Among all the enemies of Rome, few were as troublesome as the Jews of Israel. This tiny, impoverished land was host to two bloody revolts which claimed the full attention of the Romans.
The Romans felt it was necessary to quell these rebellions – even at great expense – to show the rest of its provinces the consequences of revolution. The first of these two revolts against the tyranny of Rome began in AD 66, during the reign of Emperor Nero, and continued in earnest until AD 70, when Jerusalem fell. Thereafter only small pockets of rebellion persisted. The last group of rebels to fall were besieged at the hilltop fortress of Massada.
Their epic struggle ended by suicide on May 1, AD 73. The coins of the First Revolt have a variety of designs, all of which are symbolic of Jewish customs and culture which they hoped to preserve in their struggle against Rome. Shown on this coin are a chalice and a lulav with etrog with inscription on the chalice side tells us this coin was struck in “year four” of the revolt (AD 69) and the inscription on the lulav side declares the very purpose of the revolt: “The Freedom of Zion.”