Coinage in Roman Imperial Policy, 31 B.C.-A.D. 68

Coinage in Roman Imperial Policy, 31 B.C.-A.D. 68

Coinage in Roman Imperial Policy, 31 B.C.-A.D. 68

Coinage in Roman Imperial Policy, 31 B.C.-A.D. 68

Excerpt

For rather more than a quarter of a century the imperial coinage of Rome has claimed an increasing importance as a branch of historical evidence. It was in 1923 that the first volume of Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum appeared, written by Mr. Harold Mattingly; and the same author, in collaboration with the late E. A. Sydenham, published in the same year the first volume of The Roman Imperial Coinage, which, in relation to the heavier armour of the British Museum volume, successfully played the part of a vigorous light-armed skirmisher. Since then the list of studies has grown imposingly by the efforts of scholars in many countries; and the content of the imperial coinage is now sufficiently well recognized to render dangerous the neglect of the abundant evidence which it has yielded and continues, with startling fertility, to yield.

The principal difference between present-day studies and those which appeared before 1923 is that, before that time, the physical anatomy of Roman imperial coinage was only very imperfectly understood. The coinage was regarded in general as a rich repository from which, with patience, confirmation could be found of literary, artistic, epigraphical or archaeological evidence elsewhere, and not as a likely source of positive evidence on its own account. Thus the identity of the imperial mints had received little attention; the implications of coindistribution were neglected; a false relationship between the so-called 'imperial' and 'senatorial' coinages was uncritically assumed; and the physical nexus between coins struck from shared dies, and the consequences of such nexus, had escaped inquiry. For too long the Roman imperial coinage had been taken for granted, remaining immune to the methods of classification, analysis and . . .

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