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Lot 4142

Nerva, AD 96-98 AD. AE Sestertius (25g) minted at Rome, AD 97. IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P COS III P P. Laureate head right of Nerva. Reverse: FISCI IVDAICI CALVMNIA SVBLATA. Palm tree dividing S C. Sear 3044; RIC 82; Giard 97. Glossy chocolate brown patina. Choice Very Fine.

During the course of his short reign, the lawyer-emperor Nerva undertook measures to correct the abuses in the collection of the Fiscus Iudaicus (Jewish Tax). The half-shekel Temple Tax had been obligatory under Jewish law for free adult Jewish males as long as the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was standing. When the Jewish Temple was destroyed in AD 70 after the quelling of the "First Revolt," the Tax continued to be levied on the Jews, but it was paid, instead, to the temple of Capitoline Jupiter. This Tax became known as the Fiscus Iudaicus. When a fire in AD 80 destroyed the temple of Capitoline Jupiter, Domitian's administrators of the Fiscus Iudaicus sought out both practicing Jews as well as those who had renounced Judaism (or practiced it secretly to evade the tax) in order to garner more funds. The Calumnia, or harshness, with which the administrators ascertained who was Jewish is described by Suetonius ("Life of Domitian"), who recalls how he himself was present when the procurator with a large group of assessors examined an old man of ninety to see whether the man had been circumcised. Within the first year of his reign, Nerva put an end to this Calumnia, i.e., the insulting way the administrators ascertained who Jewish. The effect of "The Insult of the Jewish Tax Removed" was that, thenceforward, only openly pacticing Jews were liable to pay the Jewish Tax, and no one had to undergo a public investigation as to wheher or not he were circumcised. The inscription surrounding the palm tree proclaims "The Insult of the Jewish Tax Removed." However, the tax itself was left on the statute books and appears to have remained in effect until its abolition by the emperor Julian (AD 36-363).
Estimated Value $5,000 - 6,000.
The Hunter Collection; Ex August Voirol Collection (Münzen und Medaillen 38, 6-7 December 1968, lot 407).

Realized $6,900

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