|Coins - Ancient - Judaea|
|Realisation Price||155,000.00 USD|
Goldberg Auctioneers / January 2016 Long Beach (#90) - 31/01/2016 / Money of the Bible Collection / Lot 3047
Titus. AE Sestertius (25.87 g), AD 79-81 Choice VF Rome, AD 80/1. View of the Amphitheatrum Flavium (the Colosseum) between the Meta Sudans, on left, and porticoed building, on right; the exterior of the monument showing four tiers with a varying number of arches, some empty and some with statuary; the interior shows the seating filled with spectators, steps, and the emperor's viewing box. IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII, S C across field, emperor seated left on curule chair, holding branch and scroll; around, various arms. RIC 184; BMC 190, pl. 50, 2 (same dies); BN 189 (same rev. die); Kent-Hirmer pl. 68, 239 (obv. only illus.). Hendin 1594. Struck on a very broad flan, pleasing reddish-brown patina. The Flavian Amphitheater, also known as the Colosseum, was built in several stages. Its construction was begun in the reign of Vespasian, added onto by Titus, and completed by Domitian. The structure of the Colosseum consisted of four stories, the lowest level corresponding to the Doric / Tuscan style, the second story to the Ionic, the third to Corinthian, these built by Vespasian between 71 and 75 A.D. The fourth story gallery of Corinthian pilasters was added by Titus in 80 A.D. to provide more seating. It was dedicated in 80 A.D., in a hundred-day celebration. This sestertius and its series illustrates the first time an artistic archaeological monument is tied to the numismatic 'Judaea Capta' bronzes. It is only in the last few years that two other excellent examples of this sestertius type of Titus have entered the market. The relief on the surfaces of these coins has been of a high enough state of preservation as to ascertain that the motif within the central arch on the third level actually utilizes the same iconographical elements from the Judaea Captive Bronze Coin Series: a prominent palm tree, the emperor with foot on helmet, and a Jewish captive. In other words, these well-known symbols of the defeat of Judaea represented on coinage was also glorified by a life-size bronze group fashioned by a master sculptor. The building of the structure was funded by the spoils of the Jewish War. This is attested by a reconstructed "ghost inscription," discovered on the architrave of one of the side entrances to the Colosseum. [A "ghost inscription" is a cluster of pin holes once used to attach metal letters to monumental surface.] In 1995 Geza Alfoldy of the University of Heidelberg reconstructed this early, underlying (so-called "ghost inscription") as follows: "The Emperor Titus Caesar Vespasian Augustus ordered the new amphitheater to be made from the (proceeds from the sale of the) booty." From the Letter of Aristeas Josephus (Antiquitates Judaicae II.2 passim): The Temple [in Jerusalem] had been built with a lavishness and sumptuousness beyond all precedent. It was the recipient of immeasurable gifts and was the repository of all manner of sacred treasures of massive gold. The treasury held "infinite sums of money." In particular, Josephus asserts that the menorah and the altar, each made of gold, weighed no less than two talents. According to Josephus 97,000 Jews were taken into captivity (de Bello Judaico 6.93). This may be the source of the tradition, otherwise unattested, that Jews actually built the Colosseum [Louis H. Feldman]. Accordingly, captive Jews provided the unskilled workforce, working in the travertine quarries in Tivoli, and transporting the stones the twenty miles to Rome. The Flavians endeavored to eradicate the Jews by destroying the Temple in Jerusalem, killing, enslaving or exiling the Jews from Judaea, and by forbidding the practice of Judaism. The Flavian Amphitheater was financed by the spoils of the Jewish War and built by the labor of the Jews. Its very presence was a tangible announcement of the glory that was Rome and an exultation of the primacy and power of the emperor. Its de facto legacy was as an eternal monument to commemorate the triumph of the Flavians over Judaea. Estimated Value $90,000-UP.