N. K. Rutter
The first coinages of Italy were issued in the sixth century by a group of cities on the coast of the Ionian Sea: Metapontum, Sybaris, and Croton, with Caulonia. All four cities adopted the same weight standard, the “Achaean,” with the stater, or standard coin, weighing initially a little over 8 g and subdivided into thirds and sixths. The coins were struck with an obverse and a reverse die, but their appearance was unprecedented and not emulated elsewhere: on thin, broad flans, the obverse design appeared normally in relief, while on the reverse a similar version of the same design was struck in negative. Over time, the diameter of the flans gradually declined, while their weight was maintained by a corresponding increase in thickness. This was the last attempt at a convergence in coining in Italy before the Romans imposed their own form of convergence over Italy.
Already under the Ptolemies, the coinage of Egypt circulated in a closed currency system: foreign money had to be exchanged for the local currency at the borders, and Egyptian currency remained in Egypt. This closed system continued intact under Roman rule until the end of the third century. The coins were “Alexandrian coins” after the city Alexandria, where they were minted. Two metals were used for coins in circulation in Egypt: billon, a silver alloy, was used for tetradrachms; and bronze for smaller denominations. Oversight of the coinage probably fell either to the idios logos, the highest financial official of Egypt, or to the dioiketes, head of the treasury in Alexandria. Since these provincial coins, with their great variety of types, are official documents of Roman rule, they are considered as excellent sources for study of the monetary, political, religious, artistic and cultural history of Greco-Roman Egypt.
The numismatic history of Sicily reflects the vicissitudes of its political history in truly unique fashion. Cities were conquered and destroyed, populations displaced and resettled, tyrannies raised and toppled. Many of these political shifts have left traces in the history of Sicilian coinage. The native Sicilian conception of coinage led to a groundbreaking innovation: the creation of small denominations in bronze, whose value was based not on their material worth but solely on a fixed exchange rate in silver coins—in other words, on the confidence of the citizens that they could exchange their bronze coins for silver the next day. The numismatic history of Sicily developed organically and gradually in the fifth century, years that saw the production of the coins for which Sicily enjoys a fine reputation among art lovers. Names such as Kimon, Euainetos, Phrygillos, and Eukleidas appear in this lexicon of artists.
With the enactment of Anastasius's monetary reforms of
This article analyzes one notable aspect of Late Antiquity: the upsurge in letter-writing among social elites and, particularly, in the publication of their letters in edited collections. It argues that the act of collecting and circulating letters is problematic for two reasons. On the one hand, the great letter-collections offer petrified but skewed evidence of the vast, intersecting mesh of one-to-one correspondences that facilitated public life, social strategies, and cultural and religious developments throughout the later Roman Empire and its successor states. On the other hand, the reuse of these communiqu's is a different act, sometimes obscured for us by the convenience of letter-collections as reservoirs of evidence.
This article outlines the transformation of Rome from a republic to an empire. It looks at the attempts to diagnose the problems of the Roman Republic and examines the understandings of the crisis of the late republic that were developed under the principate. Finally, it studies the early principate and argues that the histories of power and politics joined to create new forms of subjectivity and new expressions of political engagement.
James J. O'dqnnell
The achievement of modernity in classical textual studies is the creation of the printed and seemingly reliable critical edition of the ancient text, the convenient book-in-hand that appears to relegate reference to the textual history and material substrate of literature to merely secondary importance. The new media that influence our modes of understanding of the ancient world are: media of transportation which bring together scholars and readers into physical communities, and that bring the books and articles produced in those communities to readers and scholars around the globe, with greater ease and diversity than ever known before; media of creation, storage, and dissemination of text; media of communication; and media of widespread representation of text, image, and other media. That we live in a moment in which the new media pose challenges to our ways of scholarship and to the future of Roman Studies cannot be denied.
Francisco Pina Polo
This article discusses public speaking in Roman society, and introduces the term contio, which is the rough equivalent of a modern town hall meeting. It was also the only institutionalized venue where an orator could directly address the public as his main audience. It states that the contiones were central elements of Roman political life, where one could acquire popularity and contact either the senators or the people. This article shows that the contio was a source of communal information, as well as the principal place of official public debate.
