Suggestions of literature to study?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Spargrodan, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. Spargrodan

    Spargrodan Well-Known Member

    I'm new here at this forum. I started to collect coins in my childhood but stopped about 15 years ago. As I'm from Sweden my knowledge and small collection mainly covers Swedish coins from 17th and 18th century but I have always been interested in greek and roman history so I decided it was time to start again.

    I have ordered following books to get a general idea of ancient coinage which I think will be a good start:

    Roman Republican Coinage 2 Volume Paperback Set, by Michael H Crawford
    Coinage in the Greek World, by Ian Carradice, M Jessop Price
    Eric II The Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins, by Rasiel Suarez

    I already have a couple of ideas of areas I would like to study and collect but want to narrow it down and specialize in only one when I have some more knowledge. I want to collect good graded coins for a decent price (10$-300$ a coin) plus I want it to be a big area to study and take place under a historic period I'm interested in, mostly interested in the time from 600 BC to around 200 AD.

    Punic wars I love the history around the Punic wars so it would be fun to collect greek and roman republic coins from that period. I consider greek coins the most beautiful ones so that's another BIG reason. (Afraid it will be a bit too expensive area to get into if I want to get decent graded coins)

    Flavian dynasty (Seems like you can get quite good graded coins for a fair price here. Lots of coins was minted under these three emperors so will be a great area to study and I also like the history of 1st century)

    Nerva–Antonine dynasty(Seems like you can get quite good graded coins for a fair price here as well. Lots of coins to study and interesting historical characters)

    I simply wonder if there are any good tips of more literature? Good reading online is most welcome as books are expensive so it will take some time to build up my library. Maybe suggestions of areas I haven't thought of to collect, all advices are most welcome.
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  3. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    @Spargrodan welcome to the ancients forum. I am also very interested in the 2nd Punic War, during which the origin of the denarius occurred. You chose well by obtaining Crawford as it prevails today as the standard work on the coinage of the Roman Republic. He goes into much detail in the Roman Punic war issues so you have the best resource available for that. I constantly reference it to the point that I've had to have my copy professionally repaired by a book binder.

    A very readable numismatic historical overview is done by Christopher Howgego in his book "Ancient History From Coins". Many of the must-have books on ancient coins are long on catalog entries and short on interesting reading. Howgego's book is a pleasant and informative easy chair read.
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  4. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Collecting coins of the Punic Wars may be somewhat challenging and expensive for you. Punic (Carthaginian ) coins are not inexpensive but can be found in decent condition if you are patient in pursuing them. Likewise, Roman coins of the First Punic War era are costly, declining in price by well into the Second Punic War and fairly inexpensive by the Third War. Some of the Greek kingdoms and city states were allied to one side or the other (Syracuse comes to mind) during these wars and they can sometimes be found in very nice condition and at a lower cost. The other two eras you are interested will present a wealth of material, good condition coins at moderate cost. If you are not familiar with it, the US, "Forum Ancient coins" ( will provide you with much reading material in those periods of history and their connections with the coinage of them. And of course writing here on this site will be a good platform to converse with like minded collectors. By the way, I live in that part of the US which was New Sweden in the early 17th Century. A number of communities in this area have Swedish names and in the early history of what are now the states of Delaware, southeastern Pennsylvania and southwestern New Jersey the Swedish people and heritage left a still present influence in this region of the States. I wish you good fortune in your quest for learning more about ancient history and ancient coins.
  5. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

  6. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Posology: read the “Ancient coins” section here on CoinTalk daily, where there are no stupid questions to ask. Do that for the next year and you’ll increase your knowledge in ancient numismatic of 200%. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. I’m sure of it ‘cause it worked for me.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
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  7. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I enjoy collecting Coinage of Carthage, and have a smattering spanning the 3 Punic Wars until their extinction. I lucked in to finding a SNG Cop North Africa plate book that helps me in my identifying. I got it from @Valentinian , as he has great coins and books on his site.

    I also enjoy focusing my collecting towards the Roman Republic. The Histories of Carthage and the Roman Republic is much more appealing to me. Rome had an incredible Empire, but the Roman Republic was the real crucible in which it was made.
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  8. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

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  9. Spargrodan

    Spargrodan Well-Known Member

    @Fugio1 Thanks for the welcome and the book and link tips! Yeah I think 2nd Punic War is my favorite as well. Didn't know that Crawford went deep into the wars so that will be really interesting to read when the book arrives.

    @kevin McGonigal Yeah you might be right with the expenses something that I'm considering when choosing an area but I'm interested in the late roman republic as well so that might be a better area to dig into. I've been at but I will have to spend some more time to read more. Cool that you're from "New Sweden" I guess there are lots of people named "son" my surname is Persson so son names are still the most common in Scandinavia.

