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Coin for the Holidays: The Tribute Penny (Parts I and II)

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Part 1: Was the Tiberius Denarius the "Tribute Penny"?


So what is the tribute penny? This is the famous coin described in this passage from the Bible:


Matthew 22:15-22

15. Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. 16. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying,

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Edited by guy

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Part II : The Other Coin: Could This Be the "Tribute Penny"?


This is the coin that many think is the "Tribute Penny," instead:


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(Read inscription counterclockwise)


Augustus. (27 BC-14 AD). Silver denarius


Obverse: CAESAR AVGVSTVS DIVI F PATER PATRIAE, head laureate right

Reverse: AVGVSTI F COS DESIG PRINC IVVENT, C L CAESARES Lucius and Gaius Caesars, togate, standing holding honorary shields and spears, lituus and ladle above.


This coin was struck to celebrate Gaius and Lucius Caesars, the sons of Marcus Agrippa, as heirs to the imperial throne. Gaius became Princeps Iuventutis in 5 BC and Lucius in 2 BC. (Princeps Iuventutis, "Prince of Youth", was an honorific title awarded to a presumptive Emperor-designate.) They died in 4 AD and 2 AD respectively, thus promoting Tiberius (Octavius's stepson through his wife Livia) to heir apparent.


From the Res Gestae Divi Augusti

Edited by guy

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Interesting article, Guy. Thanks.

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