Israel: Discovery of an 1850-year-old coin depicting a Roman goddess

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Israel: Discovery of an 1850-year-old coin depicting a Roman goddess

A photo of the 1850 year old Roman coin discovered off the coast of Haifa

An 1850 year old bronze coin, depicting the “extremely well-preserved” Roman moon goddess Luna has been discovered in the sea in Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said.

The coin with the portrait of the goddess Luna above the zodiac sign of Cancer on one side, and the head of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius on the other, was found during research at off the coastal city of Haifa.

This is the first time such a piece has been discovered off the Israeli coast, Jacob Sharvit, the director of the IAA's Department of Marine Archeology in a statement.

It was in a small hoard with other pieces, he told AFP on Tuesday, adding that the circumstances of the discovery indicated there had been a shipwreck nearby.

These pieces have been extremely well preserved. Some are really very rare and their discovery completes parts of the historical puzzle of the country's past, he said.

The Roman goddess coin was minted under Antoninus the Pious (138-161 AD) in Alexandria, Egypt, according to the IAA.

It bears the inscription year eight, corresponding to the eighth year of the Emperor's reign, marking the height of the Pax Romana, a period of relative tranquility in the Roman Empire.

Unlike his predecessors, Antoninus Pius was not a soldier and never took part in battles, again according to the IAA. He built temples, theaters, magnificent mausoleums and promoted science and philosophy.

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