University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Classical Art/Classical Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: Inscribed Objects: Roman Coins and Latin Inscriptions (CACA10021)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course aims to enable students to read, examine and interpret Roman coins and Latin inscriptions, mostly of the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD. Participants will learn how inscribed objects can provide them with a fuller picture of the history and archaeology of the Roman Empire.
Course description Roman coins and Latin inscriptions are amongst the most important sources for Roman imperial history and archaeology. No other imperial propaganda tool circulated as widely as coins, no other inscribed objects were produced in similar quantities and (apart from pottery) no other category of artefact is as important for dating Roman sites and archaeological contexts. Unlike mass-produced coins and other portable objects, inscriptions on stone tend to relate to local events (e.g. personal life stories of, or religious dedications by, members of the local community, building projects, etc.). For crucial aspects of Roman political, religious, economic and social history (such as the lives of people in the provinces) inscriptions are an important, if not the only, source.
Despite their significance, coins and inscriptions, unless cited by a secondary author, are often ignored by a high proportion of archaeologists as well as some historians. This course aims to provide students with the skills to understand and interpret coin legends and images and the text of basic Latin inscriptions. Identifying individual coins will form as much part of the course as gaining the ability to correctly interpret larger assemblages, be they votive deposits from temples or sacred springs, or personal savings hidden in times of crisis. Placing coins and inscriptions in their proper archaeological and historical context is the ultimate goal.
The ability to make the most of the two principal categories of inscribed objects from Roman Antiquity will provide students with a richer and more varied understanding of life in the Roman world.
No prior knowledge of Latin is required. Neither, however, will it be possible to avoid dealing with basic Latin. Inscriptions and coin legends include a limited number of recurring and frequently abbreviated Latin terms. While a willingness to deal with and memorise such key terms is essential, deciphering inscriptions and coin legends is much easier than commonly thought.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students MUST have passed 2 of the following courses: The Roman World 1B: The Roman Empire (CLGE08004), Classical Archaeology 2b: Materials and Methods (CACA08010), Ancient History 2b: Themes and Theories in Ancient History (ANHI08013), Latin 2A (LATI08011), Latin 2B (LATI08012)
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics related subject matter(at least 2 of which should be in Roman Imperial Archaeology/Ancient History and/or Latin courses) at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to identify some Roman coins, the ability to date a significant proportion of coins and inscriptions and the ability to assess the significance of different categories of inscriptions;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to interpret a significant proportion of coin legends and the ability to know and explain some key terms featuring on inscriptions or in coin legends;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, some knowledge of the economic significance of coinage;
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, some knowledge on the importance of coinage as a source for Roman history and the ability to explain some aspects of political, religious, social and economic history illuminated by inscriptions;
  5. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to interpret the significance of larger coin assemblages, their date and the reasons for their concealment, loss or deposition.
Reading List
Cagnat, R., 1898 Cours d'épigraphie latine, 3rd edn, Paris.
Casey, P.J., 1994 Roman coinage in Britain, Princes Risborough: Shire Archaeology 12.
Casey, P.J. and Reece, R. (eds), 1988 Coins and the Archaeologist, 2nd edn, London.
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum.
Crawford, M., 1974 Roman Republican Coinage, London.
Hill, P.V., Kent. J.P.C. and Carson, R.A.G., 1960 Late Roman Bronze Coinage, London.
Howgego, C.J., 1995 Ancient History from Coins, London and New York.
Keppie, L., 1991 Understanding Roman inscriptions, London.
Reece, R., 1986 Identifying Roman coins, London.
Roman Imperial Coinage, 1st edn, I-X and 2nd edn, I-II.1, 1923-2007, London.
The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, vols I, II.1-8, 1965-1995.
Roman Provincial Coinage, vols I-II, 1992-1999.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information In selected weeks there will be a 3 o'clock tutorial on Tuesdays. This tutorial hour will take the place of one of the regular lecture hours in that week. The weeks in question and arrangements are detailed in the course handbook.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Eberhard Sauer
Tel: (0131 6)50 3587
Course secretaryMs Elaine Hutchison
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information