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The Metallurgy of Roman Silver Coinage
From the Reform of Nero to the Reform of Trajan


  • Date Published: May 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108816380

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About the Authors
  • The fineness of Roman imperial and provincial coinage has been regarded as an indicator of the broader fiscal health of the Roman Empire, with the apparent gradual decline of the silver content being treated as evidence for worsening deficits and the contraction of the supply of natural resources from which the coins were made. This book explores the composition of Roman silver coinage of the first century AD, re-examining traditional interpretations in the light of an entirely new programme of analyses of the coins, which illustrates the inadequacy of many earlier analytical projects. It provides new evidence for the supply of materials and refining and minting technology. It can even pinpoint likely episodes of recycling old coins and, when combined with the study of hoards, hints at possible strategies of stockpiling of metal. The creation of reserves bears directly on the question of the adequacy of revenues and fiscal health.

    • Proposes a new view of the Roman monetary economy, moving away from 'primitivist' approaches to Roman coinage
    • Presents the first reliable set of analyses of the silver content of Roman coinage, the first reliable set of data on metal sources and production technology, and a new set of metrological data
    • Provides a history of analyses and a survey of different techniques, thereby enabling readers to understand why appropriate sampling methods are fundamental to obtaining useful results
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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108816380
    • length: 841 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 170 x 50 mm
    • weight: 1.5kg
    • contains: 227 b/w illus. 24 colour illus. 118 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. General Introduction:
    1. Roman silver coinage and monetary history
    2. Roman silver coins and monetary stability
    3. A science on the margins of numismatics: the history of metrological and metallurgical studies
    4. Metrology and hoard analysis
    5. The issues of 'fineness', of instrumental analysis and of data quality
    6. Metallography and the production of denarius blanks
    7. The material sampled
    Part II. The Denarius:
    8. The Julio-Claudian background
    9. The reforms of Nero, AD 64–68
    10. The Civil Wars, AD 68–69: Rome
    11. The Western denarii of the Civil Wars
    12. From Vespasian to the reform of Domitian, AD 69–82
    13. The reforms of Domitian
    14. From Nerva to the reform of Trajan, AD 96–99
    15. The denarius: summary and conclusions
    Part III. Provincial Silver Coinages:
    16. Cistophori of Asia
    17. Other provincial silver of Asia Minor
    18. Caesarea in Cappadocia
    19. Syria
    20. Egypt
    21. Provincial silver coinages: summary and conclusions
    22. Summary of conclusions.

  • Authors

    Kevin Butcher, University of Warwick
    Kevin Butcher is Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick. He is a Fellow of the Royal Numismatic Society and the Society of Antiquaries of London and has written extensively on Roman coinage and monetary systems.

    Matthew Ponting, University of Liverpool
    Matthew Ponting is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology at the University of Liverpool where he lectures on artefact studies, numismatics and the scientific examination of archaeological artefacts. He has published extensively and is a Fellow of the Royal Numismatic Society and the Society of Antiquaries of London.

    With contributions by

    Jane Evans

    Vanessa Pashley

    Christopher Somerfield

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