The Roman Empire

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About this journal

After decades on numismatic hiatus, I have re-kindled my childhood passion for collecting coins.  The resulting odyssey has been both unexpected and fascinating.  My newfound obsession is collecting ancient coinage.

 

I focused initially on ancient Greece, and examples can be found in my NGC Ancients Custom Set entitled "The Ancient World Collection." While I highly admire ancient Greek coinage for historical importance and artistic splendor, I found myself inexorably drawn to its successor. For the next two millennia, Rome and the autocracies she spawned (the Roman Empire, followed by the Byzantine Empire) dominated the Mediterranean-centric world, leaving behind a plethora of coinage for modern-day contemplation.  Thus, I began compiling a new NGC Ancient Custom Set, which I named "The Roman Empire."

 

Admittedly, some ancient coin collectors eschew the concept of slabbing their coins.  For myself, I appreciate the confirmation of attribution and condition, not to mention air-tight security.  I also enjoy the concept of a custom set, whose contents I control.  Above all, coin collecting should be fun and informative, and these aspects came together in a special way for me in this collection.  Rome's history seemingly demanded that I research each coin and provide a synopsis in its Owner's Comments section.  In more than a few instances, I used the opportunity to explore synergies with other personal interests, whether historical, geographical, scientific, etc.

 

Within its inaugural year (2014) the collection grew to over 100 specimens and was noted "Best Ancient Set," and within the last four years the set has grown to over 200 specimens.  In 2017, I was pleased to earn the honor of "Best Ancient Set" for a second time.  Given the effort I have invested into this set, and the recognition it has received, I decided to I launch this journal which, like my acquisition, research and Owner's Comments for each new coin, is subject to serendipity.

Entries in this journal

 

Update to Roman Empire, Page 6, Crisis II, New Owner's Comments posted for Aquila Severa denarius

I just posted a new "Owners Comments" on Page 6 (Crisis) of my NGC ancients custom set "The Roman Empire."   This new essay is for a denarius featuring Auqila Severa.   My opening thesis is that Severa's reign was one of the most unusual among all Roman Empresses.  This statement is largely based on the belief that she was a vestal virgin, and thus sworn to 30 years of celibacy (and not allowed to marry).  Even though all the ancient histories mention she was a vestal virgin,

Kohaku

Kohaku

03/20/2018

 

Update to Roman Empire Page 9 (Crisis II) = Orbiana Denarius

The latest update on my NGC Ancients Custom Set entitled "The Roman Empire" is that I recently posted Owner's Comments for my denarius featuring Empress Orbiana, wife of Emperor Severus Alexander.     This coin is rare, with 14 examples mentioned in a seminal reference.  This specimen is in excellent state of preservation, NGC Ancients graded it as MS, Strike = 5/5, Surface = 3/5.      I had a bit of difficulty sorting through the information regarding Orbiana, since there is

Kohaku

Kohaku

05/27/2018

 

Update on The Roman Empire, Page 4 = SUCCESSION

The latest update to this page is that I finally finished up and posted my Owner's Comments regarding my ancient bronze "half unit" struck by Herod Antipas.   As is the case with many ancient rulers, Antipas' legacy is quite complex and open to interpretation, even to the extremes of villain or victim.   If anyone is interest in learning more, I encourage you to check out my Owners Comments. I have only two more coins to procure (Nero Claudius Drusus and Tiberius) and one more Owner's

Kohaku

Kohaku

12/20/2017

Last Reply:
12/24/2017

 

Update on Roman Empire, Page 6 Golden Age I, Marciana bronze featuring Pelops reverse

The latest update on the "Roman Empire" collection is that I finished and uploaded my Owner's Comments for my ancient bronze representing Marciana, sister of Emperor Trajan.   This particular coin features Pelops on the reverse, at least that is what the inscription and many sources lead me to believe, even if NGC provides the attribution with a question mark (admittedly, Pelops is usually depicted on a chariot, not on horseback).   In any case, the mythology surrounding Pelo

