29626 - Numismatics (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

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 be able to interpretet ancient coin iconography as an important source for historical and artistic studies, in the light of the political and technical rules governing ciconographic choices. Students will know how to identify coins of several periods. They will be able to organize the scientific use of the data, contextualizing them in the history of the territory and to reach out to public audiences. They will fully utilize the main IT tools in the areas of specific competence.

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.
  • Outlines of Greek and Roman numismatics.
  • The numismatic evidence in archaeological research: coin hoards and dating criteria.
  • Focus on: "Iconographic Aspects and Propagandistic Themes in the Constantinian Coinage".


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.


  • F. Carlà, Le iconografie monetali, in Costantino I. Enciclopedia costantiniana sulla figura e l'immagine dell'imperatore del cosiddetto Editto di Milano, 313-2013, vol. I, Roma, 2013, pp. 557-578.
  • E. Filippini, Felix progenies Constantini Aug: alcune osservazioni intorno a RIC VII, Treviri, 442, in V. Neri, B. Girotti (a cura di), La famiglia tardoantica. Società, diritto, religione, Milano, 2016, pp. 225-238. 
  • M. Asolati, Flavio Costantino reggitore della ruota zodiacale, in V. Girotto, G. Rosada (a cura di), Il Cielo in Terra, ovvero della giusta distanza, Padova, 2015, pp. 189-202.

Further reading for non attending-students:

  • F. Carlà, Le iconografie monetali e l'abbandono del linguaggio tetrarchico: l'evoluzione dell'autorappresentazione imperiale (306-310 d.C.), in G. Bonamente, N. Lenski, R. Lizzi Testa (a cura di), Costantino prima e dopo Costantino, Bari, 2012, pp. 60-84.

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