Monnaies et gemmes antiques entre art, propagande et affirmation de soi
Edited by Matteo Campagnolo and Carlo-Maria Fallani
Photographs by Luigi Spina
This book is addressed to lovers of Antiquity and zoology buffs, as well as to a combination of the two. It takes an original, rigorously scientific and entertaining approach to 120 coins minted by the Roman Republic that have been collected by three generations of enlightened amateurs, plus intaglios, cameos and pâtes de verre. Silver denarii did not purely have the purpose of facilitating commercial transactions, paying the army and receiving tax payments: they were also vehicles for political propaganda, religious beliefs, and stories or legends used to bolster the reputation of families wishing to win renown for themselves. Refined individuals would engrave an animal or other representation on their seal, an image they hoped would offer them protection, comfort, and give them confidence in themselves — in short some kind of reassurance. In some cases they made copies in glass to give to their friends, an indication of how much these objects and their various significances are an invaluable, as well as inexhaustible, source of information.
Conceived by the collector, Carlo-Maria Fallani, De l’aigle à la louve [From the Eagle to the She-Wolf] takes the original approach of comparing coins with intaglios and cameos decorated with the same subject. Like the text that accompanies them, the photographs taken by Luigi Spina bring these antiquities to life, rousing them from a silence that has lasted some two thousand years.
A curator at the Cabinet de numismatique de la Ville de Génève (1955—2017), and a lecturer at the University of Geneva, Matteo Campagnolo — a classical historian and numismatist — is preparing the publication of the Ephemerides by Hellenist Isaac Casaubon and studies the relations between the information provided by numismatics and historical sources.
Luigi Spina is a photographer. His work focuses on amphitheatres and the civic dimension of the sacred, the links between art and faith, the search for ancient cultural roots, and the physical impact of classical sculpture. He has published L’Ora Incerta (2014), The Buchner Boxes (2014), Hemba (2017), and Mythical Diary (2017) and has collaborated with Valeria Sampaolo and 5 Continents Editions to create the series Oggetti rari e preziosi al Museo Archeologico di Napoli, which to date includes Memorie del Vaso Blu (2016), Amazzonomachia (2017), Centauri (2017), Sette sapienti e Zefiro e Clori (2018). He has also published The Dancers at the Villa of the Papyri for 5 Continents Editions’ Tailormade series.