cnrs maison de l'orient site numismatique

Expected results

a)These corpora are intended to provide a systematic inventory of accessible numismatic documents, embracing the whole of the available documentary sources: sites, private collections, coin hoards, sale catalogues, etc., but especially large institutional collections (11 “core collections”). It is only recently that these large European coin cabinets opened their riches to ambitious programs of study of their cores. The corpora in preparation, the fruit of international collaborations, will benefit from the exclusive access to this privileged documentation.

b) After the documentary harvest has been gathered, the work of scientific elaboration will begin. The raw document yields nothing by itself; it needs to be organized, to be put in a sequence and interpreted. This work of “edition” in the full sense of the term has the complex objective of approaching the coins from various angles of attack to answer the questions who minted them? where were they minted? when? what? why? for what purpose? and finally, for whom? This work will lead to the analysis of such complicated realities as the identification of the minting authority, the life of the workshops, the definition and dating of the emissions, the evolution of the monetary systems, the volume of production and the affected economic areas, the reasons for cessation, hoarding or reforms, the reasons for and the recipients of the emissions, the messages that the issuers wished to circulate and the ways in which they were perceived by the recipients.

The numismatic documents thus “edited” will promote the development of historical reflection. On the political, military, economic, event-oriented and religious history of the Empire, the coins, the only universal medium, bring to the historian another point of view. Complement, counterpoint, and even antithesis of the textual sources, the monetary document constitutes a firsthand source directly broadcast by the civic or central administration, an immediate reflection of historical events and a conveyor of ideology. It is situated in opposition to the textual sources, the mode of expression of one social and political class, for which, moreover, the literary genre of historiography did not allow a place for realia, nor did it concern itself with a “provincial” history of the Empire.

c)The material will be made available to the scientific community in two complementary ways, by the publication of a paper corpus and by offering free on-line access to the databases and their library of images. The paper corpus cannot be omitted; the reference work must be available for consultation on the shelves of libraries. Moreover the institutions that guarantee the publication of our corpora from now on have the book as their vocation. The collections in which they will appear have behind them experience in publication and in broad dissemination (Monnaies de l’empire romain. Bibl. nationale, 4 vols. published; Roman Provincial Coinage, 3 vols. published). These preceding works have become in practice works of reference and of citation (some of them are reprinted for the third time). The ANR program aims at the elaboration of the material that will constitute the volumes RPC V (two volumes anticipated) and BNCMER XII (three volumes anticipated).

In a complementary way, and targeted to avoid competition between the two supports, the ANR project aims to place on-line the documentary basis for the corpora – the databases and images. This will allow free access to the photographic documentation (in agreement with the patrimonial collections), key-word searching, and personalized extraction of information. The setting up on-line of a numismatic documentary server will first concern the period dealt with by the revision of Roman Imperial Coinage (RIC) volume V.1 and will be hosted at the Mom-Lyon.