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.