20,000+ Roman Republican coins added to CRRO

CRRO LogoIn a watershed moment for Roman Republican numismatics, 20,237 coins with high-resolution IIIF images from the Bibliothèque nationale de France have been incorporated into the Nomisma.org SPARQL endpoint, and are therefore available in Coinage of the Roman Republic Online. This nearly doubles the coverage of Republican coinage–there had previously been about 26,000 coins available through CRRO from 18 museums or archaeological databases (like the Portable Antiquities Scheme).

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Whose head is on the coin?

The coin that appears in the famous incident when Jesus is challenged about paying taxes to the Roman authorities (Mark 12:13–17) has attracted considerable attention from both biblical scholars and numismatists.

CCCRH researcher, Dr Peter Lewis, has considered this episode over many years, and the latest version of his paper on “The Denarius in Mark 12:15” is now available on the CCCRH web site.

>>> Read the full essay online..

 

The Cathedral Coins: A History of Christianity in Coins

CCCRH is pleased to publish online, The Cathedral Coins: A History of Christianity in Coins, a richly illustrated guide to the Cathedral Coin Collection at St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane.

Hard copies of the booklet are available for purchase at the Cathedral Shop, but Dean Peter Catt has given CCCRH permission to make the material available online.

The coin collection of St John’s Anglican Cathedral in Ann Street, Brisbane features coins relevant to biblical studies and church history. A selection of the coins is displayed in a secure cabinet behind the choir stalls on the southern side of the Cathedral.

You can download the booklet-web from the CCCRH web site as a PDF.

OCRE launches new interface

After years of discussion and development work, a new interface for Online Coins of the Roman Empire that will aid in the identification of Roman imperial coins by non-specialists (archaeologists and collectors alike). The developers hope that this will be especially useful for badly worn coins discovered in archaeological excavation. Like the rest of OCRE and other ANS web projects, this interface is responsive to devices of various sizes, making it ideal for use on mobile phones and tablets in the field.

CCCRH Archive Grows

The collection of coin research papers available via the Centre for Coins, Culture and Religious History  web site has expanded considerably in the last few days.

Almost 50 articles written by CCCRH Researcher, Dr Peter E. Lewis, for publication in The Australasian Coin & Banknote Magazine have now been added to the CCCRH site.

Additional articles will be added in the future, as the editor of the magazine has agreed for CCCRH to publish all of Dr Lewis’ work on our site.

Because of the number of articles involved and their original publication in The Australasian Coin & Banknote Magazine, we have created a dedicated page for these research articles that range across a diverse array of topics.

We appreciate the support of The Australasian Coin & Banknote Magazine as we develop this new project, and we are glad to make Peter’s original research available to a wider audience in this way.

OGC | Online Greek Coinage

Online Greek Coinage (OGC) is an online is a reference database intended to provide a systematized account of all types of coinage produced within its purview, and rooted in the digital world of the 21st century.  It is intended to be readable by humans and machines.  It will provide a classical typology of coin types online, identified by a series of stable http-addressable URIs for every distinct issue of Greek coinage.  For these URIs will be provided basic descriptive information expressed in RDF. And for each issue, links will be provided to information about individual specimens of that issue.  The Typology will seek to guarantee inclusion of specimens from a series of core collections (in major public institutions) and core resources (such as Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum and the Inventory of Greek Coin Hoards).  Where possible and desirable it will also include information on specimens from non-core collections (including private collections), excavations and commerce.

OCRE | Online Coins of the Roman Empire

Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE), a joint project of the American Numismatic Society and the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University, is a revolutionary new tool designed to help in the identification, cataloging, and research of the rich and varied coinage of the Roman Empire. The project records every published type of Roman Imperial Coinage from Augustus in 31 BC, until the death of Zeno in AD 491. This is an easy to use digital corpus, with downloadable catalog entries, incorporating over 43,000 types of coins.

Romulus and Remus Coin

A coin which Ibrahim Abu Rakbeh (from St George’s Bazaar across from St George’s  College in Jerusalem) asked me to read for him in mid-2016 proved to be rather interesting.

Here is what the coin looks like:

romulus-remus coin romulus-remus coin

 The official description of the coin, which was issued by Constantine I in 330–333 CE to commemorate the founding of his new capital, Constantinople, reads as follows:

18 x 19 mm. 3.0gm. OBV: VRBS-ROMA [City of Rome] Roma, helmeted, wearing imperial cloak. REV: She-wolf with circle on shoulder standing left with twins (Romulus and Remus); above, two stars. In ex. SMTSE (Signata Moneta, Thessalonica, 5th factory) [RIC VII Thessalonica 187]

In case it is easier for you to view, here is an example of an identical coin from the same mint:

vrbs-roma-thessalonica-187

It is interesting to note that 5 years after the Council of Nicea, Constantine is still issuing a coin that celebrates the myth of Rome’s founding by one of the two boys that had been abandoned in the forest but survived when suckled by a she-wolf.

The myth exists in several versions, including this one from Plutarch ca. 75 CE:

There was an oracle of Tethys in Tuscany which Tarchetius consulted, and received an answer that a virgin should give herself to the apparition, and that a son should be born of her, highly renowned, eminent for valour, good fortune, and strength of body. Tarchetius told the prophecy to one of his own daughters, and commanded her to do this thing; which she avoiding as an indignity, sent her handmaid … the waiting-woman was delivered of two boys, whom Tarchetius gave into the hands of one Teratius, with command to destroy them; he, however, carried and laid them by the river side, where a wolf came and continued to suckle them, while birds of various sorts brought little morsels of food, which they put into their mouths; till a cowherd, spying them, was first strangely surprised, but, venturing to draw nearer, took the children up in his arms. Thus they were saved, and when they grew up, set upon Tarchetius and overcame him. [Plutarch, ca 75 CE]

More on the Romulus and Remus legend here.

This myth clearly had currency well into the beginning of the Byzantine period, and it may have been in Luke’s mind as he prepared his “orderly account” of the birth of Jesus for his high-placed Roman addressee, Theophilus.

As Luke tells the story, there are two boys who share similar miraculous signs: John and Jesus. In the biblical account they are cousins rather than siblings, but the Lukan infancy narrative may still have evoked the legend of the founding of Rome. When Luke addressed his elite Roman Christian audience represented by the ‘most excellent Theophilus’ (Luke 1:4), he was not so much seeking to describe the birth of Jesus as to celebrate the significance of the Christ Child.

One of these two boys—and Luke clearly indicates that it is Jesus, not John— is destined to establish the empire of God (basileia tou theou in Greek), to bring peace, and to be the Savior of the world. Again, this evokes the traditional imperial claims to be a son of God (F DIV on Roman coins), the Saviour (SERVATOS in Latin, soter in Greek) and the guarantor of peace (PAX). Luke is proclaiming the divinity of the Christ Child, as well as his destiny as the ruler of the empire of God. This is powerful ‘public theology’ that engages with and challenges the assumptions of privilege and power.

Note: This is a slightly edited version of a story was first published the St George’s College Jerusalem web site on 9 July 2016. I acknowledge the assistance of Dr. Peter Lewis in confirming my interpretation of this coin and also advising of the identity of the mint where it was issued.