Reflections of societal pressures in the iconography of Roman coinage : A quantitative approach

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GLOMB Tomáš KAŠE Vojtěch

Rok publikování 2022
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis Periods of increasing prosperity, as well as societal pressures, in the Roman Empire can be documented by a range of proxy data. Changes in the intensity of Roman mining attested by pollution traces from Greenland’s ice cores, varying fineness of Roman Denarii, or significant changes in epigraphic trends, all these data are representative of downward and upward trends of Roman prosperity and well-being. The main focus of this paper is to explore the question of how Roman emperors reacted to these temporal trends (e.g., Pax Romana, the Crisis of the 3rd century) in Roman coinage. Roman coins are a very specific medium that conveyed not only their monetary value but also the ideological messages of Roman emperors and they can be conceptualized as a relevant tool for mitigating or enhancing specific sentiments in the population. A quantitative temporal analysis of the attributes of specific deities and personifications depicted on Roman coin types as represented by the Online Coins of the Roman Empire Database (OCRE) has the potential to reveal iconographic trends that, when compared with the proxy data for the societal pressures in the Roman Empire, can help us understand what Roman emperors communicated to the population in times of change and crisis. In the iconography of coins, we will mainly focus on the temporal trends of deities/personifications representing the core benefits of the Roman empire such as Pax, Securitas, Felicitas, or Salus. The academic debate is aware of the potential of Roman coins for the study of the ideology of Roman emperors, however, statistically sophisticated explorations and comparisons of Roman numismatic data with proxy data indicating changes in prosperity and well-being are not a frequent occurrence in the discussion.
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