This article discusses rhetorical education, which gave its students the means to negotiate social relations. It is evidenced that it was used to both renew and subtly resist inequalities of power and wealth. It shows that rhetorical education or training offered little systematic knowledge and habits of innovative thinking. In fact, the language of word and gesture that it created seemed to be consistent and predictable. The article also discusses eloquence, declamations, and the importance of imagination in sustaining social relations.
The Hasmonean rule over Palestine started with the expulsion of the Seleucids and ended in the first decades of the Roman rule. From then on, the minting of Jewish coins continued without interruption for almost two centuries under the rule of the Hasmonean kings. Hasmonean coins are distinguished by their long and interesting inscriptions in the Paleo-Hebrew script, as well as in Aramaic and in Greek. They also form the largest group of Jewish coins depicting motifs connected mainly with fertility. Other coins depict the designs of an anchor, a star and diadem, a palm branch, and a helmet. Most of these motifs were borrowed from the repertoire of Seleucid coin designs but appear here in a Jewish fashion. However, the most prominent symbol of Hasmonean coins is undoubtedly the double cornucopiae with a pomegranate between them and an inscription within a wreath on the reverse of the coin.
Katherine M. D. Dunbabin and William J. Slater
This article describes the dining customs and practices of the Romans. It begins with a discussion of the history of Roman dining practices and looks at the architecture and placement of the dining room. Social dining, the presence of women in social banquets, the preparation rituals, and the dining apparatus used are also studied. It shows that social dining can involve entertainers and other forms of frivolities, and public banquets were held by a benefactor for a large group of people. The article also takes a look at the ideals and ethics involved in the convivium. Other types of social dining events are described.
J. E. Lendon
This article looks at the concept of Roman honor, which consisted mainly of what the Roman imagined his community thought of him. The first section studies Roman honor as similar to Mediterranean honor and introduces the Roman law of iniuria. This is followed by a discussion of the distinctive qualities of Roman honor, such as lack of violence and Roman honor as a constructive force.
This article concentrates on the role of technology in improving the operational capabilities of the Roman state. It reviews the organizational and weapon system developments that enabled Roman armies to engage their enemies with confidence in the field, alongside the evolution of fortification schemes that enabled economies of force, which were essential to imperial security. Roman weapons and equipment include the spear, sword, missiles, artillery, shields, helmets, and body armor. Although the Roman army was often on the attack and made use of complex siege technology, it was also highly skilled in the preparation of defensive fortifications. The Romans diligently applied themselves to the arts of war. Their successful mastery of battlefield techniques and their adoption, where appropriate, of equipment and technologies first introduced by their opponents allowed Roman armies to sustain the state over several hundreds of years of challenge and change.
Garrett G. Fagan
This article studies the various social relations that occurred in the Roman baths. It shows that Roman bathing was a very social activity that even the supposed private baths that were attached to the houses and villas of the Roman elite were common gathering places of the hosts and their guests. It then describes the Roman baths and the rituals that were involved. It views the baths as a place for social intercourse, and looks at the events that occurred inside the Roman baths. The article also discusses the role of public bathhouses in Roman society.
In the 1980s, the edict was known as “Diocletian's Currency Revaluation”; by the dawn of the new millennium it was known as the “Aphrodisias Currency Inscription.” The highest-denomination coin mentioned is an argenteus of 100 common denarii. The argenteus that was introduced had a high silver content, and its weight of 96 to the (Roman) pound was marked on the reverses of some issues. Such a silver coin had not been manufactured at Rome since the time of Nero. It was only briefly matched in the third century by the accession issues of the usurper Carausius. The currency inscription refers to the coinage in maiore orbis parte—used by most of the world. This was a relatively new situation in the Roman Empire. The expected pattern of succession established by the Tetrarchy broke down quite suddenly on 25 July 306 outside the legionary fortress and temporary palace at York.