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Roman colonial coinages beyond the city-state: a view from the Samnite world

Marleen K. Termeer
  • Corresponding author
  • University of Leiden, Faculty of Archaeology, Einsteinweg 2, 2333 CC Leiden, The NetherlandsNetherlands
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Published Online: 2016-11-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jah-2016-0012

Abstract

This article reassesses the socio-political significance of coinage production by Latin colonies in the third century BC. It challenges the traditional assumption that these coinages confirm the colonies’ political status as autonomous city-states, and thus contributes to recent research on the character of early Roman colonization. It is argued that early Samnite experiments with coinage in the fifth and fourth centuries are important comparanda for the colonial coinages: both the early colonial coinages and the Samnite issues are produced in interaction with but on the fringes of a Greek world in which coinage production and use was well established. The comparison shows that the context of production of the colonial coinages of Cales, Suessa Aurunca, Aesernia and Beneventum is similar to previous and contemporary issues produced by Samnite groups active in Samnium and Campania. In both cases, production is most probably connected to mercenary or military activities. In this context, it is improbable that a strong conceptual connection between political autonomy and coinage production existed in Italy when the Latin colonies produced their coinages. Rather than seeing coinage as proof of their independent city-state status, it is suggested that coinage production helped to develop the colonies’ socio-political self-definition.

Keywords: Latin colonization; socio-political organization; Samnite coinages; Roman colonial coinages

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Published Online: 2016-11-30

Published in Print: 2016-12-01



Citation Information: Journal of Ancient History, ISSN (Online) 2324-8114, ISSN (Print) 2324-8106, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jah-2016-0012. Export Citation

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