Reproduction Prutah of Pontius Pilate - Simpulum
Obverse: Greek letters IOYL[IA KAICAP]OC (Julia, the Emperor's mother), three bound heads of barley, the outer two heads drooping.
Reverse: Greek letters TIBEPIOY KA[ICAPOC] (Tiberius Emperor) and date LIS (year 16 = AD 29/30) surrounding simpulum (libation ladle).
History: The bronze prutah issued by Pontius Pilate between 26 - 36 AD are of especial interest to Christians and Jews because of his connection with Jesus Christ and his involvement in Jewish history. His coinage reveals that Pontius Pilate as Prefect was determined to promote a form of the Roman religion in Judaea. The coinage depicts Roman symbolism connected with the imperial cult such as the simpulum on this coin. However, it has been argued that if Pilate was deliberately trying to offend the Jews he would have put the head of the Emperor on the obverse of his coinage. Instead, he depicted three ears of barley.
The simpulum was a ladle used to make libations during sacrifices and was a common symbol of the Roman priesthood. These symbols were guaranteed to offend Jewish religious sensibilities being placed on coinage that they would have to handle on a daily basis.
Date: Jerusalem mint, Lis meaning year 16, 29-30 AD