Students Find 1,600 Year Old Gold Coin in the Galilee

by Avi Abelow

What an unbelievable find! Israeli School pupils on a hike found a 1,600 year-old rare gold coin alongside the ‘Sanhedrin Trail’ in Northern Israel’s Galilee region.

The coin was minted around 420 CE by the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II, whose edicts led to the end of the Jewish Sanhedrin and to the large-scale emigration of Jews to the Diaspora. The Great Sanhedrin originally sat on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

The Sanhedrin trail is a hike in the Galilee that brings hikers back in history to the Second Temple period more than 2,000 years ago, when the Great Sanhedrin — the supreme Jewish authority of sages – was active in this region. How ironic that a gold coin coined by the Byzantine Empire who ended the Sanhedrin rule was found in modern Israel on this exact trail.

“People such Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, the members of the Sanhedrin who were active here 2,000 years ago, determined to a great extent much of how our lives are run today. It is according to these religious laws that we marry or conduct funeral ceremonies, and even administer Jewish law,” said Yair Amitzur, the Israel Antiquities Authority’s antiquities inspector for the Eastern Galilee, and one of the initiators of the idea.

“The establishment of the trail and walking on it will connect those who live here today with the atmosphere and frame of mind of that period,” Amitzur continued. “In walking along the Galilee trails while using the application that will be developed specifically for this project, the trail will afford visitors a learning experience about the Mishnah and Talmud period and connect them to the world of the sages who shaped Judaism in the religious houses of learning.”

According to Israel Antiquties Authority numismatic expert Dr. Gabriela Bijovsky, “The gold coin is a solidus minted by the emperor Theodosius II in Constantinople (now Istanbul) around 420–423 CE. Similar coins are known from the Eastern Byzantine empire, but this is the first of its type discovered in Israel.”

In 426 C.E., when Gamaliel VI died without any sons, Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II decided to abolish the apparatus. This ended Jewish autonomy in Palestine, and it became a Christian country. Some of the remaining Jews emigrated to Babylon or other places. Many continued to live in Palestine. Emperor Theodosius II also put together a codex of laws that applied for Palestine as well as the rest of The Byzantine Empire that declared Judaism a superstition of Satan. It outlawed building new synagogues but it allowed the improving or reparing of old synagogues. It also said synagogues weren’t aloud to be higher than churches, that Jews couldn’t hold government positions, and called for the death of people that converted to Judaism so Jews didn’t want to accept converts so there wouldn’t be any danger. But Jews were aloud to practice their religion as they wanted. The Byzantines in general were very Anti-Semitic, and treated Jews like it wasn’t their homeland. They wouldn’t even let Jews enter Jerusalem without special permission. They were only aloud to pray there on Tisha B’Av.

In 614 C.E., The Persians invaded Palestine and with the help of The Jews defeated The Byzantines. For this, The Persians, allowed The Jews to live in Jerusalem. Unfourtunently, in 629 C.E., The Byzantines returned and defeated The Persians. They brought back with them their horrible ways, and restored Christianity in Jerusalem, and renewed the ban on Jews living there.

Dr. Risch

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