CLA-HLS 548

Ancient and Medieval Numismatics

Spring semester 2013

Thursdays, 1:30-4:20

West Seminar Room, RBSC, Firestone Library

astahl@princeton.edu

 

The seminar will cover the basic methodology of numismatics and will survey the Western coinage tradition, from its origins through the end of the Middle Ages.  Students will research and report on problems involving coinages related to their own areas of specialization. Most of the seminar meetings will be divided into three parts: student presentations, methodological discussion, and a review of a particular historical coinage.

Each participant will select a coin from the University’s collection and use it as the basis for weekly reports related to the methodological issues under discussion. The coins will be selected in consultation with the instructor to relate to the student’s academic specialization and to present interesting problems of attribution, production or circulation. At about the middle of the semester, each student will develop a research project, perhaps based on the coinage he or she has been reporting on, and will discuss methodological strategies with the class. The final three sessions will be devoted to oral presentations of results of the research, and students taking the seminar for credit will be required to turn in a written research paper.

The methodological topics that will be discussed will include mint study, die study, hoard analysis, archaeological inference from coin finds, and scientific and statistical techniques of numismatic analysis. Specific examples of the use of each methodology will be selected to illustrate the interests of the participants and will be analyzed from a historical as well as numismatic perspective.

The history of ancient and medieval coinage will be surveyed in PowerPoint presentations by the instructor on the origin of coinage in the Greco-Persian world; the development of archaic, classical and Hellenistic Greek coinages; Roman republican, imperial and provincial issues; Byzantine coinage; Islamic coinage; and the coinage of medieval and renaissance Europe. Examples from the University collection will be brought to each session to illustrate the coinage under consideration.

Syllabus

Week 1, February 7:

               Introductions

   Bibliography

 

Week 2: February 14

               Student presentations: coin description

   Mint and die study

   Origins of coinage, classical Greek coinage

 

Week 3: February 21

               Student presentations: mint study and history of scholarship

   Hoard study

   Hellenistic Greek coinage

 

Week 4: February 28

               Student presentations: hoard report

   Archaeology and numismatics

   Roman Republican coinage

 

Week 5: March 7

               Student presentations: site find

   Metrology

   Roman Imperial and Provincial Coinage

 

Week 6: March 14

               Student presentations: documentary analysis

   Scientific analysis

   Later Roman coinage and early medieval coinage

 

Week 7: March 28

               Student presentations: paper proposals

   Economics and numismatics

   Later medieval and renaissance coinage

 

Week 8: April 4

               Statistical applications

   Byzantine coinage

 

Week 9: April 11

               Case study: the mint of Venice

   Islamic Coinage

 

Week 10: April 18

               Student presentations

    Medals

 

Week 11: April 25

               Student presentations

 

Week 12: May 2

               Student presentations

 

Alan M. Stahl

Firestone Library, RBSC

(609) 258-9127

astahl@princeton.edu