What are the coin identifications by Francis Filas and Michael Marx?
In 1980 Francis Filas, S.J., a Jesuit priest at Loyola University in Chicago and numismatist (coin expert) Michael Marx believed that they found patterns of the letters UCAI on the right eye of the man’s image on the Shroud. They also detected a lituus design (augur’s staff) at what seemed to be the center of a round shape in this area. They determined that the round shape was a possible coin and that the lettering was part of TIBEROU CAICAPOC (Tiberius Caesar). By comparing this observation with a Pontius Pilate lepton they determined that they were looking at a partial image of coin issued in A.D. 30 or 31.
Though the lepta (plural of lepton) minted in Palestine were Roman produced coins, the inscription of Tiberius Caesar would have been written in Greek as TIBERIOU KAISAROS. Was the C, where a K was expected, a misspelling? This was a problem that seemed to preclude positive identification until an actual lituus lepton was found with the aberrant spelling. Several have since been found. This anomaly seems to give credence to the coins identification.
A few years later, Fr. Filas identified what he believed was another coin, a “Joulia” lepton, over the left eye.
In the late 1990s, Alan and Mary Whanger, at Duke University, used polarizing filters to facilitate matching. They examined Fr. Filas’ work and agreed with his identifications. For both eye images they identified more than seventy (what they called) points of congruence.
Also in the late 1990s, Mario Moroni used digital enhancement techniques to enhance the images over the eyes to indentify the Roman produced coins in question. Moroni’s confirmation lacks suitable photographic detail to be useful. Moreover the digital enhancement methods are not suitably documented so as to be reproducible.
- Are there coin images over closed eyes?
- What are the primary criticisms of the coin identifications?
- Filas and Marx (with follow up and confirmation by Whangers and Moroni)
- Jean-Philippe Fontanille
See: Shroud Coins Dating by Image Extraction, a paper by T. V. Oommen presented at Ohio State University in 2008.