Kohaku

Kohaku

05/20/2018

 

Update on Roman Empire, Page 4 "Decadence" = Caligula bronze

The latest update to the my NGC Ancients Custom Set entitled "The Roman Empire" is that I finished and posted my Owner's Comments for my ancient bronze featuring the notorious Emperor Caligula.     While I don't want to go into the entirety of my comments, I will provide here an intriguing except...   In addition to scandalous accounts still sensationalized in modern media, Caligula left behind a rich and interesting coinage.  This bronze is of particular interest, contempora

Kohaku

Kohaku

05/10/2018

Last Reply:
05/20/2018

 

Update on Roman Empire collection, Page 10 = Crisis III

This Journal Entry provides an overview/update on Page 10 of my “Roman Empire” NGC Ancients custom (I previously have presented an overview/update on the first nine pages).  Like all the Pages of the collection, this one comprises 15 coins as presented in “Gallery Mode”.  The title for this Page, since it is third Page covering the Crisis of the Third Century is Crisis III.  The purpose of this overview/update is to not just to provide a brief description of each coin, but also some perspective

Kohaku

Kohaku

07/18/2018

Last Reply:
09/05/2018

Thrasamund and the Vandal Renaissance

New Owners Comments posted regarding my 50 denarii coin featuring Vandal King Thrasamund...   Careful scholarship reveals that the ancient people known as the Vandals turned out to be quite civilized. As the Western Roman Empire dissolved, the Vandals were one of several successor tribes rising to prominence. During the reign of King Thrasamund (450-523 AD), the level of cultural sophistication achieved has even been described as a Vandal Renaissance. When his brother, King Gunthamu

Kohaku

Kohaku

02/22/2019

 

The tragic tale of Roman Empress Galeria Valeria

The latest update on my Roman Empire NGC Ancients Custom Set is that I finished and posted my Owner's Comments for my ancient bronze follis featuring Roman Empress Galeria Valeria.   For this essay, I spent some time researching what appears to be the most widely cited primary source of information on Valeria, a book called De Mortibus Persecutorum written in 4th century AD by the imperial advisor Lactantius.  Lactiantius' account is necessarily biased, yet even so provides some very i

Kohaku

Kohaku

09/23/2018

Last Reply:
12/31/2018

 

The Goddess Mother, with Cornelia Supera

Another update...I just posted my latest Owner's Comments.  This time, the coin is an ancient Roman provincial bronze featuring the obverse bust of Empress Cornelia Supera, wife of Emperor Aemilian, who reigned only a few short months.  As such, Cornelia's coins, including this one, are all rare, and represent the only source of information about her.   The reverse features the goddess Cybele, and Anatolian goddess whose cult was adopted by Rome as a safeguard during the second Punic W

Kohaku

Kohaku

06/17/2018

The Founding of Rome: The Tale of Romulus & Remus

Newly Edited and Re-Posted Owners Comments posted on an ancient denarius featuring Roma, Romulus and Remus, part of the Roman Empire Custom NGC Ancients Set... According to ancient mythology, the Trojan prince Paris presided as judge over which goddess was fairest: Hera, Athena, or Aphrodite. To aid the decision process, each deity paraded nude before him – inviting centuries of artistic interpretation – and offered the choice of an enticing bribe: world domination (Hera), military prowess

Kohaku

Kohaku

03/10/2019

Last Reply:
03/12/2019

The Elephant and the Snake

Newly Edited and Re-Posted Owners Comments posted on an ancient denarius struck by Julius Caesar,  part of the Roman Empire Custom NGC Ancients Set...   Ancient coins provide us with a palpable link to a specific time and place in history. Their wondrous, diverse iconography frequently epitomizes the setting in which they were struck. More than a means for exchanging goods and services, they publicized - and even influenced – the very course of ancient history. A notable example is thi