    @Gavin Richardson Great link I haven't come across that thread on my own so thanks!

    @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Yeah I will for sure! Nice to find a place with like minded.

    @Alegandron Thanks for the tip. I can only agree with you, so much is happening during the republic period and so many interesting historical characters living in the same era.
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  10. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    I totally missed this post.
    Welcome to the forum @Spargrodan!

    The time of the Flavians and the period of the Adoptive emperors are indeed interesting periods. They are also my collection area I focus on Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, Trajan and Hadrian. My tip for you is quietly search for your collection area. Personally I found it hard to discover which coins I liked, I found them all interesting. After a while you get more and more by what you value more and what you value less.
    Regarding reading, are you only interested in books about the coins themselves or also in books about the time period of the coins?

    I wish you good luck collecting and study! And hopefully we will meet each other again on this great forum.
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  11. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Enrich the soldiers...ignore all others

    You've picked out some interesting areas for study and as you say, the coins of the adoptive emperors are pretty affordable in reasonable condition so I agree with you. Because of the long reigns of these emperors (except for Nerva) large quantities of coins were struck in their names. As Edward Gibbon says in the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:

    "If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world, during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus."
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  12. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Welcome on board Spargrodan:)

    ERIC II is the best book out there for Imperial Rome/ Byzantine Empires.
    Some of the other ones are sadly outdated and do not have colour plates.
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  13. Spargrodan

    Spargrodan Well-Known Member

    Thanks! I just ordered the Roman Imperial Coinage Vol. II - Part 1: Vespasian to Domitian, 2nd Edition by Carradice, I.A. and Buttrey, T. V. Your collection area is an interesting choice as I'm also thinking of collecting from Vespasian and end with Hadrian. But think I will start with the Flavians for now. Artistically I'm more drawn to the look of coins from roman republic - 200 AD but not so much the later roman period and byzantine so Vespasian - Hadrian fits well considering prices for coins in good condition. Greek is my favorite but also comes with a much higher price tag so guess this is a compromise that better fits my wallet.

    Regarding reading I'm interested in literature about both the coins and the time period. I like to put the coins into context with the history.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
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  14. Spargrodan

    Spargrodan Well-Known Member

    I've read different opinions about this book but as I already have ordered it I'll soon be able to see it for myself. I heard that there might come a new updated version soon ERIC III?
  15. Suarez

    Suarez Well-Known Member

    Wow, really? When??
  16. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    I think you did well to start with collecting Flavians. I chose Vespasian-Hadrian as a collection theme because the coins are very affordable and of a high artistic level. If I had a higher budget I might also collect Augustus, Nero and Galba.

    Regarding books, I can recommend a few things for the Vespasian-Hadrian period. Did you ever read these sources?
    • Suetonius: the life of the Caesars.
    • Tacitus: Histories, Agricola, Germania.
    • Cassius Dio: Roman History.
    • Pliny the Younger: Letters.
    Most of these sources are available on the internet for free in English. However, don't forget to look up some more info about these sources, because most authors are at least biased. Regarding studies about the period, the books: Pompeii, SPQR by Mary Beard and The Emperor Domitian by Brian Jones are interesting. Although the last book may not be the most convenient to start with.

    I don't have many books about the coins self. They are usually quite expensive. I prefer to spend my money to new coins. Much information about the coins themselves is also available on the internet.

    Of course there are many more books about Ancient history and Ancient coins. However, the books I mentioned are examples of books that you might find interesting.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
  17. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    I really loved Coinage in the Roman World by Andrew Burnett... smaller book that is packed full of fantastic information and a great start for any collector in my opinion. What makes it really great is the writing - so well done and enjoyable. Nothing dry about it at all.
    I actually ended up purchasing two copies as I gave one away to an uncle who liked looking at my coins during a visit - I hadn't even finished it.. but I HAD to!
    Out of print so you may have to search for it or wait for it... but you can find copies for around $20.
  18. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    This is a list of books I have on my bookshelves that are of immense help with my Flavian fanaticism. I hope it is of some use.

    Primary Sources

    Suetonius: The Flavian Emperors - Historical commentary and Translation by Brian Jones and Robert Milns
    Tacitus The Histories - Translated by Kenneth Wellesley
    Tacitus Agricola and Germany - Translated by A. R. Birley
    Tacitus Agricola - Commentary by R. M. Ogilvie and I. A. Richmond
    Pliny Natural History - Translated by H. Rackham (Loeb)
    Juvenal The Sixteen satires - Translated by Peter Green
    Martial Epigrams - Translated by D. R. Shackleton Bailey (Loeb)
    Josephus The Jewish War - Translated by H. St. J. Thackeray (Loeb)

