Date: 67/68 CE
Ruler: Zealot Party of the First (Great) Jewish Revolt
Mint: Judea (city unknown)
Obverse: Two-handled amphora with broad rim. Hebrew inscription, “year two” (67-68 CE)
Reverse: Vine leaf on branch. Hebrew inscription, “The freedom of Zion.” (Herut Zion)
Size and Weight: 14mm, 1.35g
A Prutah is a Hebrew word that appears in the Mishna and Talmud. A loaf of bread was worth about ten prutot (plural). The Prutah was the most commonly minted coin of the Jewish kings and Roman procurators. During the Great Revolt the Jewish rebels minted their own coins to emphasise their newly obtained independence from Rome.
Everyone, whether a believer or simply a lover of history or of numismatics, will find in these coins direct evidence of and witness to an episode the memory of which has survived 2000 years, the Great Revolt that marked the end of the Second Jewish Commonwealth. The hope written on the coin of what these Jews were fighting for, “the freedom of Zion,” once again became a reality in 1948 with the establishment of the Third Jewish Commonwealth - The State of Israel.
The Great Revolt and Masada
Masada was Herod’s (37-4 BCE) Royal citadel and later last outpost of the Zealots during the Great Revolt (66-73 CE) against Rome. Masada was the site of one of the most dramatic and symbolic acts in Jewish history, where, according to Josephus, the Jewish rebels chose mass suicide rather than to submit to Roman Capture. The Great Revolt, or Jewish War was a Jewish revolt against Roman tyranny. Vespasian suppressed the revolt in the Galilee and his son Titus captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Second Temple in 70 CE.
These coins are called “Masada coins” because it was there that a large hoard of this type of coin was found during archaeological excavations. Coins issued by the Judean government during the Revolt use an archaic Hebrew script and Jewish symbols and phrases including "Shekel of Israel," and "The Freedom of Zion" as political statements intended to rally support for independence.