12986 - Numismatics (1)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Anna Morelli

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ANT/04

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Humanities (cod. 8850)

    Also valid for First cycle degree programme (L) in History (cod. 0962)

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be able to use the large amount of information provided by the numismatic evidence in order to analyze and reconstruct historical and archaeological contexts. Furthermore, students will obtain all the critical skills necessary to the interpretation of ancient coin iconography as an important source for historical and artistic studies. Students will learn how to identify coins of several periods and how to date them. They also know how to automatize all these information. Moreover, students will acquire the necessary skills in order to realize collections of data, to organize and interpret them, and to create database and repertories.

Course contents

The course aims to outline the history of ancient Greek and Roman coinage, paying particular attention to the iconography of coin types in different historical periods. Some lessons will be devoted to the cataloging of ancient Roman republican and imperial coins.

The following topics will be covered during the course:

  • Characteristics and contents of the discipline.
  • Coinage in ancient world: features and functions.
  • Outlines of Greek and Roman numismatics.
  • Focus on: "Roman Coinage during the Civil Wars".


The following texts are mandatory for the preparation of the exam

Attending students:


  • F. Barello, Archeologia della moneta. Produzione e utilizzo nell'antichità, Roma, 2006.


  • R. Laignoux, Frapper monnaie entre 49 et 31 av. J.-C. : les guerres civiles romaines comme laboratoire d’unification monétaire, in J. Dubouloz, S. Pittia, G. Sabatini (dir.), L’imperium romanum en perspective. Les savoirs d’empire dans la République romaine et leur héritage dans l’Europe médiévale et moderne, Besançon, 2014, pp. 147-169. [for an alternative reading, contact the teacher via email]
  • R. Mangiameli, La competizione propagandistica dei viri militares negli anni del II triumvirato tra storiografia e numismatica, in T.M. Lucchelli, F. Rohr Vio (a cura di), VIRI MILITARES. Rappresentazione e propaganda tra Repubblica e Principato, Trieste, 2015, pp. 115-129 (URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/10840).
  • A.L. Morelli, Fulvia, icona di vittoria nella monetazione di Marco Antonio: le emissioni di quinari RRC 489/5-6, in S. Magnani (a cura di), Domi forisque. Omaggio a Giovanni Brizzi, Bologna, 2018, pp. 221-232.

Further reading for non attending-students:

  • F. Rohr Vio, Publio Ventidio tra Ottaviano e Antonio ne prodromi del II triumvirato: la celebrazione di un intervento di mediazione politica nel denarius di Basso, in "Rivista Italiana di Numismatica", 109, 2008, pp. 199-234.

All bibliographic resources are available at the DiSCi Library of Ancient History (Bologna, via Zamboni 38, 4th floor).

Teaching methods

  • Frontal lessons.
  • Autoptic examination of Roman coins.
  • Practical exercises: identification and cataloging of ancient coins.

Assessment methods

The final exam will be conducted orally and will assess the students' knowledge of the program contents, based on the bibliographic material indicated above.

Students will be asked to provide an organic view of the topics developed during the course, making connections between them and showing the ability to analyze and interpret the acquired data.

  • Top marks will be awarded to students displaying their ability to use the numismatic evidence as a source for historical reconstruction, combined with a critical approach to the discipline and a confident and effective use of the appropriate terminology.
  • Fair marks will be awarded to students demonstrating a mnemonic knowledge of the subject, combined with a correct, but not always appropriate, command of the field-specific language.
  • A pass mark (or just above) will be assigned to students showing a superficial knowledge of the material, in addition to a scarce analytical and expressive ability in the discussion of the topics examined.
  • Students will be deemed to have failed the exam if they display significant gaps in their understanding of the subject, in addition to a partial and inadequate knowledge of the bibliography, and/or together with a poor command of the appropriate terminology.

Students won't be admitted to the oral exam if they don't prepare all texts.

Teaching tools

  • Frontal lessons with PowerPoint presentations.
  • Practical exercises on ancient Roman coins
  • Use of traditional tools and Numismatics-related electronic resources.

Office hours

See the website of Anna Morelli