Identity, religion and empire: the civic coins of Roman Phoenicia

Webster, Olivia (2019) Identity, religion and empire: the civic coins of Roman Phoenicia. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This thesis will examine the role that religious imagery on civic coinage played in the expression of identities and religious mentality in Roman Phoenicia. This medium comprised low-value bronze currency, which was produced by individual cities for primarily local use. Their reverses preserve a vast corpus of imagery but, despite this repository of visual evidence, there are only a few studies that engage with the material and none that focus solely on Phoenicia. When working with numismatic evidence there has been a tendency either to accept the images shown as completely realistic, or to reject the informative potential of designs outright. This approach aims to seek a middle ground between these extremes: to accept the limitations and challenges of numismatic material, but also to demonstrate its validity as a resource.

The aim of this thesis is to collate religious types – images of deities and sacred architecture – from a range of cities, to ask what they can reveal about how these cities wished to represent themselves to both inter- and intra-communal audiences, and how the communicative potential of coin reverses were exploited. In addition to using civic coins to explore identities on a local level, this thesis will also ask to what extent their designs interacted with the concept of a provincial Phoenician identity. It will also explore the impact of Roman authority and cultural influences, to examine what it meant to be Phoenician during the Roman period.

Chapter One will conduct a survey of prior approaches to cultural exchange and interaction will be undertaken, and the methodology will be established. Chapter Two will address the practical function of civic coinage – how it looked, how it was produced, how it circulated – as well as exploring how previous studies have handled coin types as evidence. The following two chapters will divide the numismatic material into representations of deities and temples before being thoroughly analysed to ask what messages they can reveal. The final chapter will apply the findings of previous chapters to the city goddess Tyche, to examine her role in representing the city on coin types, and assess the wider implications for civic coins in terms of local, provincial, and imperial identities.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Bradley, M
Kropp, AJM
Mattingly, DJ
Keywords: Rome; Roman; Phoenicia; Syria; Roman Syria; civic coins; Greek imperials; religion; religious mentality; identity; Romanisation; Tyche; Roman provincial coinage; Roman Near East
Subjects: C Auxiliary sciences of history > CJ Numismatics
D History - General and Old World > DS Asia
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 56033
Depositing User: Webster, Olivia
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2019 13:25
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 11:17
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/56033

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