Sunday, February 17, 2013

'Art in the Round' a Sucess

The two-day international workshop "Art in the Round: New Approaches to Ancient Coin Iconography was a resounding success that featured sixteen speakers from eight countries across three continents.  The distinguished theoretician and historian of Roman art, Prof. Tonio Hölscher (Heidelberg), kicked-off the conference with his keynote address, "Historienbilder der römischen Republik.Das Repertoire der Münzen im Vergleich zu anderen Bildgattungen."

The first two papers addressed theoretical approaches to coin iconography. Gunnar Dumke (Heidelberg) spoke on "Sekundäre Ikonographien. Prolegomena zu immobilisierten und imitierten griechischen Münztypen" and Dr. Ragnar Hedlund's (Uppsala) talk was entitled "‘Whose image is this’ - again? Exploring new frameworks for the interpretation of ancient coin imagery."  In the afternoon, the lectures shifted focus to the study of coin iconography in both numismatic and material contexts.  Dr. Clare Rowan (Warwick) began the session with her paper "Iconography in colonial contexts: the provincial coinage of the late Republic."  Prof. Frank Daubner (Stuttgart) also spoke on provincial coins with his "Statische Bilder, statische Identitäten? Zu Münzdarstellungen römischer
Kolonien in Makedonien." Marta Barbato (Rome) delivered the fruits of her research on "Flavian typology: the evidence from the "sottosuolo urbano“ of Rome."  Prof. Johannes Nollé's (Munich) talk compared Roman provincial coins in Asia with local inscriptions: "Kleinasiatische Lokalprägungen und Inschriften."  Dr. Ute Wartenberg-Kagan (New York) took us on a stimulating methodological journey in her "The Clazomenae hoard: an archaeological and iconographical puzzle." And Prof. Lutz Ilisch (Tübingen) concluded our session by looking at the transformation of images across the centuries in "Zur Metamorphose der konstantinischen Victoria zum islamischen Schutzengel auf nordmesopotamischen Kupferdirham des 12. Jh."

The second day of the workshop was just as exciting as the first.  In the morning session, papers zeroed in on specific iconographic types.  Dr. Maria Cristina Molinari (Rome) spoke about meaning of early Roman coin iconography in her "The two Roman types with two-faced god on 3rd century BC coinage." Dr. Kyle Erickson (Lampeter) provided our only study on Hellenistic coinage: "Zeus to Apollo and back again: shifts in Seleucid policy and iconography." Mary Jane Cuyler's (Sydney) research "Portus Ostiensis on the Sestertii of Nero" dissected a well-known architectural image. Dr. David Wigg-Wolf (Frankfurt) reevaluated Christian symbolism on Constantinian coinage via his "Constantine’s silver medallion from Ticinum (RIC 36): 'one small step' o'a giant leap?'"  The final session looked at coins through comparisons with texts and with other visual media.  Christopher Simon's (Yale) "Etymology as image type in republican and imperial coinage" raised a great many questions about the meaning of republican coins, how the iconography worked with moneyers' names and how the viewer looked at republican coin iconography.  Prof. Bernd Steinbock (Western Ontario) spoke on "Coin imagery and Latin panegyrics as means of imperial communication." Dr. Patrick Monsieur (Ghent), "The relationship between Greek coins, gems and pottery stamps: an introduction
through the archaeological evidence of Chios," provided an insights into the comparative world of amphora stamps and coin iconography. Prof. Martin Beckmann (McMaster) ended the day with his look at coins and portraiture in his "The relationship between numismatic portraits and marble busts: the problematic example of Faustina the Younger."

The organizers and participants agreed that workshop provided a series of formidable papers that opened the door for many fruitful discussions about how we study and interpret ancient coin iconography, as well as the potential for our various methods.  The papers are currently being prepared for comprehensive publication in an edited volume.

Special thanks to Prof. Thomas Schäfer and the Institut für Klassiche Archäologie for opening their doors for this workshop.



This would have been a great conference, Right up my ally!!, I study and collect Roman portraits purely for iconographical value. Cant wait to see what they put together.

Joe Geranio


Thanks, Joe. Once the proceedings are out, I'll post an update. These things usually take a couple of years at least to appear in print.