Around 6 years back I attended two talks bearing on the Frome hoard by Moorhead et al, one in Yorkshire targeting numismatists, another in London targeting archaeologists, and over time I wrote critically twice about what I heard and read. There were two issues in my mind. One was: How are archaeologists getting it wrong? The second was: Why are archaeologists getting it wrong? For starters I will consider the how part.
I have a rather cursory knowledge of Roman matters, and of course welcome criticism of what I wrote.
Frome Hoard (2013)
Earlier I made some critical comments concerning the suggestion that the celebrated Frome hoard of later third century Roman coins, discovered in 2010, had been buried as a sacrifice to a nature god, with no intention of recovery.
The press release I read at the time cited an archaeological source for the suggestion. But the suggestion has since appeared in an eponymous BM booklet, authored by BM...
During my school days I read Felix Dahn´s awesome classic 1876 historical novel "Struggle for Rome" and it was not until a couple of weeks ago that I discovered the 1968 movie featuring Orson Welles as Justinian.
I have never been to Ravenna, but here is my little recreation (in 1:75 scale) of the Mausoleum that Theoderic the Great, founder and ruler (493-526 AD) of the Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy, created for himself during his lifetime.
The building is not only of unique architectural design, but also the most important surviving structure from the migration period.
The decagonal monument (not easy to recreate in Lego) was built in the opus quadratum technique that had been abandoned by the Romans four centuries ago, with stones brought to Ravenna from Istria in Dalmatia by ship including the round roof which consists of a single monolith weighting 230 tons (how did they put it up there?)....
Today, September 9th, it's the birthday of the Emperor Aurelian. Lucius Domitius Aurelianus is probably born from modest origin in Sirmium (Serbia) around 214 AD. He had a successful military career before he became Emperor. When Gallienus was assassinated, Claudius II became Augustus and Aurelian his Commander of the Cavalry. However, his reign was very brief; in January 270 AD, he fell victim to the Plague of Cyprian and died shortly after that. Quintillus aspired to the throne, but Aurelian gained support of the army and was raised to the throne over Quintillus, who later committed suicide. Aurelian inherited a sinking Empire with enormous political and economic difficulties. Here are the challenges he faced :
- Anarchy reigns in the capital, Rome, and the city is very poorly protected.
- The empire is threatened in the North by Barbarians' tribes, in the East Palmyra is revolting, Gaul in under Postumus power and Tetricus was proclaimed in the...
Herein I hope to post various types of homemade "verdigris" solutions. I begin with a post from a chemist; in 2016 on CoinTalk® (!?) Greg Clark posted this formula, for a Verdigris-like compound:
"Verdigris is the name for that green stuff that gets on improperly stored copper coins.
There are several 'over the counter' remedies you can buy but the best thing is to understand the chemistry of verdigris and how to use chemistry to fix it.
You do NOT need any chemistry knowledge to make the solution and combat this nasty chemical reaction.
Before getting into the weeds on this subject let me qualify my diagnosis and the solution to this problem.
I am a chemist and understand the chemical processes that takes place over time which produces verdigris. I also understand the process to correct it's destructive properties.
I must tell you that this process can take up to several weeks to complete. That should not come as a surprise since it probably took many years for the...
September 2nd 465 AD. Constantinople
The night is already very late. The old lady wanders erratically through piles of what she calls her memories. Has she abused the good wine that was served at the evening meal? Maybe. But one thing is certain, when she stumbles over one of her countless unnecessary items and drops her precious candles straight into a pile of dusty blankets, her old house is immediately lit like it never has been before. Almost instantaneously the neighboring house takes part in this great conflagration and one after the other the streets of the beautiful city light up with a macabre glow ...
Over the next six days, the fire destroyed the buildings in eight of the 14 sections into which the Eastern Roman Imperial capital had been divided. Superstitious people believed that a malignant demon had assumed the shape of the old woman. The Acropolis was damaged, the temple of Apollo burned, the Senate house of the forum of Constantine destroyed and many...
