|Roman Republican Coins and Books by Andrew McCabe|
My Commentaries on Roman Republican Coinage since 2009
This is an educational site about Roman Republican coins and related books, and this page is an archive of the commentaries I've written from time to time since 2009. From my homepage you can find links to over two thousand coins, illustrated and described, including a complete history of Roman Republican Coinage,, and you can read reviews of hundreds of books and articles about the coins and their history. There are also many original short essays, some that take a detailed look at a coin series, and others that chart the development of coinage from the Roman kings through the end of the Roman Republic. Numismatic literature is the right word for the books, but the spirit of this website aims for shorter words and a lighter approach. I wrote it just for fun, and comments about the books are subjective and my own opinion. If you have read something that I would like, or if you have a comment about this website, please contact me either via the yahoo group RROME or by clicking on any picture on this site and writing in the comment box, or by adding a comment in the box on my home page. If you would like to explore the complete content of this site please visit my homepage There is nothing for sale here. Happy reading!
This new home page is the most significant update since 2009, and addresses two major improvements, in the structure, indexing and navigation aids of my home page, and in introducing a Crawford RRC-based illustrated catalogue of Roman Republican coins, directly on this website rather than accessed via my photo database on Flickr.
First, the home page index system has been redesigned around the different forms of content on the site, coins, book reviews and articles, regardless where this content is stored on the various web-pages of the site. Hence if you are seeking a book review or information about numismatic books on a given topic, these can be found by scrolling down to the book review section of this home page or by clicking on this button:
From time to time I have added specialist articles in various places on my website, usually associated with the theme of a particular web-page. Sometimes these articles have been difficult to find at a later time. So I have listed all these articles on the home page, and they can be found by scrolling down to the specialist article section of this home page or by clicking on this button:
At regular intervals since 2009 I have also written short personal commentaries on the home page, in the form of a blog posting that I updated every few months, and the text I am currently writing is typical of such postings. Over time these have caused the home page to extend more and more in length. So I have now moved these older postings to a dedicated commentaries web-page. I will continue to write the most recent postings direct on my home page but all older posts can be found on the blog page, also available by clicking on this button:
Whilst the content of my existing web-pages remains unchanged, I am retiring the historic index system which arranged my web-pages according to themes. The theme-based pages became, over time, too complex. However I have replaced these with a full listing of my current webpages, with a brief indication of their content, at the bottom of my home page (i.e. just above this commentary section). I also include direct links to my Flickr photo-sets on this page and on every other web-page on my site.
Second, there is a new presentation of coins of the Roman Republic, arranged strictly by Crawford RRC number, with photos shown to the correct relative scale and with my commentary. This new presentation can be found at the top of this home page broken into 20 sections arranged by RRC number. Each page within this new presentation includes the index to all other sections of the catalogue. A key feature of this presentation is that all the photographs were taken against the same size background, so it is easily seen that all coins are exactly to scale. The first page covers Early Roman Coinage and the last, twentieth page covers the Battle of Actium and its coinage, with the history of Roman coinage unfolding between the two sections. The photos are shown in large dimensions, as per examples below, and the click-throughs lead to enlargements double this size. So these new web-pages will make the most of your fast broadband and high-density pixel displays!
Andrew McCabe, January 2013.
When this site was launched in 2004, it had a text-only focus on book reviews. In 2009 the site was relaunched to focus in equal measure on photographs and books about Roman Republican coins. The photos were, and are still, linked to my database on Flickr. At the time of the 2009 relaunch, many Roman Republican coin types could only be seen on this site and were not available elsewhere on the internet. Many of the pictures dated from a decade ago. They were of fine quality for their time but the quality expectations from digital photography have increased immeasurably. At the same time, the availability of high quality coin photographs on other venues has also increased. For example the RBW collection catalogues in NAC auctions 61 and 63 gives collectors access to a high quality collection covering nearly all Roman Republican coin types. These two sales remain available here:
RBW collection, first part, early Roman Coinage to the Social War, in NAC61
RBW collection, second part, from the Social War to the Civil Wars and the end of the Roman Republic, in NAC63
So a refresh of the photos on this site is now due. This refresh has two parts.
First: one of the foremost collectors of Roman Republican coins, Phillip Davis, has kindly allowed me to photograph some coins from his collection and to integrate these photos with my own coins. The Phillip Davis collection coins are of the highest quality and form a significant improvement to the average quality of the coins on this site. Examples are shown in the three-coin banner above, from which the superb quality of these coin should be apparent! Some of my older coins can now be retired in favour of examples from the Davis collection.
Second: I have taken new photographs of many coin coins with problem surfaces - coins that have reflective surfaces, or surface corrosion, or mottled or dark patinas. Examples are shown in the three-coin banner above. Over 150 reshot photos can be found here. My focus was on coins that proved particularly difficult to photograph, and not on the finest or rarest examples. The new photos were taken with a Sony NEX-3 camera with an E-mount macro lens, in shaded outdoor daylight conditions against a grey background. Whilst the coins have been displayed on my site for many years, hopefully these new pictures will allow them to be seen in a better light.
For some time I have directed people interested in coin pictures to the text list of coin sets on this website. Experience has shown that a direct entry to the Flickr site is preferred, and I think it is best to invite visitors to the the entry page for my collections on Flickr; a picture of this site is shown below - which can be clicked to directly enter the picture site:
I invite all to enjoy this new photo presentation!
Andrew McCabe, August 2012
As part of the August 2012 refresh, I realised a long-held ambition to provide a series of illustrated web-pages showing all the RRC varieties of the coins of Luceria (Lucera in modern Italy) and Canusium (Canosa in modern Italy), and thereby to provide a baseline for further study of the series. This presentation should help people to identify coins in this notoriously difficult series. The catalogue, on the following set of linked web-pages, should be read alongside Roman Republican Coinage, Michael H. Crawford, Cambridge, 1974, to which the catalogue numbers refer.
Lucera - Luceria L, RRC 43
Lucera - Luceria L, RRC 97
Lucera - Luceria LT, RRC 98
Lucera - Luceria P, RRC 99
Canosa - Canusium CA, RRC 100
The coin descriptions indicate characteristics of their designs which should serve as a basis for a future classification. For example, there are a number of coins which are described as having 'bulbous prowstems', which have a star engraved on the side of the prow, and which are of consistently heavy weight standard, are of a common engraving style, and all have thick flans. There is another group of Luceria L types, again of heavy weight, that are always struck on broad thin flans, and that have very different engraving style and design characteristics (for example, placement of mintmarks, shape of prow) when compared with the 'bulbous prowstem' group, but that have very close links to the coinage of the RRC 98 LT series. In a future reclassification of these coins, I would be minded to group coins together based on such characteristics. I have also noted many minor varieties of the coinage that were not specifically identified in RRC. In many cases these varieties can be subsumed under an existing RRC number. In other cases I have felt it necessary to introduce additional numbers, for example my new group RRC 97B, for types not included in RRC.
However the purpose of these web-pages is not (yet) to reclassify, but to present the coinage exactly as classified by Michael Crawford in RRC. This should be regarded as a baseline study.