This ancient bronze coin is set in an 18 karat gold pendant.
The Judean palm tree and fertile vine leaf that adorn this ancient coin evoke the peaceful abundance that the leaders of the second revolt so fervently longed for. The representation of ideals is often expressed most poignantly through art and this coin is a sensitive example of heartfelt ideals expressed through a tangible medium. Although their dream of freedom and independence had to be deferred for centuries, it was never forgotten. This coin with its frame of gold stands as an elegant symbol of timeless ideals and ongoing faith.
Sixty-two years after the destruction of the Second Temple, the second major war against the Romans broke out-- the Bar Kokhba revolt. Carefully and secretly prepared, this war was prompted by Hadrian's wish to instill Greco-Roman culture with still greater force, by prohibiting circumcision and erecting a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus on the Temple Mount. The spiritual leader of the revolt was Rabbi Akiva, while the military and civil leader was Simeon Bar Koseva (Shimon Bar Kokhba). This war was much more fierce than the first Jewish revolt, and the Romans were initially bard pressed. The Twenty-second Legion was defeated and completely wiped out and Hadrian, in his report to the Senate at the end of the war, omitted the customary mention of his own health and of the army's well being.
The exact extent of the territory controlled by Bar Kokhba is not quite clear, but he certainly held the Hebron district, part of Idumea and the Dead Sea region (where the last of his fighters took shelter in desert caves). It is not known for certain if he indeed took Jerusalem, if only for a short time. The last major stand was at Bethar, and the war came to an end following Bar Kokhba's death there.
From his coins, and from the documents found in the Judean desert, it is known that Bar Kokhba styled himself "Nasi (Prince) of Israel". The coins of this revolt constitute the last ancient Jewish coinage and it is quite remarkable that in that hour of bitter struggle and dire peril, the Jews took pains to mint the most pleasing series of coins ever issued in that country. Bar Kokhba had learned from the Romans how to utilize coinage as a means of mass propaganda; hence the nationalistic motifs and slogans that appear on the coins.