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Israel discovers 1,850-year-old Roman coin with emperor’s portrait

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A rare bronze coin, dating back some 1,850 years, was discovered in northern Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said on Tuesday.

The coin was found by an Israeli soldier during a training exercise in the Carmel coastal mountain range.

The coin was minted in the ancient city of Geva Philippi, also known as Geva Parashim, as in the Roman period, cities (poleis) were granted the right to mint their own coins.

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On its obverse, the coin bears the head of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, who ruled in years 138-161 CE.

The reverse shows the moon god Men with the phrase “legend of the people of Geva Phillipi.’’

The number marked on the coin indicates 217 years since the municipal council was evidently established, and its citizens were allowed self-government under the Roman Empire.

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In Geva, located on the foothills at the edge of the Jezreel Valley, Herod, the Roman client king of Judea, settled his cavalry forces.

In the Great Revolt, 66-73 CE, local and Roman forces set out from there to fight Jewish rebels.

The IAA said that the coin was probably lost by its owner on one of the roads that crossed this area.

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