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The Functions and Use of Roman Coinage

An Overview of 21st Century Scholarship

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Fleur Kemmers

In this publication Fleur Kemmers gives an overview of 21st century scholarship on Roman coinage for students and scholars in the fields of ancient history and Roman archaeology. First, it addresses the study of numismatics as a discipline and the theoretical and methodological advances of the last decades. Secondly, it provides guidelines on how to consult numismatic reference works, including those available online. Recent scholarly approaches and insights in the functions of Roman coins as both vehicles of political communication and instruments for state payments are critically assessed. Furthermore, the publication reviews the evidence for a conscious monetary policy on the part of the Roman authorities. Finally, the impact of Roman expansion and imperialism on monetisation and coin use in Rome´s Empire is discussed.

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Paul J. Burton

Rome engaged in military and diplomatic expansionistic state behavior, which we now describe as ‘imperialism,’ since well before the appearance of ancient sources describing this activity. Over the course of at least 800 years, the Romans established and maintained a Mediterranean-wide empire from Spain to Syria (and sometimes farther east) and from the North Sea to North Africa. How and why they did this is a perennial source of scholarly controversy. Earlier debates over whether Rome was an aggressive or defensive imperial state have progressed to theoretically-informed discussions of the extent to which system-level or discursive pressures shaped the Roman Empire. Roman imperialism studies now encompass such ancillary subfields as Roman frontier studies and Romanization.

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Douglas R. Underwood

In (Re)using Ruins, Douglas Underwood presents a new account of the use and reuse of Roman urban public monuments in a crucial period of transition, A.D. 300-600. Commonly seen as a period of uniform decline for public building, especially in the western half of the Mediterranean, (Re)using Ruins shows a vibrant, yet variable, history for these structures.
Douglas Underwood establishes a broad catalogue of archaeological evidence (supplemented with epigraphic and literary testimony) for the construction, maintenance, abandonment and reuses of baths, aqueducts, theatres, amphitheatres and circuses in Italy, southern Gaul, Spain, and North Africa, demonstrating that the driving force behind the changes to public buildings was largely a combined shift in urban ideologies and euergetistic practices in Late Antique cities.

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Jo Stoner

In this study, Jo Stoner investigates the role of domestic material culture in Late Antiquity. Using archaeological, visual and textual evidence from across the Roman Empire, the personal meanings of late antique possessions are revealed through reference to theoretical approaches including object biography. Heirlooms, souvenirs, and gift objects are discussed in terms of sentimental value, before the book culminates in a case study reassessing baskets as an artefact type. This volume succeeds in demonstrating personal scales of value for artefacts, moving away from the focus on economic and social status that dominate studies in this field. It thus represents a new interpretation of domestic material culture from Late Antiquity, revealing how objects transformed houses into homes during this period.

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Gwynaeth McIntyre

As political power in Rome became centered on the emperor and his family, a system of honors and titles developed as one way to negotiate this new power dynamic. Classified under the modern collective heading ‘imperial cult’ (or emperor worship or ruler cult), this system of worship comprises religious rituals as well as political, economic, and social aspects. In this article, Gwynaeth McIntyre surveys the range of ancient literary sources and modern scholarly debates on how individuals became gods in the Roman world. Beginning with the development of exceptional honors granted to Julius Caesar and his deification, she traces the development of honors, symbols, and religious rituals associated with the worship of imperial family members. She uses case studies to illustrate how cult practices, temples, and priesthoods were established, highlighting the careful negotiation required between the emperor, imperial family, Senate, and populace in order to make mortals into gods.

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Edited by Alain Delattre, Marie Legendre and Petra Sijpesteijn

Authority and Control in the Countryside looks at the economic, religious, political and cultural instruments that local and regional powers in the late antique to early medieval Mediterranean and Near East used to manage their rural hinterlands. Measures of direct control – land ownership, judicial systems, garrisons and fortifications, religious and administrative appointments, taxes and regulation – and indirect control – monuments and landmarks, cultural styles and artistic models, intellectual and religious influence, and economic and bureaucratic standard-setting – are examined to reconstruct the various means by which authority was asserted over the countryside. Unified by its thematic and spatial focus, this book offers an array of interdisciplinary approaches, allowing for important comparisons across a wide but connected geographical area in the transition from the Sasanian and Roman to the Islamic period. Contributors: Arezou Azad and Hugh Kennedy, Sobhi Bouderbala, Michele Campopiano, Alain Delattre, Jessica Ehinger, Simon Ford, James Howard-Johnston, Elif Keser-Kayaalp, Marie Legendre, Javier Martínez Jiménez, Harry Munt, Annliese Nef and Vivien Prigent, Marion Rivoal and Marie-Odile Rousset, Gesa Schenke, Petra Sijpesteijn, Peter Verkinderen, Luke Yarbrough, Khaled Younes.

The Cult of Mithras in Late Antiquity

Development, Decline and Demise ca. A.D. 270-430

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David Walsh

In The Cult of Mithras in Late Antiquity David Walsh explores how the cult of Mithras developed across the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D. and why by the early 5th century the cult had completely disappeared. Contrary to the traditional narrative that the cult was violently persecuted out of existence by Christians, Walsh demonstrates that the cult’s decline was a far more gradual process that resulted from a variety of factors. He also challenges the popular image of the cult as a monolithic entity, highlighting how by the 4th century Mithras had come to mean different things to different people in different places.

Nietzsche and the Dionysian

A Compulsion to Ethics

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Peter Durno Murray

Nietzsche and the Dionysian argues that the shuddering mania of the affect associated with Dionysus in Nietzsche’s early work runs as a thread through his thought and is linked to an originary interruption of self-consciousness articulated by the philosophical companion. In this capacity, the companion can be considered a ‘mask of Dionysus’, or one who assumes the singular role of the transmitter of the most valuable affirmative affect and initiates a compulsion to respond which incorporates the otherness of the companion. In the context of such engagements, Nietzsche envisages ‘Dionysian’ or divine ‘madness’ within an optics of life, through which an affirmative ethics can be thought. The ethical response to the philosophical companion requires an affirmation of the plurality of life, formulated in the imperatives to be ‘true to the earth’ and ‘become who you are’. Such an ethics, compelled by the Dionysian affect, grounds any future for humanity in the affirmation of the earth and life.

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Piotr Jaroszyński

Metaphysics or Ontology? treats the evolution of the object of metaphysics from being, to the concept of being, to, finally, the object (thought). Possible being must be non-contradictory, but an object of thought includes anything a human being can think, including contradictions and nothingness. When the concept of being, or object of thought, replaces existence as the object of metaphysics, it becomes something other than metaphysics—ontology, or something beyond ontology. However, ontology cannot examine existence because it only investigates concepts and possibility. Only classical metaphysics investigates reality qua reality. This book masterfully treats the history of this controversy and many other important metaphysical questions raised over the centuries

Dress and Personal Appearance in Late Antiquity

The Clothing of the Middle and Lower Classes

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Faith Pennick Morgan

This book examines the dress and personal appearance of members of the middle and lower classes in the eastern Mediterranean region during the 4th to 8th centuries. Written, art historical and archaeological evidence is assessed with a view to understanding the way that cloth and clothing was made, embellished, cared for and recycled during this period.
Beginning with an overview of current research on Roman dress, the book looks in detail at the use of apotropaic and amuletic symbols and devices on clothing before examining sewing and making methods, the textile industry and the second-hand clothing trade. The final chapter includes detailed information on the making and modelling of exact replicas based on extant garments.