Kohaku

Kohaku

03/16/2019

Last Reply:
03/19/2019

The Coin That Killed Caesar

Newly Edited and Re-Posted Owners Comments posted on an ancient denarius struck by Julius Caesar when he reigned as Rome's Dictator for Life,  part of the Roman Empire Custom NGC Ancients Set...   The Coin That Killed Caesar is the dramatic epithet attached to denarii, such as this example, featuring a lifetime portrait of Julius Caesar.  Before that time, Rome’s coinage had never portrayed the face of a living Roman.  Beyond breaking from numismatic tradition, these coins also proclai

Kohaku

Kohaku

03/19/2019

Last Reply:
03/21/2019

Rome's Greatest General

Newly Edited and Re-Posted Owners Comments posted on an ancient bronze sestertius featuring Nero Claudius Drusus, part of the Roman Empire Custom NGC Ancients Set...   Even before he was born, Nero Claudius Drusus (38 – 9 BC) had already become somewhat of a celebrity. Also known as Drusus I or Drusus the Elder, he was born a mere three months after his mother, Livia Drusilla, married Octavian, who later emerged as Rome’s Augustus.  Presumably, the elder Drusus’ sire was Livia’s previo

Kohaku

Kohaku

02/28/2019

Last Reply:
03/01/2019

 

Roman Empire, Page 9 = CRISIS II

This new "Journal Entry" provides an update on the 9th Page of my NGC Ancient Custom Set entitles "The Roman Empire". This Page is 82% complete (12 coins out of 15 slots).  Two of the twelve coins are pending my detailed Owner’s Comments. Here is a link to the Collection… https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetGallery.aspx?s=16365 Here is the synopsis for the Page, entitled "CRISIS II”… The Crisis of the Third Century intensifies as numerous Augusti

Kohaku

Kohaku

11/24/2017

Last Reply:
12/20/2017

 

Roman Empire, Page 8 = CRISIS I

This new “Journal Entry” provides an update on the 8th Page of my NGC Ancient Custom Set entitled “The Roman Empire.” This Page is 73% complete (11 coins out of 15 slots). Here is a link to the Collection… https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetGallery.aspx?s=16365   Here is the synopsis for the Page, entitled "CRISIS I”…   The Empire heads into turnoil, marked by the tumultuous Year of Five Emperors (193 AD) and the subsequent rise of the

Kohaku

Kohaku

11/19/2017

Last Reply:
11/23/2017

 

Roman Empire, Page 7 = GOLDEN AGE II

This new “Journal Entry” provides an update on the 7th Page of my NGC Ancient Custom Set entitled “The Roman Empire.”   This Page is 80% complete (12 coins out of 15 slots).   Here is a link to the Collection… https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetGallery.aspx?s=16365   Here is the synopsis for the Page, entitled "GOLDEN AGE II”… Rome's prosperity continues under the leadership of Antonine dynasts who reigned until late 2nd century AD.

Kohaku

Kohaku

11/16/2017

Last Reply:
11/17/2017

 

Roman Empire, Page 6 = GOLDEN AGE I

Don't let me hear you say life's taking you nowhere, angel…Run for the shadows in these golden years…I'll stick with you baby for a thousand years…Nothing's gonna touch you in these golden years…- David Bowe   This new “Journal Entry” provides an update on the 6th Page of my NGC Ancient Custom Set entitled “Golden Age I”.  While the Roman Empire’s golden age failed to last a thousand years, it endured long enough to merit more than one Page herein, hence the Roman numeral included

Kohaku

Kohaku

10/15/2017

Last Reply:
10/21/2017

 

Roman Empire, Page 5 = PERSEVERANCE

This new “Journal Entry” provides an update on the 5th Page of my NGC Ancient Custom Set entitled “The Roman Empire.” This Page is 67% complete (10 coins out of 15 slots), and for one of those 10 coins my “Owner’s Comments” are pending. Here is a link to the Collection… https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetGallery.aspx?s=16365 Here is the synopsis for the Page, entitled "PERSEVERANCE": The Empire weathers a civil war culminating in the rise of Emperor Ves

