Denarius depicting the head of Titus and a Jewish captive kneeling (79 CE)



79 CE




Name of Ruler: 
Obverse (Image and Inscription): 

Image: Laureate head of Titus looking right


Reverse (Image and Inscription): 

Image: Jewish captive kneeling right in front of trophy of arms

Inscription: TR POT VIII COS VII


This denarius minted in 79 CE depicts on the obverse the head of Titus and on the reverse a Jewish prisoner. Titus is depicted wearing a beard, a sign of mourning. The coin may have been minted at the very beginning of his reign, when the emperor was mourning his father. In the inscription on the obverse Titus is designated as imperator Titus Caesar Vespasianus Augustus, and the inscription on the reverse indicates that he held the tribunicia potestas for the 8th time and was consul for the 7th time.
This coin is part of the Iudaea Capta series, a series of commemorative coins originally issued by Vespasian to celebrate the end of the First Jewish Revolt, the Judean defeat and the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple by his son Titus in 70 CE. There are several variants of the coinage. This variant depicts a Jewish captive kneeling right in front of a trophy of arms. While the Jew is depicted wearing bracae and sporting a beard, like a Barbarian, the trophy in the background depicts weaponry common in the Greco-Roman world, such as a muscled cuirass, a round shield, and an Attic helmet. As on many of the Iudaea Capta types, Roman power is emphasized by the manliness of the Jewish prisoner under the trophy. The worthy adversary, now defeated, enhances the might of Rome, which was successful in defeating a valiant enemy.

Keywords in the original language: 

Bibliographical references: 
Levick, Barbara, Vespasian (Roman Imperial Biographies ; London: Routledge, 2005)

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Denarius depicting the head of Titus and a Jewish captive kneeling (79 CE)
Publishing date: Mon, 01/30/2017 - 15:22
Visited: Sat, 03/17/2018 - 23:09

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