Friday, October 2, 2015

XVth International Numismatic Congress - Taormina, Sicily

I am still fighting jet lag from my recent trip to Italy where, among other things,  I participated in the XVth International Numismatic Congress in Taormina, Sicily from 21-25 September.  It was great to have my paper scheduled in the first session on the first day of the Congress so that the pressure was off and I could better enjoy talking to old colleagues, meeting new friends, and hearing about all the great research going on in numismatics.

The Congress happens once every six years and so it is a major event.  There were approximately 700 attendees, over 400 of whom also delivered papers.  Maria Caltabiano and Mariangela Puglisi are owed praise for the organization of the Congress.

The time in Sicily at the Congress was spectacular and there is too much to summarize in detail, although there were a few highlights for me.

On the first day I picked up the Survey of Numismatic Research and the Congress Medal (that will now sit alongside my medal from the 2009 Congress in Glasgow; here's my summary of that Congress - the time has flown by!). The Survey is a monumental work and I enjoyed reading the entries on Roman numismatics as well as Dan Pett's "Numismatics, Computers and the Internet." Some colleagues, Maria Cristina Molinari and Cristian Gazdac, generously gave me copies of their recent books.  I also picked up a few books on Roman coin iconography of which I had been unaware until I saw them in the exhibit hall.

In addition to the full academic program, there are numerous social events, receptions, and meals at the Congresses.  The ANS held a reception in honor of BCD and in memory of Richard Witschonke, both of whom were the honorands of books containing essays on Greek and Roman numismatics, respectively.  I got to take home my copy of P.G. van Alfen, G. Bransbourg, and M. Amandry (eds.), Fides: Contributions to Numismatics in Honor of Richard B. Witschonke. (New York: American Numismatic Society, 2015).  Rick read drafts of the essays prior to his passing.  He was always a generous, affable, and humble colleague and his presence at the Congress was sorely missed by all who knew him.

On the last evening was the social dinner, which for me was the last opportunity to speak with friends and colleagues before we all went our separate ways the next day.
Social Dinner. From right to left: Ethan Grueber (ANS), David Hill (ANS), Elena Stolyarik (ANS), Me (Baylor), Andrew McCabe (Independent Scholar/Collector), David Hendin (ANS), and I'm sorry that I cannot remember the names of the three people on the other side of the table whom I met for the first time at the dinner. (© MünzenWoche/CoinsWeekly).

Meeting new people and meeting people whose work you have read before is always one of the most exciting things at the Congress; there was, of course, much opportunity for this.  I was happy to meet many new people and several established numismatists as well rising starts in the field.  I regularly read the Coins Weekly newsletter and it was also great to meet the people who run that operation at their booth at the Congress.  They recently summarized their experiences at the Congress as well.
Ursula Kampmann took pictures with each of Coins Weekly's readers who stopped by the booth. (© MünzenWoche/Coins Weekly).

The Congress was certainly a worthwhile event and if you missed this one, I recommend the next one.  The next Congress will be in Warsaw in 2021; it will be organized by Aleksander Bursche.  I look forward to seeing everyone again then, but hopefully also before then.

From left: Me, Ute Wartenberg-Kagan (ANS), David Hendin (ANS), standing in front of the scaenae frons of the theater at Taormina.