Ancient Jewish Coins Found in Georgia, Not Far from the Black Sea

Tomorrow is the fast day of the 17th of Tammuz, which commemorates, inter alia, the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE. The battle for Jerusalem was precipitated by the Jewish revolt against Rome, during which the Judean rebels printed their own coins to mark their short-lived independence. Some such coins, writes Owen Jarus, were recently discovered near the ancient land of Colchis, in what is now Georgia:

An analysis revealed that some of the coins were brought to the site by the Legio X Fretensis, a military unit that took part in fighting Jewish rebels during the first Jewish revolt. However, it’s unlikely that the Roman soldiers who fought the Jews were the same ones who left the coins at Colchis. Instead, the coins likely stayed in the unit as new soldiers joined it.

Most of the coins used in the analysis were discovered between 2014 and 2022 by a Polish-Georgian team at the fort of Apsaros at Colchis. . . . The researchers found that a few of the coins were actually minted by Jewish rebels and that the Romans continued to use the currency. During the revolt, the Jewish rebels minted coins of their own that were inscribed with a variety of images, including pomegranates and chalices.

The legion would have brought the coins to the site around 115 CE, when the Roman emperor Trajan (who reigned from 98 to 117) launched an initially successful invasion of the Parthian Empire—an action that pushed the Roman empire’s borders deep into the Middle East.

Read more at Live Science

More about: Archaeology, Georgia, Judean Revolt

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy