIBEPIOY (Greek: of Tiberius), two crossed cornucopia with caduceus between them, L - Γ (year 3 of Tiberius) across fields; very scarce; $110.00 (111.10)


Judaea, Valerius Gratus, Roman Prefect Under Tiberius, 15 - 26 A.D.

|Valerius| |Gratus|, |Judaea,| |Valerius| |Gratus,| |Roman| |Prefect| |Under| |Tiberius,| |15| |-| |26| |A.D.||prutah|NEW
The government of Gratus is chiefly remarkable for the frequent changes he made in the appointment of the high-priesthood. He deposed Ananus, and substituted Ismael, son of Fabi, then Eleazar, son of Arianus, then Simon, son of Camith, and lastly Joseph Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Ananus.
JD111324. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6363; Meshorer TJC 320; Sofaer 15; RPC I 4960; BMC Palestine p. 252, 10, pl. XXVIII, 9, F, dark patina, highlighting deposits, obv. edge beveled, edge ragged, scratches, weight 2.111 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 16 - 17 A.D.; obverse KAI/CAP (Greek: Caesar) in two lines within wreath; reverse TIBEPIOY (Greek: of Tiberius), two crossed cornucopia with caduceus between them, L - Γ (year 3 of Tiberius) across fields; very scarce; $110.00 (111.10)


|Valerius| |Gratus|, |Judaea,| |Valerius| |Gratus,| |Roman| |Prefect| |Under| |Tiberius,| |15| |-| |26| |A.D.||prutah|
In 18 A.D., Germanicus Caesar arrived in Syria, as the new commander for the Roman East. Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso, governor of Syria, ignored Germanicus' order to send Syrian-based legions to Armenia to back his planned coronation of Artaxias III. Some Roman sources of the period suggest that Tiberius gave Piso secret instructions to thwart and control Germanicus. The following year Germanicus died at Antioch. On his deathbed he accused Piso of poisoning him. Tiberius was forced to order an investigation and a public trial in the Roman Senate for Piso. Piso committed suicide, though it was rumored that Tiberius, fearing incriminating disclosures, had him put to death.
JD110291. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6368; Meshorer TJC 328; Sofaer pl. 219, 28; BMC Palestine p. 255, 38; RPC I 4965, F, earthen deposits, areas of corrosion, reverse edge beveled, sprue remnant, weight 2.461 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 330o, Jerusalem mint, 18 - 19 A.D.; obverse TIB / KAI/CAP (Greek: Tiberius Caesar) in three lines within wreath tied at base with an X; reverse palm branch curving right, flanked by IOY-ΛIA (Greek: Julia = Tiberius' mother Livia) above L - E (year 5 of Tiberius) in two lines across field; from an Israeli collection; $100.00 (101.00)


|Valerius| |Gratus|, |Judaea,| |Valerius| |Gratus,| |Roman| |Prefect| |Under| |Tiberius,| |15| |-| |26| |A.D.||prutah|
In 18 A.D., Germanicus Caesar arrived in Syria, as the new commander for the Roman East. Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso, governor of Syria, ignored Germanicus' order to send Syrian-based legions to Armenia to back his planned coronation of Artaxias III. Some Roman sources of the period suggest that Tiberius gave Piso secret instructions to thwart and control Germanicus. The following year Germanicus died at Antioch. On his deathbed he accused Piso of poisoning him. Tiberius was forced to order an investigation and a public trial in the Roman Senate for Piso. Piso committed suicide, though it was rumored that Tiberius, fearing incriminating disclosures, had him put to death.
JD111319. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6368; Meshorer TJC 328; Sofaer pl. 219, 28; BMC Palestine p. 255, 38; RPC I 4965, F, centered on a tight flan, dark patina, highlighting earthen deposits, traces of casting sprues, weight 2.025 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, 18 - 19 A.D.; obverse TIB / KAI/CAP (Greek: Tiberius Caesar) in three lines within wreath tied at base with an X; reverse palm branch curving right, flanked by IOY-ΛIA (Greek: Julia = Tiberius' mother Livia) above L - E (year 5 of Tiberius) in two lines across field; $100.00 (101.00)


|Valerius| |Gratus|, |Judaea,| |Valerius| |Gratus,| |Roman| |Prefect| |Under| |Tiberius,| |15| |-| |26| |A.D.||prutah|NEW
Julia on the obverse, refers to Livia, wife of Augustus and mother of Tiberius. Livia took the name Julia Augusta after Augustus died.
JD111325. Bronze prutah, Hendin 6362; Meshorer TJC 317; RPC I 4959; Sofaer 12; BMC Palestine p. 251, 5 & pl. XXVIII 8, 8, aF, grainy, porous, ragged sprue cuts, weight 2.132 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, 15 A.D.; obverse IOY/ΛIA (Greek: Julia) in two lines within wreath; reverse palm frond, flanked by L - B (year 2 of Tiberius); $100.00 (101.00)




  



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REFERENCES

Burnett, A., M. Amandry & P. Ripolls. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (London, 1992 & supplements).
Fontanille, J. Menorah Coin Project, website: http://menorahcoinproject.com/
Hendin, D. Guide to Biblical Coins, 6th Edition. (Amphora, 2021).
Hill, G. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Palestine. (London, 1914).
Howgego, C. Greek Imperial Countermarks. Royal Numismatic Society, Special Publication No. 17. (London, 1985).
Kogon, Z. "Countermarks on Small Judean Coins" in INR 7 (Jerusalem, 2012), pp. 93 - 106.
Lnnqvist, K. "New Vistas on the Countermarked Coins of the Roman Prefects of Judea" in INJ 12 (Jerusalem, 1992 - 1993), pp. 56 - 70. Meshorer, Y. A Treasury of Jewish Coins from the Persian Period to Bar Kokhba. (Jerusalem, 2001).
Meshorer, Y., et al. Coins of the Holy Land: The Abraham and Marian Sofaer Collection at the American Numismatic Society and The Israel Museum. ACNAC 8. (New York, 2013).
RPC Online - http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2: Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 7: Cyprus to India. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, USA, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 6: Palestine - South Arabia. (New York, 1981).

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