Classical Numismatics Discussion
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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Coins (Moderator: Severus_Alexander)  |  Topic: Official roman cast coins ? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Dominic T
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« on: November 03, 2018, 11:51:49 am »

I’ve always been on the impression that roman imperial cast coins were the work of forgers. But from what I read lately, it seems that from the time of Severus, official coins should had been cast with the approval of local authorities. An important production of this type found in Egypt might indicate that.So here is my questions : do you think that in time of emergency, those currency were authorised by the state or maybe just tolerate ? Or are all cast coins of this period only forgeries ?
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otlichnik
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2018, 09:11:32 am »

Unfortunately it is likely impossible to fully answer that question.

It is clear from the find evidence related to cast coins, as well as many of the so-called imitative struck coins, that they were not the product of foreign tribes or of simple criminals.  The finds appear to indicate that they were tolerated in circulation.  They are found in towns, on military sites, in the civilian communities adjacent to military sites, etc.

But beyond that, the rest is speculation.

We know those coins met a need.  But were they authorized by the central authorities, local authorities (remember that in many parts of the Empire local authorities coined local coinage until the mid-to-late 3rd century), local merchants, or simply by speculators?  How much were they authorized versus tolerated?  Did this change by region and time?  (There were major waves of imitatives from the mid-1st to late 4th centuries and probably later.)

Evidence shows that one of the first waves of imitatives - Claudian asses from Britain, as well as Spain and northern France - likely originate in or next to military camps.  These coins were therefore almost certainly authorized by the military to provide troops with small change.  But it is unclear if this paradigm is paralleled elsewhere.

I recall reading somewhere, but forget where, that the late 3rd - early 4th century casts from Egypt were likely made to make up shortages used when the centuries old tradition of striking local Alexandrian coinage ended in the 290s.

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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)
Dominic T
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2018, 10:32:10 am »

Thanks for your reply Otlichnik. As you pointed out, it is likely impossible to have a full answer on that question. I still want to share the fact that in his book ´ »Roman british coins », J.Y.Akerman present the theory that the coins found on certain sites MIGHT have been cast by command of Severus as ‘pièces de nécessité’ for the pay of his troops. Also in « Traité des monnaies romaines »(tome 1), E.Babelon expose his hypothesis (based on the discovery of several clay molds in many regions ) that those workshop were wanted by the state.Hopefully in the future archeology will give us more clues on thes cast coins...
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Robert_Brenchley
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2018, 03:11:13 pm »

Postumus issued cast bronze, but I've never seen any clear evidence that the Central Empire did.
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otlichnik
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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2018, 03:44:10 pm »

Babelon's book is 117 years old, Akerman's books are roughly 170 years old.

You really need to find more modern works to study questions like this.

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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)
Dominic T
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2018, 06:04:47 pm »

You are absolutly right Otlichnik. The reason I quote those 2 books was to show the origin of that hypothesis and also that the idea was not new at all. Meanwhile, many modern authors evoqued the same possibility. For example, Michel Amandry (former president of the international Commission of numismatic from 2003-2009 ) in his most recent book (2017 ) ´la monnaie antique ´,says that we can « consider that bronze cast coins could have been tolerated by the local authorities. ». So my point is that ,it’s true, the theory is quite old, but it’s still alive !
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otlichnik
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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2018, 06:30:05 pm »

Indeed.  But, it would be nice to see if anyone has put forward ideas about how we really test this question.  I can't figure out how to but hopefully someone smarter can.

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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)
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