Happy New Old Life!

Happy New Old Life!

  Christmas is time for deep reflection on the past and happy thoughts for the future. At least for me! I always use the free time to understand better what I achieved so far, and what I would like to target in the future. For some disturbing reason, this year I decided to return to the past! As a historian, it would seem to be the obvious choice for many. And yet, it is not the obvious choice for me. For the past year I was dealing almost exclusively with innovative companies. In a sense, ... »

Misurata Hoard

I am bloging from cloudy Rome, where I participated in the Conference on the infamous MIsurata Hoard. The hoard comes from the wider area of Misurata in Libya and consists of around 107.000 low denomination coins. The last coin in the hoard is dated in 333 AD. During the conference we came to the conlcusion that this is a unique, one of its kind hoard. And yet, it can be compared with other finds from northern Africa, Italy, even the Balkans. Most of the papers focused on the circulation of coin... »

Learn numismatics in Athens

“THE BRITISH SCHOOL AT ATHENS POSTGRADUATE TRAINING COURSE IN GREEK NUMISMATICS A. G. Leventis Foundation Student Bursaries The BSA is pleased to announce a number of A. G. Leventis bursaries (of up to full fees) to allow students to attend the two-week postgraduate course in Greek Numismatics 20th May – 3rd June 2012. The deadline for course applications is January 31st. Coins are an essential source of primary evidence for all students of the ancient world – historians, archaeologi... »

Online Library of Old Manuscripts

I had the chance to cruise through a new and most useful website. It is a virtual exhibition on Ancient World, available at the Exhibition Virtual Space of the Library of the University of Seville.  The exhibition consists of nine thematic “rooms”, showing 179 printed and manuscripts books, from 15th to 19th centuries. Beside the records, there are links to the digitalized books and commentaries. The themes include archaeology, epigraphy, numismatics, philosophy, literature and other... »

The Syrian closed currency system in the Roman empire

“Most researchers believe that Egypt was the only closed currency system in the Roman world, e.g. a system in which the fluctuation of currency is restricted due to strict governmental control. In actual fact, there is another well developed closed currency system in the east, the provinces of wider Syria. The local silver coinage, the tetradrachm, was used exclusively in the markets of the Syrian cities. Their complete absence from excavations in neighbouring Asia Minor and Cyprus is prom... »

Teaching Ancient Coins: A Ray of Hope

Following my latest post on the problems of teaching numismatics, I thought I should offer also some hope. The first solution that springs to mind is to “Teach the Teachers”. Most ancient Historians and Classicists refrain from using coins in the classroom for paedagogical purposes. There are several reasons for this: 1) They have never been formally taught numismatists; therefore they do not know the potential of such a study, 2) They do not understand the theory of monetary economics, 3) They ... »

Teaching Ancient Coins: Identifying the Problems

Back in the old days, in order to master the discipline, the students had to have a strong background in a) Classical Archaeology, specifically Greco-roman sculpture and architecture, b) Basic knowledge of statistical analysis, c) Theory of Economic History and d) Political Theory. As far as I know, none of our British students have such a background. This is not a typically British characteristic. In fact, our colleagues in Frankfurt, where the subject is taught regularly, informed me that thes... »

No more Abbreviations, please!

Have you ever been able to take a glimpse of a numismatic catalogue? It is the apotheosis of Abbreviations in ancient history. Each line has so many abbreviations that you need a second book to decipher them. I find it very difficult to understand the symbolism behind every small cluster of letters and I suppose that the non-experts are getting increasingly more frustrated. So why are they so popular? According to my fellow numismatists, it saves space on the page. Less pages mean less bulky boo... »