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

Judaea, Valerius Gratus, Roman 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.


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In 15 A.D., Valerius Gratus was appointed Prefect of the Roman province of Judea.
JD34885. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1332; BMC Palestine p. 251, 2; Meshorer AJC II, Supp. V. 6; Meshorer TJC 316; RPC I 4958, VF, weight 1.881 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 225o, Jerusalem mint, 15 - 16 A.D.; obverse KAI/CAP within wreath; reverse two crossed cornucopia, TIB / L B (year 2 of Tiberius); ex Carl Greenbaum Collection, ex Herakles; very scarce; SOLD


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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.
JH53987. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1335, Meshorer TJC 321, RPC I 4961, VF, heavy flan, weight 3.673 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, 16 - 17 A.D.; obverse IOY/ΛIA (Julia) in two lines within wreath; reverse three lilies in bloom, flanked by date L - Γ (year 3); SOLD


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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.
JD54940. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1339, Meshorer TJC 328, RPC I 4965, VF, weight 1.646 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 90o, Jerusalem mint, 18 - 19 A.D.; obverse TIB/KAI/CAP (Tiberius Caesar) in wreath tied at base with an X; reverse palm branch curving right, flanked by IOY-ΛIA (Julia) above L - E (year 5) in two lines across field; SOLD


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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.
JD35759. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1334, Meshorer TJC 320, RPC I 4960, VF, nice desert patina, weight 2.082 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 16 - 17 A.D.; obverse KAI/CAP within a wreath; reverse TIB (Tiberius), two crossed cornucopia with caduceus between them, L - Γ (year 3) across fields; very scarce; SOLD


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Julia on the reverse, refers to Livia, wife of Augustus and mother of Tiberius. Livia took the name Julia Augusta after Augustus died.

In 17 A.D., Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, founded the city of Tiberius on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, in honor of the Roman emperor.
JD79870. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1338, Meshorer TJC 327, RPC I 4964, F, well centered, uneven strike, weight 2.422 g, maximum diameter 16.2 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 17 - 18 A.D.; obverse TIB / KAI/CAP (Tiberius Caesar) in three lines, within wreath tied at base with an X; reverse palm frond, flanked by IOY−ΛIA (Julia) over L - ∆ (year 4); SOLD


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Grapes, the vine and wine were an important part of the ancient economy and ritual. Grapes were brought to the Temple as offerings of the first-fruits and wine was offered upon the altar. The vine and grapes decorated the sacred vessels in the sanctuary and a golden vine with clusters of grapes stood at its entrance.
JD34884. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1336, Meshorer TJC 326, RPC I 4953, aVF, weight 1.676 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, 17 - 18 A.D.; obverse IOYΛIA, vine leaf and small bunch of grapes on branch; reverse amphora with scroll handles flanked by date L - ∆ (year 4); SOLD


Click for a larger photo
Julia on the reverse, refers to Livia, wife of Augustus and mother of Tiberius. Livia took the name Julia Augusta after Augustus died.

In 17 A.D., Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, founded the city of Tiberius on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, in honor of the Roman emperor.
JD42673. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1338, Meshorer TJC 327, RPC I 4964, VF, weight 1.955 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 17 - 18 A.D.; obverse TIB / KAI/CAP (Tiberius Caesar) in three lines, within wreath tied at base with an X; reverse palm frond, flanked by IOY−ΛIA (Julia) over L - ∆ (year 4); SOLD


Click for a larger photo
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.
JD79874. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1339, Meshorer TJC 328, RPC I 4965, aVF, porous, earthen deposits, weight 2.061 g, maximum diameter 15.73 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, 18 - 19 A.D.; obverse TIB/KAI/CAP (Tiberius Caesar) in wreath tied at base with an X; reverse palm branch curving right, flanked by IOY-ΛIA (Julia) above L - E (year 5) in two lines across field; SOLD


Click for a larger photo
Julia on the reverse, refers to Livia, wife of Augustus and mother of Tiberius. Livia took the name Julia Augusta after Augustus died.

"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 was emperor twenty-two years, he sent but two procurator to govern the nation of the Jews. Gratus, and his successor in the government, Pilate." - Josephus, antiquities VIII, VI, 5.
JD01080. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1340, Meshorer TJC 329, RIC I 4966, VF, weight 2.20 g, maximum diameter 15.7 mm, die axis 135o, Jerusalem mint, 24 A.D.; obverse TIB / KAI/CAP (Tiberius Caesar) in three lines, within wreath tied at base with an X; reverse palm branch curving right flanked by IOY−ΛIA (Julia) and L - IΛ (year 11); very scarce; SOLD


Click for a larger photo
Grapes, the vine and wine were an important part of the ancient economy and ritual. Grapes were brought to the Temple as offerings of the first-fruits and wine was offered upon the altar. The vine and grapes decorated the sacred vessels in the sanctuary and a golden vine with clusters of grapes stood at its entrance.
JD02987. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1337, Meshorer TJC 325, RPC I 4962, aF, weight 1.59 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, Jerusalem mint, 17 - 18 A.D.; obverse TIBEPIOC (Tiberius), vine leaf on branch; reverse KAICAP (Caesar), kantharos with scroll handles, flanked by date L∆ (year 4); SOLD




  




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THE PALM: THE PALM DEPICTED IS THE DATE PALM. THE TREE WAS A SYMBOL OF JUDEA WHERE PALM TREES GROW IN GREATER NUMBERS THAN THE SURROUNDING AREAS (THE ROMANS ALSO USED THE DATE PALM AS A SYMBOL OF JUDEA ON JUDAEA CAPTA COINS). THE PALM ALSO SYMBOLIZED ABUNDANCE AND PLENTY, DIGNITY, ROYAL HONOR, JUBILATION AND VICTORY, AND WAS USED IN RELIGIOUS PROCESSIONS.


THE GRAPE AND GRAPE VINE: GRAPES, THE VINE AND WINE WERE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE ANCIENT ECONOMY AND RITUAL. GRAPES WERE BROUGHT TO THE TEMPLE AS OFFERINGS OF THE FIRST-FRUITS AND WINE WAS OFFERED UPON THE ALTAR. THE VINE AND GRAPES DECORATED THE SACRED VESSELS IN THE SANCTUARY AND A GOLDEN VINE WITH CLUSTERS OF GRAPES STOOD AT ITS ENTRANCE.

Catalog current as of Tuesday, August 20, 2019.
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Valerius Gratus