Pontius Pilate Countermark 30 AD
This coin was minted in Jerusalem in 30 AD by Roman Governor Pontius Pilate. The countermark bears a resemblance to the coins of Herod Antipas, a palm branch with two symbols to the left and right. Herod Antipas would place the dates by the palm branches on his coins. The number of coins with this countermark are very few and the symbols are crude. A crescent with a dot to the left of the palm branch may symbolize the solar eclipse of 29 AD. The branch with two lines coming down on the right may be the Hebrew symbol of "chet" or the number 8. While solar eclipses to the Romans were associated with war and conquest, a solar eclipse to the Jewish people in the eighth month of their calendar had a very different meaning. November 24 of 29 AD occurred on the last day of the 8th Jewish month of Heshvan. The Great Flood of Noah began in the 8th month. A total or deep partial solar eclipse during Heshvan would have made the Jews very fearful of God's Judgement and may have contributed to the messianic feelings of the day. Jesus Christ likely started His public ministry at the time of this solar eclipse. Over three years later on April 3, 33 AD, He accepted the totality of God's judgement on Himself for our salvation.
Why would Herod Antipas possibly countermark coins of Pilate? The countermarks are frequently carefully placed on the obverse and not over the pagan symbols. Pontius Pilate was well known for his hatred of the Jewish people and his coins and actions were to only promote antagonism. The Jesus Movement may have interrupted Roman or Herodian plans for a war against Nabatea. These countermarks may have been placed to show solidarity between Rome and Herod. The solar eclipse with the Jesus Movement may have contributed to feelings of rebellion against Roman occupation and delayed the eventual war with Nabatea to 36 AD. Note www.timeanddate.com used to calculate Jewish date of November 24, 0029.
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This coin has a very well defined countermark in the same fashion. It was stamped after 29-30 AD on an older coin of Valerius Gratus from 24-25 AD. Valerius Gratus preceded Pontius Pilate as Roman Governor of Judea from 15-26 AD.
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