This is a rare and important prutah of the 1st Jewish War against Rome in the year 2 ( 67-68 CE). The year two representing the reign year of Procurator of Judea, Marcus Antonius Julianus. Nero was the Roman Emperor during this Revolt.
This is a bronze mite/Lepton often referred as the "Masada coin" because a large number of them were found atop the desert fortress overlooking the Dead sea.
Obverse : Amphora with broad rim and two handles and Hebrew inscription "year 2"
Reverse : vine leaf on a branch and Hebrew inscription "Freedom of Zion"
First Jewish Revolt coinage was issued by the Jews after the Zealots captured Jerusalem and the Jewish temple from the Romans in 66 AD at the beginning of the First Jewish Revolt. The Jewish leaders of the revolt minted their own coins to emphasize their newly obtained independence from Rome.
During the second (67–68 AD) and third (69–70 AD) years of the revolt bronze prutah coins were issued, depicting an amphora, and with the date and the Hebrew inscription (חרות ציון Herut Zion)"The Freedom of Zion"
The lepton (plural: lepta) and prutah (plural: prutot) were the lowest denomination coins that circulated in Jerusalem during Roman. Lepta were often carelessly and crudely struck, usually off center and on small flans. Because they circulated for a long period, they are most often very worn and legends are usually illegible." ( edited ref Numiswiki)
Causes of the War of 66-70In 66, the Roman emperor Nero needed money, and ordered his representative in Judaea, Gessius Florus, to confiscate it from the Temple treasure. The governor was not amused when some Jewish jokers passed the hat round for "that poor procurator Florus" (Flavius Josephus, Jewish War, 2.295). He demanded their punishment, but when his policemen could not find the mockers, he had some passersby arrested and crucified. Of course this was tactless and brutal, but it it would not have led to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple if there had not been one or two deeper causes. The obvious reason why this incident led to war, was the religious tension between the Jewish populace and the Roman government. However, the Roman governors and the Temple authorities had found practical solutions to deal with these problems.
The real reason for the war was the impoverishment of the Jewish peasantry. Sixty years of Roman taxation had meant only one thing: the Jews had to pay money, which was spent in Italy and on the border. Judaea had become substantially poorer and many peasants had been forced first to mortgage and then to sell their land. Besides, in Jerusalem many people had become unemployed when he renovation of the temple was finished in 63. The peasants and artsians had a reason to fight, and they were willing to do so.
There may have been a portent that gave them hope. There was a prophecy in the book of Numbers (24.17) that 'a star shall come forth out of Jacob, a scepter shall rise out of Israel', which was commonly taken to be a prediction of the Messiah. At the end of 64, there had been a comet (Tacitus, Annals, 15.47), which must have made a discontent populace even more discontent.
For some time, the Temple authorities had been able to check the peasant's anger. But in the third quarter of the first century, most people considered the high priesthood corrupt. The war of 66-70 was not only a war between the Romans and Jews, it was also a class struggle.
Item : A Mite / A Lepton
Obv : Amphora with broad rim and two handles and Hebrew inscription "year 2"
Rev : vine leaf on a branch and Hebrew inscription "Freedom of Zion"
Date :Year 2 ( 67-68 CE)
Weight : 2.56gm
Denom : Lepton
Metal : AE
Rarity : R
Purchased Price : USD