Ursula Kampmann published an article in the March 19, 2015 CoinsWeekly reviewing a new book on coinage of the Sasanids. -Editor
Larissa Baratova, Nikolaus Schindel, Edvard Rtveladze, Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum
Usbekistan. Sasanidische Münzen und ihre Imitationen aus Bukhara, Termes und Chaganian. Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften,
Vienna, 2012. 199 p., comprising 47 plates, 21.5 x 30.3 cm, images in black and white, hardcover. ISBN: 978-3-7001-6945-1. 69 euros.
The view of numismatics has broadened over the course of the last decades. Of particular high interest to researchers are the fringe
areas on which only little research has been done. Thus, it is time for new Sylloge volumes. The Numismatic Commission of the Austrian
Academy of Sciences published the first volume of the Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum (SNS) in 2003. After the collections of the Bibliothèque
nationale de France, the State Museums of Berlin and the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, this volume focuses on material which researchers
find difficult to access. It comes from Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan, the country located between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan with the cities of Samarkand und Tashkent, is more reminiscent of
Arabian Nights than of numismatics. However, on the threshold of ancient and medieval times, this country issued a coinage with a range
much bigger than that of the Old World, which was stricken with the migration of the peoples back then.
The Sasanids had their silver drachmae produced in neighboring Merv. They became the model for the local coinage of tribes and clans in
Central Asia. Sogdiana and the Hephtalites in Tocharistan are particularly important in this respect. These coins are a major source for
reconstructing the history of Central Asia. They have not – or not sufficiently – been published so far. The latest Sylloge volume, written
in collaboration with the Institute for Archaeology of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences, makes this material accessible at last.
The 647 coins, displayed on 47 plates, are preceded by a detailed commentary. It begins with the history of research done on this
subject so far and an overview of the collections that have been accessed for this study. That is followed-up by a thorough discussion of
the material. This discussion is very important. After all, contrary to Greek or Roman coins, no reliable order of the material has yet
been established, and likewise not every attribution is beyond any doubt. Published in this volume is the current state of research which
is further progressing. The authors want the series and interpretations put forward to be understood as a preliminary result and a
contribution to the ongoing academic discussion.
As such, this volume is quite useful. It conveys information on a numismatic area to which most catalog authors concede victory. It
provides insights into one of the most exciting stages of the history of mankind which we have only recently begun to reconstruct - with
numismatics playing a decisive role. The contributors, Michael Alram and Rika Gyselen, deserve a lot of credit for dealing so thoroughly
with this subject that is often dismissed as a fringe area.
An order for the Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum volume on Uzbekistan, as for any other SNS volume, can be placed at the homepage of the
Austrian Academy of Science Press.
For more information, or to order, see:
To read the complete article, see:
Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum – Uzbekistan
Wayne Homren, Editor
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