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Translatio nummorum – The perception of classical antiquity via ancient coins by antiquaries in the Renaissance

The aim of the three-years project, situated in the field of the history of sciences, was a comparative analysis of the image of ancient culture and history from BC 49 to AD 96 drafted by scientists and antiquaries in the Renaissance on the basis of ancient coins.
The Institute of Art History in Florence, Italy, (KHI) digitised main parts of numismatic literature in its library, from Andrea Fulvio to Francesco Angeloni, and created the "Digital Corpus of Numismatic Books in Early Modern Times" on its website, which can be consulted free of charge.

The Numismatic Collection in Berlin, the largest coin collection in Germany provided the opportunity to study the original coins and thus to verify the literary tradition. The Numismatic Collection described and took photos of all its coins from Caesar to Domitian and presents them online in the interactive catalogue.

The literature of the 16th and the early 17th century on ancient coins, digitised by the KHI, was analysed within the Census Project. The focus was on the emissions from Gaius Iulius Caesar to the end of the Flavian dynasty. The reproductions and descriptions of the coins by the antiquaries were integrated in the database of the Census and the data-files are linked with the full-texts. The reproductions of the Renaissance were confronted with the verified original ancient coin types, which mainly are to be found in the Numismatic Collection in Berlin. On this basis the methods of numismatic research in early modern times could be analysed.

This project focused on the history of the Roman Empire as well as on the 16th century and examined the approach to classical antiquity in the Renaissance. The new digital corpus of the numismatic literature of early modern times, the extension of the database of the Berlin Coin Collection and the establishment of the Census of ancient coins known in the Renaissance offers rich research material to the international scientific community and initiated further studies in the fields of art history, numismatics and archaeology.

The three partner projects worked under the following titles:

  • Digitales Corpus der antiquarischen Literatur zu antiken Münzen in der frühen Neuzeit (BMBF-Förderkennzeichen 01UB0908B)
  • Gelehrte Reflexion und numismatische Realität. Dokumentation und Publikation der Bestände des Münzkabinetts von Iulius Caesar bis zu Domitian im Interaktiven Katalog (BMBF-Förderkennzeichen 01UB0908C)
  • Interpretation antiker Münzbilder in der Renaissance – die Anfänge der Numismatik (BMBF-Förderkennzeichen 01UB0908A)
Kontakt / Contact

Sitz / office:
Georgenstr. 47, 10117 Berlin
2. OG / second floor
tel.: ++ 49-30-20 93 66 250
fax: ++ 49-30-20 93 66 251

Anschrift / postal address:
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte / Census
Unter den Linden 6
D - 10099 Berlin

Online-Ausstellung / Online Exhibition