In the October 29, 2015 issue of CoinsWeekly, Ursula Kampmann published a review of the newest volume in the Roman Provincial
Coinage series. Here's an excerpt. Be sure to read the complete version online. -Editor
What the RIC is for Imperial coins, the RPC is for coins from the Roman Provincial cities and corporations. Do I have to go on writing?
Perhaps I should because many collectors may not be aware of the fact that the Roman monetary system was not that straightforward as one might be
inclined to believe when making the first steps as a collector. It is true, the denarius was circulating everywhere in the Roman Empire, but there
was any number of local currency in use as well, featuring a wide range of subjects which makes every present-day numismatist rejoice.
However, there is one problem: keeping track of all those coins was a hard thing to do – indeed ‘was’, for under the rule of Nerva,
Trajan and Hadrian, this situation was already a matter of the past. Now, every coinage minted in the Roman provinces during that period of
time is documented in Volume III of the RPC.
Responsible for this weighty catalog are two doyens of numismatics: Michel Amandry, former head of the Cabinet des Médailles of the
Bibliothèque nationale in Paris, and Andrew Burnett, former Deputy Director of the British Museum. A greater reputation on such a limited
space is hard to imagine. It does not need special mentioning that the work and the research results of countless colleagues – above all,
Jerome Mairat – also had a considerable influence on this magisterial volume. This makes the catalog weighty in more than one regard. Its
content will become the pivotal element of future study. Given that the two parts span 1,368 pages and 356 plates, even the most solid
bookshelve will be stretched to its limits when it has to support all released RPC volumes.
The weight corresponds to the material that has been accessed: 50,000 coins, divided into nearly 6,500 catalog entries – these numbers
alone make everybody who has tried to prepare a catalog once, freeze with respect. When considering the diligence with which the coinage of
every single city is presented, one starts brooding over the effort put in this RPC.
Let us single out only one example – not arbitrarily for the reviewer still harbors a special fondness for Pergamon… Well then,
Pergamon. No, you won’t find Pergamon under the heading Mysia as you are accustomed to in the auction sale catalogs. The RPC reflects Roman
conditions. The cities of the Province of Asia, therefore, are dealt with in one chapter, divided according to the different conventus
(=court district). In terms of administration, Pergamon worked closely with cities which, in accord with good old Head – and our modern
auction sale catalogs –, were located on the island of Lesbos and Chios, and in areas which we know as Lydia and Aeolis. And this makes
perfect sense, as becomes evident by a look at the location of the court district on the map. The fact that this cataloguing, following
ancient reality, can reveal a whole new range of connections becomes clear for everybody to see!
All those who find this rather complicated benefit from an index where every city is listed separately. Speaking of indices: spanning a
good 100 pages, they almost make a book of their own! Everything you desire of an index is provided: cities, rulers, inscriptions, names
and titles, types, countermarks; anyone who has ever written an index knows very well how much effort it takes. And anyone who uses books
not just for decoration knows how essential a comprehensive index actually is.
To read the complete article, see:
Long awaited, finally released: the new RPC
Here's some more information from the publisher's web site (Spink). -Editor
Roman Provincial Coinage III; Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian (AD 96-138) 2 volumes, Hardback in slipcase, 1368 pages, 356 black &
white plates and 5 black & white maps.
This volume presents for the first time an authoritative and systematic account of the coins minted in the Roman provinces during the
period from the accession of Nerva in AD 96 to the death of Hadrian in AD 138 and includes the three reigns of Nerva (AD 96-98), Trajan (AD
98-117) and Hadrian (AD 117-138).
The book gives a complete picture of the material, thereby not only meeting the needs of numismatists but also providing an essential
reference for historians, archaeologists and other students of the Roman empire. The introductory essays are followed by indexes and an
illustration of every major issue listed.
The book catalogues over 50,000 coins classified into 7,000 main varieties from the world's principle collections, including the
British Museum and Bibliotheque nationale de France. These were minted at 300 cities located throughout the eastern part of the Roman
Empire, from Appollonia in Albania to Trapezus in Turkey and from Tomi in Romania to Alexandria in Egypt. The catalogue includes the
extensive coinages made by the cities of the Roman province of Asia and the complex coinage from Alexandria in Egypt.
For more information, or to order, see:
Roman Provincial Coinage III; Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian (AD 96-138)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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