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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 91, Lot: 681. Estimate $200.
Sold for $360. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

JUDAEA, Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem). Hadrian. AD 117-138. Æ (22mm, 9.78 g, 12h). Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Hadrian, as founder, plowing right with yoke of two oxen; vexillum in background. Meshorer, Aelia 2; Rosenberger 1; SNG ANS -. VF, dark green patina with orange earthen patches.

From a Continental Collection, acquired in the 1980s.

The Roman city of Colonia Aelia Capitolina was refounded by the emperor Hadrian on the ancient city of Jerusalem, still in ruins following its destruction during the First Jewish War in 70 CE. Whether the refoundation occurred during or after Hadrian's visit to the region in 130/1 CE has been a matter of speculation. According to Dio (69.12.1), the refoundation took place during the imperial visit to the ruins, when Hadrian, in addition to performing the ritual of plowing the pomerium depicted in the current coin, also raised a temple to Jupiter on the Temple Mount. This act resulted in the outbreak of the Bar Kochba War the next year in 132 CE. Eusebius (Hist. eccl. 4.6.), however, put the date of the refounding at 136 CE, following the suppression of the revolt, noting that the refoundation was a divine punishment for the Jews attempting to rebuild the Temple. Meshorer noted that hoards of Bar-Kochba coins also contained early issues of Aelia Capitolina of the pontiff plowing pomerium type, confirming Dio's view of the early date of refoundation.