Roman city dig, session 10, 2012: Late empire Roman coins, by Andrew Walsh
LATE EMPIRE ROMAN Andrew Walsh Session 10 November 2012 COINS
THE ROMAN EMPIRE Rough Dates for the Roman Empire Early Empire: 1st-3rd centuries AD Late Empire: 3rd-5th centuries AD 3rd century AD – ¨Crisis of the Third Century¨ Economic problems Invasions Civil war Plague All leading to major instability, politically, economically, and financially. All the wealthy people began moving out of the cities.
IMPORTANT EMPERORS Diocletion (285AD-305AD) Split the Roman Empire in two sections – East and West – to aid the crisis of the 3rd century. He revised the currencies based on old denominations of the denarii to help unify the country. Aureus Argenteus Follis Constantine the Great (306AD-337AD) Officially legalized Christianity
IDENTIFYING A COINImage courtesy of http://tjbuggey.ancients.info/coinread.html
MINTING OF COINS They first used two-sided molds to mint coins. Open-air styles eventually were used, with a blank disc of whichever material desired was inserted into the correct area. Hoards of Roman coins have been found all over the areas of their vast empire, in addition to dyes in great condition that illustrate the issues of the copying of coins during their circulation. Minting areas were located across their entire empire
COINAGE 1st century BC: circular design became standard 3rd century AD: detailed stylization of the emperor portraits 4th century AD: idealized Greek form, often indestinguishable c o i n s d i s c o v e re d i n t h i s s e s s i o n b y C h r i s t i n a a n d J o e Common obverse: current or past emperors, usually celebrating a victory or similar accomplishment Common reverse: deities, mythical scenes, ships
DEBASING & ¨CLIPPING¨ CURRENCY Coinage became extremely inconsistent when inflation hit the Roman Empire hard during the 3rd century. There was a shortage of money from many reasons, including paying military costs. Citizens all over the empire started to hoard coinage, and cut some corners by stretching their financial wealth. This was done by clipping coins, which is several different variations of obtaining precious materials from the coins to either smelt.
¨Clipping¨ the coin meant literally cutting the coin in pieces to either extract materials, or to pass the coin of as equal tender. Often coins were shaved down along the outer rim.Lisa found this clipp ed coin!
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS With the constant financial issues surrounding the wars and invasions occurring across the empire, coins from previous years were reused, restruck, and reissued. Constantine the Great attempted to alleviate the problems in 310AD by lowering the gold content of the solidus, which lasted until the 11th century. Coin depicting Constantine II that Jeff found! Diocletian in 301AD announced the ¨ Price Edict¨ (Edictum de Pretis) which limited the price on goods. Considered a good idea at the time, it unfortunately didn not work because many of the goods left the city instead of adjusting their prices.
FEL TEMP REPARATION Fel(ix) Temp(orum) Reparation translates to ¨Happy Restoration of the Times¨ and was used as a slogan for the commemoration of the founding of Rome. This phrase appears on many coins of the Late Empire period in Roman history, especially of the 4th century.
THE TIMES ARE CHANGINGMany emperors of the Late Empire period attempted to issue new currency at variouseights, combinations, denominations, etc. But all to no avail. Diocletian is one of the fewwho was semi-successful on several levels. When Christianity was legalized in the 4th century, Pagan gods were replaced on the reverse by older, more traditional symbols like victory The issues with debasing of coins became a major problem by the 4th century. Silver was not used in minting anymore, and was replaced by much less valuable material.
BIBLIOGRAPHY A d k i n s , L e s l e y, a n d R o y A d k i n s . H a n d b o o k t o L i f e i n A n c i e n t R o m e . N e w Yo r k : O x f o r d U P, 1 9 9 8 . 307-12. Print. Ancient Coins for Education. "ACE: Anatomy of a Roman Coin." Ancient Coins for Education. Ancient Coins for Education, 2 0 1 2 . We b . 1 9 N o v. 2 0 1 2 . <http://ancientcoinsforeducation.org/content/view/61/30 />. Cristina. "The Roman Empire." ECOMUSEO DE CAP DE C AVA L L E R I A , M e n o r c a , I l l e s B a l e a r s . S p a i n . 1 4 N o v. 2012. Lecture. G r o s s m a n n , R i c h a r d A . R o m a n C o i n s . C o m p . Wi l l i a m E . M e t c a l f . Ya l e U n i v e r s i t y A r t G a l l e r y . Ya l e U n i v e r s i t y, 2 0 1 0 . We b . 1 6 N o v. 2 0 1 2 . < h t t p : / / a r t g a l l e r y. ya l e . e d u / p d f / p e r s p e c t / r o m a n _ c o i n s . p d f > . L o c k ye a r, K . ( 2 0 0 8 ) A s p e c t s o f R o m a n R e p u b l i c a n c o i n s f o u n d i n Late Iron Age Dacia. I n : S p i n e i , V. a n d M u n t e a n u , L . , ( e d s . ) Miscellanea numismatica Antiquitatis. In h o n o r e m s e p t a g e n a r i i m a g i s t r i Vi r g i l i i M i h a i l e s c u - B î r l i b a o b l a t a . (pp. 147- 176). Editura Academiei Române: Bucharest, Romania S u t h e r l a n d , C . H . V. " A L a t e R o m a n C o i n - H o a r d f r o m Kiddington, Oxon." Oxoniensia 1 (1936): 70-81. O x o n i e n s i a . o rg . We b . 1 7 N o v. 2 0 1 2 . <http://oxoniensia.org/volumes/1936/sutherland.pdf>.