Dateline May 17, 2016: Divers in the ancient Israeli port city of Caesarea discovered some amazing items from the floor of the harbor last month, leading to the discovery of a treasure trove of ancient Roman coins and other artifacts that sank with a cargo ship some 1,600 years ago. The details of this find are documented by Fox Science News.
The coins in the find include “44 pounds of coins bearing the images of the emperor Constantine, who ruled the Western Roman Empire from 312 to 324 A.D. and was later known as Constantine the Great, ruler of the Roman Empire from 324 to 337 A.D.; and of Licinius, Constantine’s rival, who ruled the eastern part of the Roman Empire”.
According to the Israeli Antiquites Authority, a discovery such as this one hasn’t been made for at least 30 years.
Ancient Coins: A View into History
The collection and study of ancient coins provides us with a portal to history. In this case the image of Emperor Constantine on some of these coins reminds us of Imperial Roman Rule. Constantine made Christianity the religion of the empire. The city of Constantinople (now Istanbul) was named in his honor. Indeed, despite his prowess, he had some competitors, as indicted by the image of Licinius on some of the other coins. To this day, the name Constantine is popular in many eastern European countries.
Other Notable Recent Finds of Ancient Coins
Coins from antiquity are found from time to time, although certainly not on a daily basis. Shipwrecks are located, divers are searching, metal detector hobbyists are working, and casual discoveries are made. Recently, a hiker in Israel made a stunning find of an well-preserved rare Roman coin. Shipwrecks often yield fantastic troves of long-lost and highly valuable coins. Recent discoveries off the coast of Colombia and Florida are two good examples of amazing shipwreck finds.
Collecting Ancient Coins
Although many people collect coins, relatively few collectors focus on coins from antiquity. Roman coins, in particular, are interesting. Rome was the ruler of the known world; inscriptions and designations on their coins reflect their imperial power and details about their civilization.
Museums, particularly European and Middle Eastern ones, often have extravagant collections of Roman, Greek, Egyptian and other antique coins. But most of us cannot get to these museums on a regular basis.
We can, however, study and collect these coins. For more on Ancient Roman and Greek coins, be sure to check this out:
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