Rare Byzantine Gold Coin Found in Israel

A rare gold solidus dating back 1,600 years has been found by a group of Israeli students in the Galilee region.

“The gold coin is a solidus minted by the emperor Theodosius II in Constantinople around 420-423 CE,” said Dr. Gabriela Bijovsky, a numismatic expert at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). “Similar coins are known from the Eastern Byzantine empire, but this is the first of its type discovered in Israel.” “One side depicts the image of the emperor and the other shows the image of the Goddess Victory holding the Staff of the Cross.”

The reverse of the gold solidus. Image credit: Nir Distelfeld, Israel Antiquities Authority.

He founded the University of Constantinople in 425 CE and compiled of the Theodosian Code (published 438 CE), which codified the laws issued after 312 CE.

“The emperor Theodosius II abolished the post of the ‘Nasi,’ the Head of the Sanhedrin Council, and decreed that the Jews’ financial contributions to the Sanhedrin be transferred to the Imperial Treasury,” said Dr. Yair Amitzur, IAA chief archaeologist of the Sanhedrin trail.

“The Sanhedrin trail initiated by the IAA, tells the story of the Jewish leadership in the Galilee at the time of the Mishna and the Talmud in the Roman and Byzantine periods.”

“It is symbolic that the gold coin discovered adjacent to the Sanhedrin trail reflects the period of dramatic events when the Sanhedrin ceased to function in the Galilee, and the center of Jewish life transferred from the Galilee to Babylon.”


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