In this issue I will review three excellent ancient numismatic websites. These reviews were previously posted to my blog, but I felt that the sites were deserving of mention to a much broader audience:
The Facing Head Coins of Larissa - A website
Some of the most beautiful works of numismatic art are ancient Greek coins. Among the more impressive coins are the Silver facing head coins of Larissa.
The Facing Head Coins of Larissa website is dedicated to these masterpieces. Just about everything you ever wanted to know about these coins. From a PDF file that contains an “Identification Key”, Easy reference of obverse dies, ancient maps and hundreds of photographs.
A great deal of work, thought and research went into designing this website. Worthy of being added to your “Ancient Numismatics Favorites”.
The Handbook of Biblical Numismatics
The Handbook of Biblical Numismatics. (Introduction page, you can click “Index” and “Next>” at the bottom of the page to navigate the book)
This eBook is actually pretty good! It is made available by “The Jewish Museum in Cyberspace” and does a pretty good job of covering most of the Jewish and Jewish related Biblical coins series with some decent biographical data.
My only “criticisms” are that the images are rather poor in many cases, appearing to have been scanned from Black and White print. (But for the most part they are fairly clear) The second criticism is that they do not provide Hendin numbers for the coin illustrations. While not a necessity, David Hendin’s book Guide to Biblical Coins has become the “bible” on biblical coins and has become the primary reference for the series.
Overall a brief introduction to the various Jewish biblical coin series with good historical and biographical data. (I have not “checked” all of the information in this book, but the sections I read through appeared to be well written and did not contain any factual errors) Also, it was written in such a way that it does not read as a “religious” publication.
Cudos to the Jewish Museum in Cyberspace and Mel Wacks for making this book available to the public!
Parthia.com - A website Dedicated to Parthian History and Numismatics
An EXCELLENT resource that discusses Parthian history in great detail and does a very thorough job of cataloging Parthian coins is http://parthia.com. This is one of the BEST numismatic sites you will find and is incredible in the amount of information it contains on all things Parthian. Created and maintained by Chris Hopkins, this site is an incredible work of numismatic and historic scholarship.
What is so special about the Parthians?
In a span of just over 1,600 years of ancient history hundreds of civilizations struck coins. Many of them did so in their own name and some in the name of a “greater” power such as the Roman’s.
The Parthian Empire occupied part of present day Iran and Turkmenistan. Ruling from 247 B.C. to A.D. 228 in the Parthians defeated the successors of Alexander the Great, the Seleucids, conquered most of the Middle East and southwest Asia and controlled the “Silk Road” (Per Wikipedia, the Silk Road was are an extensive interconnected network of trade routes across the Asian continent connecting East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean world, including North Africa and Europe.)
Of all of the civilizations that struck coins, the Parthian’s are among the most interesting and mysterious. Quite a bit of what is known of Parthian history has been learned from the coins struck by the “Parthian Empire”. There are also coins which were struck by the Romans to commemorate victories over the Parthian (in some cases such declarations of victory were premature and in others they were paid for!)