About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Taxation Coin

This is denarius - a coin of Roman taxation.
This particular one was struck around the year 150 CE, in the relatively calm period of the rule of  emperor Antoninus Pius, about the time when the last parts of the New Testament were written.
Roman coins were certainly more than just monetary instruments. Coins also played an important ideological function. Even this standard and little boring denarius can help us understand.
This small coin is loaded with political imagery and imperial propaganda. And as small as these Roman coins might be, they were ubiquitous important financial instruments. And besides their main monetary value they functioned like political billboards or TV advertisements perhaps even like a social media “sponsored” or “pushed” posts. These coins, just like those social media posts, were also common and not appreciated for what they were actually “pushing”. This Sunday we will hear again the famous Jesus pronouncement “Give to the emperor the emperor’s and to God what belongs to God” – a beautiful, clever and powerful rejection of the economic exploitation and imperial ideology in the name of Creator’s sovereignty and grace.
And for those who read this far, here is a description of this particular denarius.
On the obverse of the coin is the head of the emperor with a laurel - a symbol reserved for gods, victors and emperors. Around it is the emperor’s name Antoninus and his titles Augustus (worthy of veneration) and Pius (dutiful in affection) and Pater Patriae (Father of the Fatherland).
On the reverse of the coin is a standing figure of Pax (goddess of Peace - mind you, it was the Roman peace, which was achieved by conquest and subjugation) and around her are further Antoninus’ titles - Tribunicia Potestas (with the powers of the Tribune - originally a defender of the Roman poor - but in reality bestowing great unchecked powers) and Consul IIII (Consul for the fourth term).

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