12986 - Numismatics (1)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to use the copious information deriving from numismatic evidence in order to analyse and reconstruct historical and archaeological contexts. They will possess a critical basis from which to interpret ancient coin iconography as a primary source connected with art, religion and politics. They will bring rigour and precision to bear on the techniques of identification, dating and digitalizing data. They will be able to draw up, organize and interpret data censuses and create repertories and databases. They will be capable of collecting, selecting, processing, summarizing and logically organizing complex documentary data and information.

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: “Ancient Coinage as a Medium of Political Communication: The Use of Portraits.”


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.


  • C. Perassi, Similitudinem quidem immensa reputatio est (NH VII, 52). Evocazione, assimilazione, sovrapposizione nella ritrattistica monetale antica, in «Numismatica e Antichità Classiche», 43 (2014), pp. 169-202.
  • 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:

  • G. Gorini, L'immagine del potere nelle emissioni delle regine ellenistiche, in «Rivista Italiana di Numismatica», 103 (2002), pp. 307-318.

All bibliographic resources are available on the platform virtuale.unibo.it.

Teaching methods

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

Assessment methods

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

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.
  • Use of traditional tools and Numismatics-related electronic resources.

Office hours

See the website of Anna Morelli