Coins found Southern Italy 4th and 3rd century BC
Coins found Southern Italy 4th and 3rd century BC

Coining Roman rule?

The emergence of coinage as money in the Roman world (4th-3rd c. BC)
Duration
1 February 2019 until 30 June 2023
Project member(s)
Dr M.K. Termeer (Marleen)
Project type
Research

The emergence of coinage in the ancient world has had a lasting impact on modern society. But how did coinage as a form of money first come to be accepted, and how was it used? Was it a widely circulating, state-authorized currency from the start, or was it more like the Bitcoin – unrelated to the state and limited in use? This project addresses these questions for the Roman world.

Coinage in the Roman world emerged in the context of Rome’s first large-scale expansion on the Italian peninsula (4th-3rd c. BC), when many different communities on the peninsula started to produce and use coinage. They adopted coinage relatively late: about three centuries after its introduction in the Aegean. Starting from these observations, this project challenges two important assumptions that inform current interpretations of these coinages: (1) that state authorization was necessary for coinage to have value; (2) that coinage was adopted “automatically” as a widely used currency for many different purposes.

The project investigates how the value of coins was created in different parts of the Italian peninsula through various strategies and practices of coin production and use. In this way, the project sheds new light on the relation between coinage and the development of the Roman state, and rethinks the purpose and use of coinage in this period.

Results

Articles and chapters

  • Armstrong, J. & M.K. Termeer 2024, ‘The Military History of Early Roman Coinage’ in J. Armstrong, A. Pomeroy & D. Rosenbloom (eds.) Money, Warfare and Power in the Ancient World: Studies in Honour of Matthew Freeman Trundle. London etc: Bloomsbury, 197-218.
  • Termeer, M.K. 2023, Spoils and the Allies: Roman warfare and coinage production in Italy before the end of the First Punic War. In M. Helm & S.T. Roselaar (eds.) Spoils in the Roman Republic. Boon and Bane. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 181-198.
  • Termeer, M.K. 2023, Moet geld rollen? Vormen van geld in archaïsch en vroeg-Republikeins Rome. Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 136 (1), 3-20. https://doi.org/10.5117/TvG2023.1.002.TERM
  • Termeer, M.K. 2023, The Political Culture of Coinage: The Introduction and Development of the Denarius System. In M. Balbo & F. Santangelo (eds.) A Community in Transition. Rome between Hannibal and the Gracchi. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 86-117 (https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780197655245.003.0004)
  • Termeer, M.K. 2022, Non-Roman coins in Italy: the influence of western connections (3rd–1st centuries BC). Available in Open Access. In J. Principal, T. Ñaco del Hoyo & M. Dobson (eds.) Rome and the North-Western Mediterranean: Integration and Connectivity c. 150 – 70 BC. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 13-22. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv371cnww.6
  • Prins, J. & M.K. Termeer 2021, Coins and Aes Rude as Votive Gifts. The Coins and Aes Rude from the Hellenistic Votive Deposit at Satricum and the First Coinage in Latium. Ancient Numismatics 2, 43-91. https://doi.org/10.19272/202114401002(verwijst naar een andere website)
  • Naiman, M.G. & M.K. Termeer 2020, Roman and Campanian Bronze Coinage in Etruria in the 3rd c. BC. Annali dell’Istituto Italiano di Numismatica 66, 211-266.
  • Heymans, E.D. & M.K. Termeer 2020, Rethinking Early Money and the State. In E.D. Heymans & M.K. Termeer (eds.), Politics of Value: new approaches to early money and the state – proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Classical Archaeology, Cologne/Bonn 2018 (panel 5.11). Heidelberg: Propylaeum, 7-18. https://doi.org/10.11588/propylaeum.574(verwijst naar een andere website)
  • Termeer, M.K. 2019, Coining Roman rule? The emergence of coinage as money in the Roman world. Tijdschrift voor Mediterrane Archeologie 61, 47. https://www.academia.edu/40968495/Coining_Roman_rule_The_emergence_of_coinage_as_money_in_the_Roman_world

Edited volume

  • Heymans, E.D. & M.K. Termeer (eds.) 2020, Politics of Value: new approaches to early money and the state – proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Classical Archaeology, Cologne/Bonn 2018 (panel 5.11). Heidelberg: Propylaeum. https://doi.org/10.11588/propylaeum.574 (links to another website)

Workshop

The expert meeting Money in Mid Republican Rome took place at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome in February 2023. It was organized in collaboration with Prof. Fleur Kemmers (Goethe University Frankfurt), with additional funding from the Thyssen Stiftung, and support in Rome from the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome and the German Archaeological Institute, Rome department. One of the participants wrote this blog post about the event.

Outreach

An important part of the outreach of Coining Roman Rule? has been a project at the Allard Pierson in Amsterdam. The aim was to give early Roman coins and contemporary Hellenistic coins a more prominent place in the permanent exhibition From the Nile to the Amstel. In addition to adding the coins physically to the exhibition, we made 3D models (available here) and RTI models (explanation here) of a selection of coins, in collaboration with the 4D Research Lab. In the museum, visitors can engage with these models via a touchscreen that gives access to the museum’s Cross Cultural Timeline. Here, visitors can also find additional information about the coins. The Cross Cultural Timeline can also be accessed from outside the museum, making this information available to anyone interested.

More information about digitising these coins can be found in the following report by the 4D Research Lab:

  • Walsh, A. & T. Lanjouw 2024, ‘Two sides of the same coin: Digitizing the Allard Pierson’s Roman coin collection using cross-polarisation photogrammetry and RTI’, available here.

Outreach publications

  • Termeer, M.K. 2023, Rome en Napels in de Oudheid — van een foedus aeqissimum naar een quasi Graeca urbs. Roma Aeterna 11(2), 11-19.
  • Termeer, M.K. 2021, De Stier en de Wolvin. Roma Aeterna 9(1). https://romaaeterna.nl/ (links to another website).
  • Termeer, M.K. 2020, De Macht van Munten: het eerste muntgeld van de Romeinen. Geschiedenis Magazine nr. 7 (October 2020), 32-36.
Preparations for making the RTI model of an early Roman cast bar by Tijm Lanjouw (4D Research Lab)
Preparations for making the RTI model of an early Roman cast bar by Tijm Lanjouw (4D Research Lab)

Funding

Partners

Contact information