66937 - Ancient and Medieval Numismatics

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide skills usefull to the identification and interpretation of ancient and medieval coins as historical and archaeological sources, through a critical reading of the numismatic evidence in different historical periods and cultural contexts. At the end of the course, students will be able to identify coins of several periods, with particular reference to Italian production, to understand the guidelines for setting up scientific research un numismatics, to approach the problems of managing and preserving the numismatic heritage in public collections.

Course contents

The course aims to outline the history of ancient and medieval coinage, with particular reference to the Ravenna mint. Some lessons will be held at the National Museum of Ravenna, with visits to the numismatic collection. 

The following topics will be covered during the course:

  • Characteristics and contents of the discipline.
  • Outlines of ancient and medieval numismatics.
  • Knowledge, enhancement and use of the numismatic heritage.
  • The numismatic evidence in archaeological research: coin hoards and dating criteria.
  • Focus on: "The Mint of Ravenna and its Coinage".


The following texts are mandatory for the preparation of the exam

Foreknowledges: The course requires a basic knowledge of the discipline. In the absence of a preparation carried out during the three-year degree course, students should read the following handbook: F. Barello, Archeologia della moneta. Produzione e utilizzo nell'antichità, Roma, 2006.

Attending students:


  • D. Castrizio, Manuale di numismatica medievale, Reggio Calabria, 2005.


  • A.L. Morelli, Ravenna (Emilia-Romagna), in L. Travaini (a cura di), Le zecche italiane fino all'Unità, Roma, 2011, pp. 1045-1059.
  • A.L. Morelli, P. Novara, Sedi di zecca e monetazione in Ravenna dall'antichità al tardo medioevo, in "Atti e Memorie della Deputazione di Storia Patria per le province di Romagna", 58 (2008), pp. 151-200.
  • A.L. Morelli, Il gruzzolo di via Luca Longhi a Ravenna, in E. Ercolani Cocchi (a cura di), Il gruzzolo di via Luca Longhi a Ravenna. Città, monete e mercanti nel Medioevo, Ravenna, 1997, pp. 19-29.


Further reading for non attending-students:

  • E. Ercolani Cocchi, Monete ed economia a Ravenna. Dal periodo longobardo all'inizio della dominazione veneziana, in E. Ercolani Cocchi (a cura di), Il gruzzolo di via Luca Longhi a Ravenna, Città, monete e mercanti nel Medioevo, Ravenna, 1997, pp. 11-18.

All bibliographic resources are available at the reception of Palazzo Verdi (Ravenna, via Pasolini 23).

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 exercise activities on coins from the Greek, Roman and medieval periods, belonging to the collection of the National Museum of Ravenna.
  • Use of traditional tools and Numismatics-related electronic resources.

Office hours

See the website of Anna Morelli