Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stahl, The Rebirth of Antiquity: Numismatics, Archaeology, and Classical Studies in the Culture of the Renaissance

Alan M. Stahl, The Rebirth of Antiquity: Numismatics, Archaeology, and Classical Studies in the Culture of the Renaissance (2009), Princeton University Library (not Press!), 178 5x9’ pages, $40 (currently $35 on Amazon).

A collection of papers on Renaissance numismatics, edited by Alan Stahl, is now available on Amazon.com. I got a $20 copy in May after an e-Sylum announcement. I don't know if those copies are still available.

For $20 I was expecting a photocopied paperback. I received a quality hardcover.

All of the papers are about coin collecting except for Tamara Griggs' which is about antiquities dealers.

I found this book interesting even though I'm not curious about the Renaissance and collecting back then. I'm reasonably educated but not as well as Stahl's contributors — I had to consult a dictionary when reading this. The authors also like to throw in an Italian word here and there which did not help!

For the beginner I'd recommend Bassoli or maybe, if you can find it, Cunnally's Images of the Illustrious (Cunnally also contributed to this volume). If you already have those then you may want this.

2 comments:

RJO said...

One of the fascinating aspects of the Renaissance and Early Modern periods was "the discovery of the past" -- the recognition that by using reason, one could reconstruct forgotten events and lost objects and artifacts, even when there was no written testimony available. This way of thinking is behind many fields, from linguistics to geology to the study of ancient texts. I recommend Toulmin and Goodfield's magnificent book "The Discovery of Time" on this whole subject.

When was the first die study done in numismatics? Who first realized that a chronological sequence could be built from studying the die details of individual coins (as opposed to obvious things like the content of the inscription or an Emperor's name)?

Ed Snible said...

Les Grandes Numismates: Sylvester Sage Crosby (1831-​1914)” by John Kleeburg says Crosby invented the die study when working on large cents. Crosby published in 1869. Kleeburg says that Imhoof-Blumer independently reinvented the idea in 1878.

The “Numismates” article linked above is in English although the title is not!

Muenzgeschichte.ch has other brief numismatic biographies at http://www.muenzgeschichte.ch/inc/22801/6122.html.