Bridgeman Images & Dr. Mark A. Staal Collection

PAGAN SYMBOLS stamped on Pontius Pilate’s coinage included the curved wand (Latin lituus) and ladle (simpulum; pictured here)—both ritual instruments associated with the Roman imperial cult. The Greek inscription on the obverse side of the coin pictured here reads “of Tiberius Caesar,” and “(the regnal year) 16.” Minted in Jerusalem, these small bronze coins bear witness to Pilate’s dedication to promoting Roman religion in Judea—an effort no governor of Judea after him repeated.