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The coinage of the cities

Vera Sauer

Coins are not merely money. The texts and images on coins make them a medium of communication: the only mass medium known in antiquity.

From the early imperial period to the mid-third century AD, the cities of inland Pontos struck bronze coins for local circulation. Many of these have been preserved, and the National Museum in Copenhagen, among others, holds a collection. The city coinages are an important source for the self-perception and self-representation of the citizens and the political class, their relations to the other cities of the region, to their province, to the empire as a whole, and not least to the imperial dynasty.

Starting from a comprehensive survey of all known coin series, including those brought to light by recent surveys, the first step will be to establish which cities used which coin images during which period. This will lay the groundwork for a comparative investigation of nine key questions. The answer to these questions will contribute to our understanding of the processes of provincialisation and urbanisation, especially their chronology. They will also contribute decisively to the study of urban self-perceptions, regional organisation, and emperor-worship.