(This post is continued from https://www.cointalk.com/threads/george-iiis-numismatic-menagerie-part-i.366092/)
Back in the 18th century, mental health was not viewed with the sympathetic eyes it is today. Possibly suffering from bipolar disorder (his sentences might consist of 400 words and eight verbs), George III was labelled mad and derided. But looking at the coinage at the time, and the government’s attempts (or lack of them) to solve the currency crisis, he was not alone.
In 1797, the government finally decided to solve the coinage problem that had plagued Britain for so long. Well, not so much decided to, as were forced to. War with the French depleted reserves and fear of a Napoleonic invasion led to a run on the Bank of England. Cash was withdrawn and hoarded. The government suspended the gold standard and the convertibility of bank notes to metal, and one and two pound notes issued by the Bank of England and private banks replaced higher-value coins.
Georgian London was an exciting place to be. The enlightenment was in full swing. There was a coffee shop on every street full of political ferment. The King was insane. True, there was no revolution like in Paris or America, but if you walked down the Strand one afternoon in the late 1700s you’d hear the roar of lions. You were passing Gilbert Pidcock's Exeter Exchange, home to a menagerie of exotic animals. You knew it wasn’t the Talbot Inn, also in the Strand, because they kept only camels.
In many such places Londoners could find (and even pet) tigers, rhinos, monkeys, parrots, elephants, hyenas, kangaroos, porcupines – strange creatures few had heard of, let alone seen, but which Britain’s empire had brought to the streets of London. The zoo was yet to make an appearance, so entrepreneurs made large sums exhibiting such animals to the fascination of everyone. You could even hire a cassowary for the evening. That might sound eccentric, but a century before the rich had...
Since India has been on near total lock-down since about March, it's been a pretty slow year for Indo-Sassanian coins for me. By complete chance, I managed to find this listed on ebay - one of thw white whales of the series, and especially interesting as one of only a small handful of these coins that bears the name of the issuing king.
Paramara India, circa Malwa region
Mid-12th century (Possibly 1142-1144)
Obv: Degenerate Gadhaiya type head without face, conch shape spirals counterclockwise away from head (Distinctive Nose), remnant of ribbons before, all within sea of pellets
Rev: (Sri) Jai Ta Va / (Ma) De Va in early Nagari, pellets surrounding
Finn 1.6.7 (tentatively), Maheshwari 946-955
R3 (approx. 20-30 known)
(Image credit Pankaj Tandon, CoinIndia)
Unfortunately, unlike the other Gadhaiya with rulers' names, this one has not been pinpointed to a particular ruler with 100% accuracy, due to the number...
Jules Reiver was a WW II war hero who passed away in 2004. He had an amazing coin collection, focusing mainly on die varieties and die states of all U.S. silver and copper coinage from 1793 through 1839. Much of his collection was sold at the Heritage auctions in Jan 2006.
From what I understand from some of my reading, Reiver was a pretty cool guy, who would chat about coins and impart his knowledge to pretty much anyone, whether he knew them or not. If you have any stories about personal encounters with him, I'd love to read them!
I picked up 2 of these coins (later, from ebay, not during the Heritage auction), just because I wanted to have a piece of that collection, not particularly because I collected copper. Actually, I didn't care much about copper (sorry). I mostly collected silver (I like shiny things!) But, after seeing these chocolate beauties on ebay and in hand, I kinda changed my mind about BN copper, and found a new appreciation!
Here are the two Reiver coins I...
These AE2 maiorinae are the last large Imperial denomination before the reform of Anastasius in the late 490s. Unlike the coinage of Cherson or the pre-Visigothic maiorinae from Septimania and Barcino, which are by definition local in scope and purpose, these Imperial maiorinae were legal tender throughout the Empire to sometime past the mid 390s or even to 400, pushed to be hoarded by the less worthy money issued after the death of Theodosius I and the problems that would pile up by 400. They are also extremely common (GLORIA ROMANORVM Emperor standing facing with standard and globe, Esty Type 41), being minted from six mints for three to four years for all three emperors: Theodosius and his heirs Arcadius and Honorius.
The purpose of this post is to show three coins of great quality, one for each member of the Theodosian dynasty, spectacular each in its own right. I have picked Nicomedia products,...
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