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July 19, 2024
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Hoard of Silver and Bronze Coins from Gallus Revolt Found in Israel

The Jewish revolt against Constantius Gallus, also known as the Gallus Revolt, erupted during the Roman civil war of 351-354 CE and was the last Jewish revolt against the Romans.

Bronze and silver coins from the 4th century CE found in Lod, central Israel. Image credit: Israel Antiquities Authority.

Bronze and silver coins from the 4th century CE found in Lod, central Israel. Image credit: Israel Antiquities Authority.

The 1,650-year-old hoard was found by Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologists in a large destroyed building in Lod, central Israel.

The hoard contains 94 silver and bronze coins dating between 221 and 354 CE.

“The youngest coins are from the time of the Gallus Revolt (351-354 CE),” the IAA archaeologists said.

“Though written evidence is sparse regarding this revolt, there are texts reporting that major Jewish communities such as Lod, Zipori and Tiberias were destroyed by the forces of Constantinus Gallus.”

They also found impressive stone and marble artifacts, Greek, Hebrew and Latin inscriptions, and one inscription bearing the name of a Jewish man from a priestly family.

“In all likelihood this is a magnificent Jewish building that housed the city’s elders,” said IAA archaeologists Shahar Krispin and Mor Viezel.

“From Talmudic writings we know that Lod was a most significant Jewish center in the aftermath of the Second Temple’s destruction in Jerusalem.”

“Sone of the renowned ‘Sages of Lod’ are Rabbi Eliezer ben Horkanos, Rabbi Tarfon, Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Yosi HaGalili and many more.”

“The building, destroyed down to its very foundation, is a clear indication that the revolt was forcefully put down with violence and cruelty, and was not simply a local uprising event, as some earlier studies contended.”

“This is the singular witness, thus far, to the extent and power of this revolt in Lod, located in the country’s center.”

“It is difficult to determine if this magnificent building served as synagogue, study hall, meeting hall of the elders, or all three of these functions as one,” said IAA’s Professor Joshua Schwartz.

“But what is clear is that the building’s size, the coin hoard, and the assemblage of archaeological finds produced by the excavation, fit well Lod/Diospolis’ description in both Jewish and non-Jewish sources as a center of Torah-true Jewish life in the Mishna and Talmud periods.”

“Lod’s role as a leading community with elders continued from after the destruction though to this moment when it was cruelly cut down in the Gallus Revolt.”

“The impressive finds uncovered here reinforce our responsibility to investigate and to conserve Lod’s history and rich heritage,” said IAA Director Eli Escusido.

“Along with the city’s new exhibition center of the beautiful Lod mosaic, we now bring this building to the awareness of the general public.”

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