Roman Zodiac Coin Discovered

A nearly 2,000-year-old Roman coin, etched with a symbol of the zodiac, was fished from the waters around Haifa in northern Israel, reports the Agence France-Presse.


Archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority made the discovery while conducting an underwater archaeological survey. The bronze coin was minted in Alexandria, Egypt, during the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius, and it was found in “an exceptional state of preservation,” according to a statement from the Israeli prime minister’s office.


Roman coin depicting Luna, the goddess of the moon, and the zodiac sign for Cancer.
The coin depicts Luna, the goddess of the moon, and the zodiac sign for Cancer. Credit: Dafna Gazit | Israel Antiquities Authority

One side of the coin features an image of Luna, the Roman goddess of the moon, and an image of the zodiac sign for Cancer; the other side depicts Antoninus Pius. The coin also bears the inscription 'Year Eight,' indicating that it was produced during the eighth year of Pius’ rule, which spanned from 138 to 161 C.E.


This ancient relic belonged to a series of 13 coins, portraying the 12 signs of the zodiac and the complete zodiac wheel.


Astrology, which originated in Mesopotamia circa the third millennium B.C.E., was deeply entrenched in Roman culture. Though sometimes viewed with suspicion and hostility by emperors, who understood that astrological predictions could be used to subvert their authority, astrology was a popular practice among all classes of Roman society.


“Astrology was only one of a wider number of divinatory practices in the empire,” writes Matthew Bunson in the Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire. “But for capturing the public interest and imagination, all paled alongside astrology.”

Source

 

$17 Billion in Treasure Found: The Colombian navy has found an a shipwreck from the 18th century packed with gold coins, emeralds, ancient swords and Chinese ceramics.