Æ-Sestertius, 96, Rome; 28.02 g.
THE SAMEL COLLECTION OF ANCIENT JEWISH COINS
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COINS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE REFERRING TO JUDAEA, Nerva, 96-98.
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Overbeck – Meshorer no. 353.
Nerva’s main political objective, propagated on coins, was to create iustitia and Aequitas/justice and legal equality in the Roman Empire. The Latin word 'calumnia' means harrassment, especially judicial harrassment. Vespasian had decreed that all Jews, who until the destruction of the Jewish temple had paid two drachms/denarii to the temple in Jerusalem, henceforth had to pay this amount to the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in Rome. When this tax was collected with the utmost severity during the reign of Domitian, the question arose who was a Jew within the meaning of this law. Especially since not a few ethnic Jews had converted to Christianity, the question came up whether these people also had to pay this tax. It is very obvious that Nerva took measures to settle these problems by decreeing that only the confession to Judaism and not ethnic affiliation obliged Jewish people to pay the 2 drachm-tax. By this legal reorganisation, the Jews, who continued to observe their ancestral religious traditions and paid the tax became members of an accepted religious community – in stark contrast to the Christians. Cf. M. Heemstra, The interpretation and wider context of Nerva’s Fiscus Judaicus Sestertius, in: D. M. Jacobson – N. Kokkinos (eds.), Judaea and Rome in Coins, 65 BCE – 135 CE. Papers Presented at the International Conference Hosted by Spink, 13th – 4th September 2010, London 2012, 187-201 (with the older scientific literature).