Vespasian and the Blood of Richard the Lionheart

Event status:

Join us at Melbourne Museum to discover the intriguing history of a Roman gold coin struck in ancient Judea and discovered in the 19th century in the middle of England….

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Monday 16 September 2019 10:00 am (Add to calendar)
Gillian Shepherd
Presented by:
Prof. Christopher Howgego
Type of Event:
Public Lecture

It is rare for a single Roman coin find to excite, but a gold coin brought into the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford by a member of the public is an exception - for the coin itself, the context in which it was found, and for the history of collecting. The coin throws new light on both ancient Judaea and Britannia at pivotal moments in their history.

The coin dates to AD 70 and is unique. It bears a portrait of the emperor Vespasian and the earliest depiction of a standing figure of Justice on any Roman coin. It was found in Oxfordshire in the middle of the nineteenth century, and was soon acquired by one Martha Spriggs, an avid collector. The location of the find is all the more remarkable as the coin was struck not in Rome but in Judaea, quite possibly from gold from the recently destroyed Temple in Jerusalem.

Professor Christophe Howgego is Keeper of the Heberden Coin Room in the Ashmolean Museum and a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. He is also Professor of Greek and Roman Numismatics in the University of Oxford and holds an Honorary Professorship at the University of Warwick. His research examines how ancient coinage can contribute to our understanding of history. He is the author of Ancient History from Coins, which is currently available in six languages; his other publications explore issues such as why ancient states struck coins, on the supply and use of money in the Roman world, coin circulation and the integration of the Roman economy, coinage and identity in the Roman provinces, and on the process of monetisation of temperate Europe. He is also an editor of the series Roman Imperial Coinage and Roman Provincial Coinage. His current research is focused on the Antonine coinage of Roman Egypt (AD 138–192).


TAC Seminar Room, Melbourne Museum
11 Nicholson St, Melbourne 3053

Melbourne Museum

11 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC 3053



7th Aug 2020 3:03pm

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