This volume is a sourcebook in so far as it provides an extensive collection of Greek and Latin Roman-period texts relevant to ancient coins and monetary matters within the ancient Roman world, including 1) the numismatic contribution to our understanding of the economic history of the Mediterranean, 2) the illumination of ancient texts which refer to or deal with coinage and money and, of course, 3) the study of ancient coinage itself, be that contributions to understandings of the processes of minting and distribution of coinage, iconography and propaganda, inscriptions and lexicography, or the various socio-political circumstances that motivated the production of ancient coinage. The volume, however, is also a commentary in so far as it provides analysis on each source passage presented in the form of 1) a succinct contextual orientation which provides literary and historical context for the passage, 2) concise analysis which highlights the most pressing critical issues within the passage under consideration, and 3) the implications for the specific contribution of the text to identify broader patterns of the function and meaning of coinage in antiquity. Passages for the sourcebook are selected from a diverse variety of sources including Biblical, Roman historical, poetic, papyrological, and epigraphic. Topics covered include, 1) statements on the nature of Roman coinage, 2) precursors to Roman coinage, 3) texts referring to minting and mint workers, 4) texts referring to forgeries and authentication testing, 5) hoards and treasures, 6) the conversion of currency for travellers, and 7) the evolving economic context, denominations of coinage, and monetary reform. The volume provides a definitive collection of source material combined with contextual commentary for a comprehensive appraisal of the subject for the Roman imperial period and related areas of study. Readers will be equipped with an expertly curated volume which provided first hand access to the literary primary sources which shape our understanding of Roman coinage in relation to the Greco-Roman context. Emphasis is also given to constructing a plausible polyvalent picture of coinage throughout the empire (both Imperial and provincial) and its function, dissemination, use, and regulation in antiquity.
Michael P. Theophilos, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia.