When Alfred ruled over the West Saxons in the 9th century, Vikings raided Britain, his homeland. Alfred forged an alliance between numerous small realms and drove out the invaders. You can see his picture on this silver penny.
This time we have a so-called half siliqua of Theodoric the Great, King of the Ostrogoths. He ruled over Italy from AD 493 to 526, with the favour of the powerful Eastern Roman Emperor Anastasius I. That’s why we see the portrait of Anastasius on the obverse.
Today’s puzzle shows us how the Roman Empire moved its centre of power around 300: on this solidus, Roma presents the globe to Emperor Constantine the Great. From then on, it was no longer the old lady on the Tiber who played first fiddle but the metropolis on the Bosporus.
The Roman Empire was terrified of this man: Shapur II, King of the Sasanian Empire, is shown on this stater wearing the typical dress of his people. His crown, on the other hand, is quite unique: no other king wore a lion scalp with a globe in the form of an artichoke.
Northern India experienced a period of prosperity around 400 under the Gupta dynasty. King Chandragupta II not only promoted arts and culture, he was also called the “world conqueror”. With bow and arrow, Chandragupta shows his martial side on this golden dinar.
Vespasianus had to balance the budget – and created a tax for using public urinals. Smelling at the coins, the pragmatist stated: “It does not stink!“ Neither does this denarius. But you can look directly into the face of the cunning politician that Vespasianus was!
Today you will deal with a Roman denarius and put the head of Roma together. The personification of the Roman people on this 141 BC silver coin has a proud glare, but the special feature of this specimen is something completely different.
Today you can try your hand at a cistophorus. The silver coin was named after its motif – a basket with a snake. This “cista mystica” was part of the Bacchus cult and is depicted on the early version of this denomination from Asia Minor.
In ancient times, Messina’s wealth stemmed from its protected harbour. It was formed by a crescent-shaped headland, which is the reason for its Greek name: Zancle, i.e. “scythe”. You can find the scythe on Messina’s coins too. Put it together and have a close look!
This tetradrachm from Syracuse (around 500 BC) features an important innovation: an actual depiction on the reverse! In the incuse square you can see the head of Arethusa, which was later to occupy the entire reverse.
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