Hilary 2021

(Week 2) Tuesday 26th January
'Numismatic Perspectives on the Western Indian Ocean in Late Antiquity' - Dr. Rebecca Darley (Birkbeck College, University of London)
Abstract This paper explores a period of radical transformation in the economic and political structures of the Western Indian Ocean from a numismatic perspective. The period c. 200-800 CE saw a collapse in long-distance trade routes in the Western Indian Ocean at its start and perhaps their most significant revival at its end, as a result of the rise of a new Islamic state in West Asia. From c. 800 onwards, commercial activity in the Indian Ocean expanded with little interruption for centuries, generating what has been described as the first phase and zone of ‘proto-globalisation’. This paper is not about that claim or those centuries, but instead about the six centuries beforehand which are often glossed over in scholarship as a hiatus or even a backward step. In contrast to this interpretation, I argue that Late Antiquity in the Western Indian Ocean was neither a catastrophe nor a void. Economic activity instead was shaped by the interplay of new economic realities and political ideologies that fostered a focus on local over long-distance trade in most regions - disconnection was, to a large extent, a matter of choice. These choices also served to spread particular elements of political and economic life, including coinage, to areas which had previously operated differently. This homogenising of a particular politico-economic culture was critical in enabling the medieval growth of trade that followed. In this paper I will briefly examine my comparative methodology, which is developed directly from numismatic approaches to evidence, then explore two aspects of numismatics in the Late Antique Western Indian Ocean: the production of local coinages and the varied uses of foreign coins by new audiences.
(Week 4) Tuesday 9th February
'A Money-Making Scheme? The Dynamics of Coin Production in the Early Middle Ages' - Dr. Rory Naismith (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge)
Abstract This talk concerns an issue that is simple to define but difficult to explain in practice: why new coins were made. Was production a result of fiscal cycles that removed most of the population from direct interaction with minting of coin? Or did minting result from direct demand placed on moneyers by customers, and if so when and why? What was the effect of commercial needs, or of state-mandated demands that only particular coins were acceptable? And above all, cui bono: who benefited and lost out as a result of different regimes of coin production? I will focus primarily on western Europe between the sixth and eleventh centuries, but also draw parallels with the Byzantine and Islamic worlds.
(Week 5) Tuesday 16th February
'Fontes Inedites Numismaticae Antiquae (FINA): A Website with Already 4,000 Letters Written before 1800 and Dealing with Greek and Roman Coinages' - Prof. François de Callataÿ (Royal Library of Belgium / École Pratique des Hautes Études)
Abstract (FINA): A Website with Already 4,000 Letters Written before 1800 and Dealing with Greek and Roman Coinages
(Week 8) Tuesday 9th March
Annual General Meeting
Oxford University Numismatic Society Graduate Circus:
'The Distribution of Imperial Messages on Roman Coinage of the Second Century A.D.' - Matthew Ball (Lincoln College)
'The Application of the Social Network Analysis in Numismatic Material: The Social Systems of South-Western Asia Minor in the Roman Period' - Sabina Fiolna (Exeter College)
'Portraiture, Power, Pragmatism: The Political and Economic Considerations of Ptolemaic Coin Iconography' - Thomas Bull (St. Cross College)