Kohaku

Kohaku

10/01/2017

Last Reply:
10/03/2017

 

Roman Empire, Page 4 = DECADENCE

This new “Journal Entry” provides an update on the 4th Page of my NGC Ancient Custom Set entitled “The Roman Empire.” This Page is 100% complete (15 coins out of 15 slots), although three of my “Owner’s Comments” are pending.  I will update this journal entry as I complete those essays.   Here is a link to the Collection… https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetGallery.aspx?s=16365   Here is the synopsis for the Page, entitled "DECADENCE”…

Kohaku

Kohaku

09/20/2017

Last Reply:
11/30/2017

 

Roman Empire, Page 3 = SUCCESSION

This new “Journal Entry” provides an update on the third Page of my NGC Ancient Custom Set entitled “The Roman Empire.”   This Page is 80% complete (12 coins out of 15 slots).  For one of the those 12 coins, I still have not completed my “Owner’s Comments.”   Here is a link to the Collection…   https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetGallery.aspx?s=16365   Here is the synopsis for the Page, entitled "SUCCESSION”…   Julio-Claudia

Kohaku

Kohaku

09/03/2017

Last Reply:
11/28/2017

 

Roman Empire, Page 2 = GENESIS

This new “Journal Entry” provides an update on the second Page of my NGC Ancient Custom Set entitled “The Roman Empire.”  It is satisfying to report that, following the grading results of my Herod The Great ancient bronze, and after finalizing my Owner’s Comments of that coin… Page #2 is now COMPLETE!   Here is a link to the Collection…   https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetGallery.aspx?s=16365   Here is the synopsis for the Page, entitled "GEN

Kohaku

Kohaku

08/25/2017

Last Reply:
08/26/2017

 

Roman Empire, Page 1 = PRELUDE

I am creating a "Journal Entry" for page "Page" (grouping of 15 coins) in the Gallery view for my Roman Empire Custom Set.   To that end, this journal entry is for the first Page in the collection, which I have entitled "Prelude," with the goal to  provide a good introduction to the geography, peoples, political climate, etc. that existed just prior to Rome converting from Republic to Empire.  Here is the synopsis...   Prelude. The saga begins with coins from mid 2nd to 1st c

Kohaku

Kohaku

08/16/2017

Last Reply:
08/24/2017

 

Owner's Comments posted for Gordian I Alexandrian tetradrachm

Just a quick note to say that I finally finished and posted Owner's Comments for my Alexandrian tetradrachm featuring Roman Emperor Gordian I.   Gordian I was an interesting fellow, one of richest and most learned of all Rome's  Emperors.  Gordian I rose to power in March 238 AD, a year that is infamously known to history as the Year of the Six Emperors.  He was eighty years old when he and his son took on the challenges to rule the Empire as co-Augusti.   Their reign lasted

Kohaku

Kohaku

09/04/2018

 

NGC Registry Awards

I wanted to send out a particular congratulations to rmw, jackson64, and gherrmann44 for distinction on their excellent Collectors' Journals!   Regarding this Journal Entry, I am pleased to see my own Roman Empire collection receive a second-time Best Ancients Set (my previous accolade was in 2014, so this ends a bit of a "dry spell" for me!).  I wonder about what it would take to be acknowledged as Most Informative or Most Creative NGC Custom Set, and I always find myself amazed when

Kohaku

Kohaku

01/06/2018

Last Reply:
01/13/2018

 

New Owners Comment's, The Roman Empire, Page 12 "Resurgence", Divus Nigrinian

There was not a lot to talk about for this coin, except that is bears the half-length (some employ the descriptor “heroic”) bust of about Marcus Aurelius Nigrinianus (died circa 284 AD), who was probably the son of Emperor Carinus.   It is interesting to note that a review of electronically available information revealed eleven examples of this coin, comprising what appear to be only three, very similar and high-quality obverse die types (excluding slight variations presumably applied

Kohaku

Kohaku

03/26/2018