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The meaning of ‘Fisci Iudaici Calumnia Sublata’ on the coinage of Nerva

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Chapter Summary

Between the accession of Nerva in September 96 C.E. and the summer of 97 C.E. the mint in Rome issued a set of distinctive aes coins which advertised Fisci Iudaici Calumnia Sublata. The problem to be tackled in this chapter is the precise meaning of the Latin legend on the coins. In 1926 the numismatists Mattingly and Sydenham wrote: ‘At first sight the legend on Nerva’s coins suggests that the tax was abolished’. They decided not to adopt this interpretation because later documents showed that the tax was still being collected under later emperors. The possibility of a temporary abolition of the tax, followed by its reinstatement, does not seem to have come into their consideration. The chapter suggests that their first instinct was probably correct, although the precise meaning of each of the four words in the coin legend is by no means wholly clear.

Keywords: abolished; Fisci Iudaici Calumnia Sublata; Latin legend; Nerva’s coins; Rome; tax



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