Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Collecting Ancient Coins: a Noblesse Oblige

Collecting ancient coins has been since since the days of Augustus Caesar, a respectable and beneficial social avocation for those in the nobility who found that they had time on their hands. Some of their collections, such as those of the de Este family, became world famous.

Present times are justly criticized for retreating from and abandoning once socially respectable avocations, among which collecting ancient coins must rank at the very forefront.

To this observer it seems clear that the archaeological blogosphere, infamously personified by Paul Barford, has never yet nor ever will advance any argument credibly maintaining that collecting ancient coins is in any way a threat to archaeology.

Thus this observer believes that it is important that we should celebrate historical collectors of ancient coins,  beginning with state banquets of Augustus Caesar in which these coins were awarded as party favors.

This observer will conclude with a philosophical observation:

The study of ancient societies is in every respect honorable and socially beneficial. The study of their artifacts, including  their coinage, significantly contributes to knowledge of their cultures and history, and is likewise honorable and beneficial.

Pseudo-archaeologists (without recent active field excavation credentials) who maintain that the study of ancient artifacts - including coinage - threatens archaeology lack credibility, and have no factual basis for their opinions which should be discounted.

Whilst pseudo-archaeologists will no doubt continue to campaign against the socially beneficial avocation of collecting ancient coins, it is sensible and pertinent to inquire as to exactly what their activities have uncovered that (in their opinion) supports their negative assertions.

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2 Comments:

Blogger John H said...

I am at a loss to understand your concern about Barford. Were he of some importance, or of great numismatic influence, I might understand your concern.

He is on no importance whatsoever. His judgement (such as it is) is open to scrutiny and challenge. Perhaps his greatest achievement I suggest, is foregoing the intellectual and political freedoms of the West, in favour of the strictures of Communist Poland.

He is not even in you league!

10:47 AM  
Blogger Barnum said...

John H. Mr. Barford knows pretty much everything. If you don't believe me just ask him...

5:58 AM  

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