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Area/Ruler: Roman Judaea: Porcius Festus,
Ruled: Roman Procurator: 59-62 AD
Denomination: AE Prutah
Mint: Jerusalem
Date of Issue: 58 AD
Obverse: "NEP/ωNO/C" (Nero) in wreath tied at the bottom with an X.
Reverse: Palm branch "KAICAPO" (Caesar) and date LE (year 5)
Reference: Hendin 553
Weight: 1.7 gms
Diameter: 14.9 mm


Porcius Festus succeeded Felix as Procurator of Judea under the Emperor Nero in about 59 A.D. Not long after he took office, the apostle Paul, who had been arrested and had been imprisoned by Felix, was brought before him. Festus granted Paul's request to appeal his case to Caesar (a strategy by Paul which very likely saved his life, since if he had been sent back to Jerusalem he would almost certainly have been killed by the Sanhedrin). It was during the voyage to Rome that Paul was shipwrecked.

Festus also got into a little altercation with the leaders of Jerusalem's Jewish community, in a dispute over a wall. King Agrippa II built a room in which he could spy into the affairs of the Temple, so the Jews built a wall to block the view. When Festus heard about this he demanded that the wall be taken down. The Jewish leaders asked if they could go directly to Nero for arbitration and Festus granted permission. Nero sided with the Jews allegedly because his wife Poppaea was a "Jewish-sympathizer."

Festus ruled until 62 A.D., when he died, presumably of natural causes, and was succeeded by Albinus.

"Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him, and desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him. But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither. Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him. And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought. And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove. While he answered for himself, neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all. But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar. Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.
King James Bible, Acts 25.1-12

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