Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The New Testament Book of Revelation starts with an image of the exalted Jesus holding several stars in his hand.

I read in a commentary that there were coins at that time which showed Roman emperors holding several stars in their hand. According to the commentary, the stars signified the global reach of the Roman empire. If that was the case, the image in the Book of Revelation would have been a highly political statement.

Unfortunatly, I didn't find any images of such coins. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Stars_on_coins shows some coins where the Roman emperor is on one side, and a star on the other, but no coin like described above.

Did such coins or other similar images exist?

share|improve this question
    
What imagery is printed in a particular bible edition (if any!) depends entirely on the people putting it together. All the modern bibles I've seen are completely devoid of any illustrations except the occasional "study bible" containing maps or childrens' editions containing cartoon depictions of events for those too young to fully understand the written word otherwise. –  jwenting Mar 27 '13 at 14:34
    
@jwenting Sorry, my question wasn't clear enough. I meant that Jesus is described as holding several stars in his hand. Revelation 1,16 reads: In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. –  tbleher Mar 27 '13 at 14:49
    
which is a very interesting quote, as the sword as tongue symbolism may well be interpreted as him being a liar... Sounds very much like a serious error in translation from the original. –  jwenting Mar 27 '13 at 14:51
    
I think the sword symbolism should rather be interpreted in light of Hebrews 4,12, which states: For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. –  tbleher Apr 9 '13 at 19:55
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

John's Revelation is generally accepted to have been written sometime during the reign of Domitian (although some still argue for Nero, and many argue it was about Nero).

A quick check of still extant coins from Domitian and Nero's era shows no coins with figures holding stars. I typically see stuff like wreaths, palm branches, lightning, or various kinds of weaponry.

I'm not saying no such Roman coin existed, but it certianly does not seem to be a common theme in Roman coinage of the era.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.