Michaelmas 2021

(Week 3) Wednesday 27th October
'Finding the Past: EMC and Early Medieval Coin Finds' - Dr. Martin Allen (Fitzwilliam Museum / Wolfson College, University of Cambridge)
Abstract The Fitzwilliam Museum's online Corpus of Early Medieval Coin Finds (EMC) has been recording single finds of medieval coins for more than twenty years. It has become a major source of information for research in medieval history and archaeology. This talk explores the development of EMC, the use of its data, and some significant recent discoveries it has recorded.
(Week 4) Tuesday 2nd November
'Payment, Profit, or Prestige? The Political Economy of Achaemenid Royal Coin Production' - Dr. Peter van Alfen (American Numismatic Society)
(Week 6) Tuesday 16th November
'Alexandria and Rome: The Special Relationship?' - Prof. Chris Howgego (Heberden Coin Room / Wolfson College, University of Oxford)
Abstract It has been observed that the mint in Alexandria was more 'Roman' than other provincial mints in the Roman world. What exactly does that mean and why is it the case? The talk explores the various dimensions to this phenomenon in the Antonine period (AD 138-192), when the similarities with Rome were most evident.
(Week 7) Tuesday 23rd November
'Between Magnesia and Macedon: The Bronze Coinages of Eastern Mount Ossa (Thessaly)' - Dr. Anna Blomley (New College, University of Oxford)
Abstract This paper presents the results of a new regional study, which brings together the Late Classical and Hellenistic bronze coinages of five mints in the eastern foothills of Mount Ossa (Thessaly). Combining a traditional die-study with a close examination of the five mints’ topographic context, the paper not only works towards a better understanding of the introduction and development of Thessalian bronze coinages, but also helps to assess to what extent Late Classical and Hellenistic civic coins are genuinely local in design, production, and function. Methodologically, the paper furthermore explores the potential of a “topographically embedded” approach to ancient coinage, placing the study of Mount Ossa’s bronze coins at the intersection of numismatics and landscape archaeology.
(Week 8) Tuesday 30th November
Oxford University Numismatic Society Graduate and ECR Colloquium 2021: "Base Metal Coinage in Antiquity and Beyond" 
1pm – Introduction: Thomas Gavin (OUNS President)
1:15pm – Jenny Shearer: "The Specific and the Ambiguous: What Can We Say of Royal Ideology of Bronze Coin Types of the Earliest Seleucid Kings?"
Abstract This paper aims to explore the creation of a royal ideology of the earliest Seleucid kings (305 BC-281 BC) and its communication through bronze coin types. This exploration links the beginning of base metal coin production to authority, and specifically royal authority. Because the value of bronze coins is more dependent on authority than coins made of silver or gold, their production, and the political messages that we can elucidate from their legends and images provide us with important insights into the construction and reception of early Seleucid royal authority. In addition, bronzes were used for everyday interactions by the greatest number of people in comparison to other materials and therefore presented the most direct and accessible route between kings and inhabitants of the empire. This paper looks at political messages on these coins and considers the audience that potentially consumed them. Specifically, these questions will be explored in relation to two images, the bull, and the anchor. It is argued that the royal ideology initially constructed by Seleucus I was personal and specific, and that it is trackable in relation to the spread of Seleucid control over the territory by tracking the emergence of bronze coins and their minting patterns. As Seleucus’ personal ideology was transformed by Antiochus in the east during the coregency period, the messages became dynastic and imperial. Antiochus adopted the use of imagery previously deployed by his father and used the reverse legends to create a link between the two kings. Thus, this paper uses the creation and transformation of Seleucid dynastic ideology as a case-study to highlight the importance of bronze coinage for reconstructing royal ideology in the early Hellenistic period.
2:00pm – Louis Davern: "Tabriz, Sivas, and Trebizond – A Numismatic Analysis"
Abstract A so-called Byzantine successor state, the Empire of Trebizond’s economic relationship with its fellow "successor states", Epirus and Nicaea, was not as important as the relationship with its neighbours, first Seljuk Sivas and later Mongol Tabriz. This paper proposes that, over the 13th century, Trapezuntine trade was gradually redirected from Sivas to Tabriz, and this was a consequence of Mongol domination. After the defeat of the Seljuks in 1243, much of Anatolia, including Trebizond, became vassals of the Mongols. Gradually the Sivas-Trebizond trade route was replaced by Tabriz, which became the new hub of East/West trade. To determine this, I have created a numismatic dataset from three existing sources, the Dumbarton Oaks collection, the Ashmolean Heberden Coin Room, and Birmingham University’s Barber Institute. By comparing coinage of similar size, metal, and weight between neighbouring states, it should be possible to determine the extent of an economic relationship between the two. If the size and weight are similar, then trade between the two was likely significant, because the similar coinage allowed for a stable exchange rate. Average weight was used as a preferred metric but only when comparing coins of similar metal and denomination. From this dataset, it is possible to conclude that the Trebizond-Tabriz trade route became increasingly important to Trebizond over the course of the 13th century. The northward trade shift away from the major Mediterranean ports to Anatolia replaced the previous Trebizond-Sivas trade route as the most economically important for the Trapezuntine state. This shift has been noted in the numismatic evidence as, initially, the Seljuk Dirham and Trapezuntine Aspron Trachy appear to be pegged against one another in the early and middle-13th century. However, by the late-13th and early-14th, these currencies disconnected, and the Seljuk Dirham was replaced by the Ilkhanate Dirham from Tabriz.
3:15pm – Adrián Gordón-Zan: "Numismatic Approach to the Power of Cornelia Salonina (253-268). A Quantitative Study of an Empress’ Coinage of the Middle of the Third Century A.D."
Abstract Iulia Cornelia Salonina was a Roman empress, wife of the emperor Gallienus, between the years 253 and 268. Called Augusta since the first year of reign of her husband, she has been eluded by historiography and her political influence has only been studied as a part of Gallienus’ government. Due to the scarce references of her at literary sources, we are intended to outline her political influence and imperial power conception through an epigraphic and numismatic analysis. First, we will examine how Salonina was depicted in the epigraphy to determine how she was presented to the population. After that, and thanks to a quantitative analysis of coin hoards and the minting types reflected on The Roman Imperial Coinage, we will get closer to her imperial representation through coinage. Specifically, we will study the association between Salonina and the divinities, ideals or other members of the imperial house. This double methodology could provide us a clearer vision of Salonina and a better understanding of Gallienus' reign and the middle of the third century. Therefore, we will see that she was a relatively important empress that held strong titles, as other previous empresses, with a huge representation on epigraphs and, specially, on coinage.
4pm – Response: Prof. Andrew Meadows (New College, Oxford)