Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Back from the XIVth International Numismatic Congress

I have been very busy over the past couple of months and so I am only now able to update this website after an entire month without posting. I expect to start attending to it more regularly again as I get settled into the new routines.

At the end of August and beginning of September I was in Glasgow for the XIVth International Numismatic Congress. It was the first INC I have been able to attend. There were approximately 600 delegates from all over the world representing all areas of numismatic study from ancient through modern. Of these 600 delegates, approximately 500-550 also delivered papers.

After the formal opening of the Congress on Monday morning, I heard Ute Wartenberg Kagan’s paper “Electrum Coinage: New Evidence and New Questions” in the session “Early Coinage/Persia.” I then ducked over to the session “Republic to Augustus” where I heard Jane Evans’ “The Restoration of Memory: Minucius and his Monument,” which provided much for me to reconsider in a chapter of the dissertation I am completing on architectural coin types. That afternoon I listened to a number of other interesting papers on the Republic and Imperatorial period.

Since I have focused my numismatic studies on the Roman period in my research, I decided to take the opportunity to listen to several papers on Greek coinage. In Tuesday’s session on “Athens and the Aegean” I found Clive Stannard’s paper “The adjustment al marco of Athenian decadrachms by the ‘gouging’ of flans” and Jack Kroll’s “The reminting of Athenian silver coinage in 354/3 BC” of particular interest.

On Tuesday afternoon I attended the round table on the digital SNG project since I am currently assisting in the management of the digitization of the Yale University Art Gallery’s numismatic collection. Although we are not producing a digital SNG at this time, many of the issues and opportunities that were discussed will be relevant to this work.

On Wednesday morning, I delivered my paper “Interpreting Architectural Coin Types from Recorded Contexts: The Flavian and Trajanic Periods,” which seemed to be successful. I also was grateful to receive a tip on an old published collection from Rome that may be considered as representing local finds. The other papers in my session (Empire- Coin Types (1st to 2nd Century)) were enlightening. Martin Beckmann, for example, presented a die study which provided a chronology for the posthumous coinage of Faustina I and which also showed a reverse die link between the coins for Faustina I and Faustina II. Later that morning, I heard more papers on Roman coin types, this time from the 2nd to 3rd centuries AD. The delegates then had a free afternoon for sight seeing, which I had planned to use to visit downtown Glasgow, but unfortunately it began to rain too heavily.

On Thursday morning I went to the round table discussion on “Coins in Context.” At this session it was announced that this event, plus the session at the Roman Archaeology Conference in Ann Arbor earlier this year, will serve as the foundation for a book entitled Coins in Context II which follows the publication of Coins in Context I. In the afternoon I attended the session on “Portraits/Iconography/Propaganda in Hellenistic Egypt.”

That evening was the closing ceremony after which everyone spent the next hour saying goodbye to various friends and colleagues before venturing off to hotels, pubs, or restaurants.

Since this was the first INC I have attended, I was happy to meet several colleagues I had corresponded with but had never met face-to-face and also to greet several others whom I had known by name only, and of course to catch-up with other friends and colleagues I had not seen in years. The wonderful and warm receptions at the Congress were very conducive to this activity; everyone was usually scrambling to and from the different sessions and papers during the day.

There was not a very extensive presence of book sellers. The three exhibitors that were present were Douglas Saville, Spinks, and CNG. Saville and Spinks had the most extensive selection of old and new monographs. I came back from the Congress a little poorer after deciding to pick up a copy of Rutter’s Historia Numorum for Italy, a copy of Duncan-Jones’ Money and Government in the Roman Empire, which I had used several times before though I had no private copy, and the latest Bibliothèque Nationale de France catalogue on Trajan’s coins to complete my collection of BNF catalogues that have been printed thus far.

I certainly look forward to the next Congress which will take place at Messina, Sicily in 6 years.

Photo: Colleagues at the closing ceremony at Wellington Church: (left to right) Cristian Găzdac (Romanian Academy, Cluj-Napoca), Ágnes Alföldy-Găzdac (National History Museum of Transylvania, Romania), Boris Kaczynski (Goethe Universität - Frankfurt), Fleur Kemmers (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen), Stefan Krmnicek (Goethe Universität - Frankfurt), Nathan Elkins (Yale University Art Gallery). Above my head (Elkins) and in the background, you can see David Wigg-Wolf (Goethe Universität - Frankfurt) and Stéphane Martin (École Normale Supérieure, Paris) to his right.