Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Responsibilities at Uni Frankurt

Last month I mentioned that a colleague, Stefan Krmnicek, and I received a one year appointment in the Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften, Abt. II (Archäologie und Geschichte der römischen Provinzen sowie Hilfswissenschaften der Altertumskunde) at the Goethe Universität, Frankfurt.

Last week there was a reception in the department to honor Dr. Schubert, who is going into retirment and who previously held the position since 1974. Between 1972 and 1973, he was associated with the department via Fundmünzen der Antike (FdA). It was an excellent reception, well-attended by Dr. Schubert's colleagues. During the reception the department presented him with an old engraved portrait of Theodor Mommsen. Many may be familiar with Dr. Schubert's important essay on Mommsen's seminal numismatic work, Geschichte des Römischen Münzwesens (H. Schubert, "Mommsens numismatisch-geldgeschichtliches Hauptwerk 'Geschichte des Römischen Münzwesens' (Berlin 1860). Entstehung, Bedeutung und Wirkung," in H.M. von Kaenel, M.R.-Alföldi, U. Peter, and H. Komnick (eds.), Geldgeschichte vs. Numismatik. Theodor Mommsen und die antike Münze (Berlin, 2004), 109-129). Dr. Schubert also engages with the wider public on ancient numismatics and is both the chairman of the Frankfurter Numsimatische Gesellschaft and president of the Deutsche Numismatische Gesellschaft. Certainly we cannot replace Dr. Schubert, who will remain active within the department, but only manage his former departmental responsibilities.

Since we have settled into the new position, Dr. Schubert and Prof. Dr. von Kaenel have explained our duties to us in more detail. The position was founded primarly around the photo collection of ancient coins, and it is around this collection upon which much of our responsibility revolves as we must provide images and advice to researchers and publishers. Our photo collection is one of the most important in the world. The Frankfurt photo archive began in the 1960' and presently contains around 400,000 photographs and negatives from private and public collections, auction catalogues, hoards, and excavations - Dr. Schubert showed us some file cards with Konrad Kraft's handwriting on them! [link to Wikipedia article - caveat emptor). We will also be responsible for a collection of approximately 3,000 auction catalogues and a rather extensive collection of plaster casts. The cast collection contains casts from the important collections of Richard Delbrück (1874-1957) and Konrad Kraft (1920-1970), among others. I may revisit some of these resources as themes for future posts.

Apart from curating these resources, we also have responsibilities in collaborative and independent research. For me, the latter will include completing the dissertation and a couple of other projects. We also have teaching responsibilities within the department since Prof. von Kaenel is taking a semester for research. This year there will be courses in numismatics in both the winter and summer semesters. The numismatic Übung in the winter will be "Münzhorte. Zusammensetzung, Eigenart und Bedeutung von Hortfunden in der antiken Welt" (Coin hoards: composition, characteristics and meaning of hoard finds in the ancient world). My colleague and I have discussed it, and since he has specialized in hoard finds through his dissertation and other research, he will manage this course and I will conduct the course for the summer semester (TBA). Assuming that I can play a role in choosing the topic for the summer semester, I thought that something like "Antike Münzbilder. Methoden und Deutungen" (Images on ancient coins: methods and interpretations) would be an interesting toic. The subject is fresh in my mind and one I've been exploring in detail in conjunction with my dissertation and a contribution to an edited volume.
(Image: a file card from the Frankfurt Fotokartei)