    The Emperors

    The Year of the Four Emperors - Kenneth Wellesley
    Vespasian - Barbara Levick
    Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae - John Nicols
    The Emperor Titus - Brian Jones
    The Emperor Domitian - Brian Jones
    Domitian: Tragic Tyrant - Pat Southern
    From Tiberius to the Antonines - Albino Garzetti

    The Jewish War and Flavius Josephus

    A History of The Jewish War - Steve Mason
    The Jews Against Rome - Susan Sorek
    The Jewish Revolt Against Rome - Popovic (Ed.)
    Apocalypse: The Great Jewish Revolt Against Rome 66-73 - Neil Faulkner
    Jerusalem Under Siege - Jonathan J. Price
    The Roman Siege of Jerusalem - Rupert Furneaux
    Masada - Yigael Yadin
    Masada - Jodi Magness
    Rome and Jerusalem - Martin Goodman
    Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome - Edited by Edmondson, Mason, & Rives
    Josephus in Galilee and Rome - Shaye J. D. Cohen
    Josephus - Tessa Rajak
    Flavius Josephus Between Jerusalem and Rome - Per Bilde
    Josephus: The man and the Historian - H. St. J. Thackeray
    Jerusalem's Traitor - Desmond Seward
    Flavius Josephus - Mireille Hadas-Lebel
    A Jew Among Romans - Frederic Raphael


    Agricola and the Conquest of the North - W. S. Hanson
    Agricola and Roman Britain - A. R. Burn
    A Battle Lost: Romans and Caledonians at Mons Graupius - Gordon Maxwell
    The Roman Conquest of Scotland: The Battle of Mons Graupius AD 84 - James E. Fraser
    Mons Graupius AD 83 - Duncan Campbell
    Roman Scotland - David Breeze
    The Romans in Scotland - Gordon Maxwell
    Rome's First Frontier: The Flavian Occupation of Northern Scotland - D.J. Woolliscroft and B. Hoffmann

    Pompeii and Herculaneum

    The Natural History of Pompeii - Jashemski and Meyer
    Herculaneum - Andrew Wallace-Hadrill
    Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum - Andrew Wallace-Hadrill
    The Complete Pompeii - Joanne Berry
    Pompeii - L. Richardson, Jr.
    Pompeii - Zanker
    The Fires of Vesuvius - Mary Beard
    Vesuvius AD 79 - E. De Carolis and G. Patricelli
    Romans on the Bay of Naples - John H. D' Arms
    Ghosts of Vesuvius - Charles Pellegrino
    Herculaneum: Italy's Buried Treasure - Joseph Jay Deiss
    Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum - Paul Roberts
    Roman Pompeii: Space and Society - Ray Laurence
    The World of Pompeii - Edited by John J. Dobbins and Pedar W. Foss
    Pompeii: A Source book - Alison E. Cooley and M. G. L. Cooley
    Pompeii - Alison E. Cooley
    The Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny - D. Dunn

    The Colosseum

    The Colosseum - Ada Gabucci, Editor
    The Colosseum - K. Hopkins and M. Beard
    Arena: The Story of the Colosseum - John Pearson
    Colosseum - Peter Connolly

    The Coinage

    The Roman Imperial Coinage II Part 1 - Carradice and Buttrey
    Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum II - Mattingly
    Coinage and Finances in the Reign of Domitian - Ian Carradice
    Roman Silver Coins II - Seaby
    Roman Provincial Coinage II - Burnett, Amandry, Carradice
    The Metallurgy of Roman silver Coinage: From the Reform of Nero to the Reform of Trajan - Butcher and Ponting
    A Dictionary of Roman Coins - John Melville Jones

    General works

    Emperors and architecture: A Study of Flavian Rome - R. H. Darwall-smith
    Flavian Rome - A. J. Boyle and W. J. Dominik
    The Oxford Classical Dictionary - Hornblower and Spawforth
    The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World - Talbert
    A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome - L. Richardson
    Roman Passions - Ray Laurence
    Popular Culture in Ancient Rome - Jerry Toner
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  19. Spargrodan

    Spargrodan Well-Known Member

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  20. Dafydd

    Dafydd Supporter! Supporter

    Välkommen Spargrodan, as Ocatarinetabellatchitchix suggested, read this forum regularly and you will learn a lot. In another area I am interested in, I always advise new collectors to buy the book before the artefact. When I started collecting ancients I bought standard catalogues for the information, not values as they were outdated, and these are excellent, but do not really cover forgeries which are commonplace in ancient coin collecting. I started with a couple of horrendous mistakes but then carried out as much research on the coin and its potential authenticity as the history surrounding it. This is a very helpful forum and if in doubt- ask.
    I've learnt something today and added to my reading list.
  21. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Also the 2 volume set from Calico on Imperial Aurei:happy: excellent books.
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