Roman Sestertius coin depicting the emperor Vespasian, brass, 71 C.E.
Sestertius coins were chiefly produced by Roman emperors to commemorate military victories. Shown here is a coin minted by the emperor Vespasian (ruled 69–79 C.E) to honor his victory in the First Jewish War, or Great Revolt, in 71 C.E. The Great Revolt began in 66 C.E. when tensions between Hellenized and Jewish religious factions came to a head and culminated in the Roman army’s destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 C.E. On the obverse side (left), Vespasian’s bust is shown in profile with a laurel wreath, symbolizing victory. On the reverse (right), a captured Jewish man with hands tied behind his back and a seated Jewish woman in mourning appear under a palm tree. The inscription IVDEA CAPTA means “Judea Conquered.”