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Damage from 33 AD Earthquake and Darkness

The above coin is from Herod Philip, minted the year of the crucifixion in 33AD. The coin is in very poor condition as is the usual for coins of Herod Philip. The obverse has the head of Tiberius facing right. The reverse is the usual temple at Caesarea Philippi or Paneas. The strike is offset with the right side of the building as being asymmetric. It almost looks like the coin was struck intentionally to show earthquake damage to the temple. Estimates vary as to the magnitude of the 33 AD quake, however considering the entire Jordan River Valley is part of the same fault line it would not be surprising if Caesarea Philippi experienced damage with Jerusalem in this quake. Taking conjecture one step forward if one looks at the damage in the above image it is easier to imagine the veil to the "Holy of Holies" being rent in two with uplift on one side or the other. The date is represented by the Greek letters between the columns. The middle letter is a Greek Lambda. Notice a small pellet beneath the lambda on the floor of the temple. The lambda with the pellet below or in the apex is present on the coins of Antipas from 29-31 AD and recurrs in the same fashion with the date on an Antipas coin from 33 AD. Note the pediment on the Herod Philip 30 AD coin has a lambda like object with a pellet in the apex. To an illiterate population a lambda is a basic symbol of shelter or protection. Placing pellets or globes beneath may represent the Earth and be a sign of refuge from disaster.

Photo from Vaughn Rare Coin Gallery

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