Ancient numismatics

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students with detailed knowledge of the history of ancient coins, mainly with reference to the Greek and Roman world.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge: Students will acquire a methodological background useful for approaching contextual numismatic studies; they will be aware of theoretical and practical information that will allow them to offer a correct technical analysis and critical evaluation of ancient coins and ancient coinages
Skills: Students will learn to manage the numismatic object as historical source, related to the reconstruction of the past, the archaeological contexts (the chronological sequences, the dating of archaeological layers, etc.) and the ancient economic process; they will also gain experience in cataloguing coins (according to the ministerial sheets) and expertise in reading the coin-object found during archaeological survey and excavations; they will also learn the Italian and European laws about the management of the coins as an archaeological item.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Lessons will take place mostly on web and in sync in Microsoft Teams platform 'Numismatica Antica LM 2020/2021' (access code: bpekvsx). There will be some meetings in person, with simultaneous streaming: the precise timetable will be published on Microsoft Teams class by the teacher. Students will find all the information to access the lessons (link etc.), any changes to the program or to the reference material (bibliography etc.) on the Ariel platform and on the Microsoft Teams class. If it will be not possible to take the exam according to the methods provided in the Syllabus, the exam will take place in a specific Microsoft Teams class.
Course syllabus
The course includes the presentation and discussion of the following topics:

A (20 h): Greek and Roman coinages: an Introduction
B (20 h): Constellations
C (20 h): Imitations and Hybridizations in Egypt and Near Eastern Mediterranean between the V and the IV century BC

The first part of the course (A) provides basic vocabulary and fundaments of Numismatics, in connection within archaeology, ancient history and socio-economic sciences.
The second section (B), as a part of an experimental and innovative teaching method, will be held in conjunction with the course of Classical Mythology held by Pr. Silvia Romani and the course of Latin Literature MA held by Pr. Chiara Torre: the theme 'constellations' will be addressed according to distinct approaches and heterogeneous readings - from the world of Latin literature to that of religion and rite, to that of figurative representation and numismatics - in order to highlight and analyse the complexity of the ancient treatment of the subject.
The third part (C) will examine the archaeological problems offered by Imitations and Hybridizations of Athenian owls in Egypt and in Ancient Near East between the V and the IV century BC with reference to specific archaeological case-studies.
The student is expected to attend 40 hours (A+B) to obtain 6 ECTS and 60 hours (A+B+C) to earn 9 ECTS. It is not possible to obtain only 3 credits.
Attendance to the course, though optional, is strongly recommended.
Prerequisites for admission
Detailed knowledge of Greek and Roman History.
Teaching methods
Lectures of Ancient Numismatics for Master students are offered, during the first part (20 h), according to the traditional method of (virtual) frontal teaching.
In the second part (20 h), the course of Numismatics will be held in conjunction with the course of Classical Mythology (Pr. Silvia Romani) and Latin Literature MA (Pr. Chiara Torre) in order to enrich the educational offer through an innovative teaching method. The figurative representation on ancient coins will be analysed referring to texts and myths.
During the third part (20 h), within the (virtual) frontal teaching, students will present short reports analysing specific case-studies.
Lectures will be given by professors also from other universities in order to offer different approaches to the world of ancient coinages. Papers, lessons and lectures held by the chairs of Classical Mythology and Latin Literature, as well as by students, will offer a comprehensive training in numismatics. With this approach, students will achieve methodological and archaeological skills in contextual numismatics, as well as a theoretical and practical expertise to analyse the coins.
Lessons will be held (in sync) in the virtual classroom 'Numismatica Antica LM 2020/2021' available at: Microsoft Teams (access code: bpekvsx). Materials and documents of the course will be posted in the same virtual class.
Possible changes in relation to the current epidemiological situation will be promptly communicated on the Teams platform and on the Ariel platform.
Teaching Resources
Students who intend to take the 6 ECTS exam (40 h) must study the lecture notes, the materials discussed during the course and uploaded in Microsoft Teams class 'Numismatica Antica LM 2020/2021' (address code: bpekvsx), texts 1 and 2; students who intend to take the 9 ECTS exam (60 h), must study the lecture notes, all the materials discussed during the course and texts 1, 2, 3.

1) W.E. Metcalf (ed. by), The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Coinage, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2011 [chapters 2-10]
2) A. Savio, Monete Romane, Jouvence, Roma 2002 [or other editions]
3) P.G. van Alfen, Mechanisms for the imitation of Athenian coinage: Dekeleia and mercenaries reconsidered, in "Revue Belge de Numismatique" 157, pp. 55-93 [available at: or in the academia page of the author:]

International students or Erasmus incoming students are invited to contact the teacher during the course. The examination procedures for students with disabilities and/or with learning disabilities must be agreed with the teacher, in agreement with the competent office.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Ancient Numismatics encompasses an oral exam that will focus on the topics dealt with during the course and/or texts provided in the bibliography. During the interview, students must prove that they have learned the fundamentals of the discipline and demonstrate that they have reached a detailed knowledge of ancient monetary dynamics. Students must also contextualise ancient coinages within their socio-economic and historical framework. During the examination students must also recognise and describe an ancient coin: this will be done using the materials presented during the course or on the basis of the photographic materials included in the texts recommended for preparation. Assessment will be based on the following criteria: ability to present the acquired knowledge in a critical and not passive view; capacity for critical reasoning on the study carried out; quality of exposure and competence in the use of technical vocabulary.
The evaluation of the oral interview is expressed in 30/30.
Unita' didattica A
L-ANT/04 - NUMISMATICS - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
L-ANT/04 - NUMISMATICS - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
L-ANT/04 - NUMISMATICS - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours