Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Barbarous Radiates

Today I got two new barbarous radiates through the mail.

For those who don't already know barbarous radiates (or barbs as I'll call them from now on) were imitations of the antoninanus mostly produced during the anarchy of the third century.

As you can see below the locals were not so adept at cutting ides and the result is often a wonderfully picasso-esque portrait. Unfortunately on these two examples the die cutter was unable to form letters so I can't tell exactly who they are supposed to be but all the same they are a fun addition to any collection due to their individual style.

Why they were made is a bit of a mystery as they are not the same as a contemporary forgery. They are generally much smaller in size than an actual antoninanus. The two examples above are only about 15mm across in comparison to another ant I have of Tetricus which is about 19mm and a lot thicker.

Some argue that these coins were minted as small change during a period where the Empire was so unstable that usable coinage was limited. The coins would not be used in trading with Romans and were instead reserved as a local currency.

Anyway as I have to go to work I will leave you with a link to some good articles and sources on imitations for you to glance through and get a better picture of these wonderful specimens.


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