Author Topic: Ode to minimi  (Read 609 times)

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Offline Pellinore

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Ode to minimi
« on: August 29, 2015, 12:59:04 PM »
Three tiny coins that were in purgatory, but now are basking in a well-earned ray of joyful sunlight. As far as I know, coins like these are being called 'minimi', from nummus minimus, = smallest coin. Don't know the exact technical requirements, though. Max. 10 mm in diameter?

The right one I found yesterday in a corner behind a box, fallen out after I bought it, but I never missed it. A rare AE4 of the emperor Valentinian III (425-455) in very reasonable condition. 10,5 mm, 0,99 gr.

The one at the left was IN the box, overlooked for a year in a dark corner. A 'barb', 4th cent. imitation of a Constantinian Gloria Exercitus coin from Gaul or Britain. 7,5 mm, 0,70 gr.

The one in the middle was lost in an internet malfunction, but in the end I managed to buy it after all. A little Hunnic coin from Malwa in Northern India, MACW 4903, but it deserves more study. 7,0 mm, 0,50 gr.

I'm planning to treat them all three separately in the near future. 
-- Paul

Offline THCoins

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Re: Ode to minimi
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2015, 04:51:19 PM »
Nice little find !
As i do not focus on Romans, i do not really use the term minimi at all. No idea what the technical requirements are.
I have a bit of a prejudice that the Roman tiny coins mainly reflect the downfall of the empire. In Eastern coinage that is not so. There were some very beautifull small Greek, Seleukid and Indo-Greek obols posted here in the past.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Ode to minimi
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2015, 05:41:16 PM »
I have a bit of a prejudice that the Roman tiny coins mainly reflect the downfall of the empire.

The one on the left reminds me rather of the trade on the limes. We have by now overcome (but by how far?) Caesar's prejudices about the barbarians, finding that they were by far not as barbarous as he made them out and perfectly capable of doing what the empire, even with camp mints, was not able to do in sufficient quantity: provide coin. That coin speaks neither of war nor of decline, but rather about a measure of tolerance and trust and how that benefitted both sides in the absence of war and in spite of decline.

This requires more words I do not have the intention to write. My feeling is that the Roman empire at some point had become a disgusting, corrupt, decadent, unjust, murderous, cruel and dead-in-the-water machinery that no longer contributed to progress and development. Its decline was on balance a positive thing, in spite of the chaos and confusion that followed, as it allowed some novel thinking. Just one example: the horse's harness. It would have been considered pretty useless in the empire as the farmers had no horses and the army had almost no cavalry, but it got medieval food production and food distribution up to where the land could sustain more, healthier and stronger people.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.