Making Fake Roman Coins in 1st Century India (!)

Very interesting item from the Deccan Herald:

For those who think financial fraud or circulating fake currencies is a modern day phenomenon, an ancient Roman coin mould on display at the Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage in the city is a startling revelation.

The Roman coin mould, which is being displayed for the first time since its excavation in 1993, indicates that fake coins were in circulation around 19 to 20 centuries ago. The terracotta mould is among the most important objects displayed at the exhibition, apart from terracotta figurines, iron objects, bronze dies, stone beads.

M S Krishnamurthy, a retired professor of Archaeology who led the team that unearthed the mould, told Deccan Herald that it was a mould for Roman coins in circulation during the first century AD. “The coins probably were minted either during the period of Augustus or his son Tiberius,” he said.

“In the area where we spotted the mould, a foundry with a crucible was also found. Considering this, it is possible that a person living in Talkad was minting duplicate coins of Romans,” he said. He added that it was one of the rare and unique moulds excavated in the State.

Archaelogist Gowda N L said that the mould contained an inscription of Greek goddess Livia with words, ‘Maxim Pontis’.

“The coins with the same inscriptions were in circulation around the country. Roman coins belonging to the first century AD have been found in various excavation sites around the country. However, such a terracotta mould has never been found elsewhere.”

He added that the coins might have been minted at Talkad and circulated around the country. “It is possible that the value of Roman currency was more in India during the period, which might have led a few individuals at Talkad to indulge in minting fake coins,” he added.

Talkad, of course, is in India … so already in/around the time of Augustus we’re getting fake Roman coins abroad. Anyone know anything more about this find (was it ever published in English? Identifying Livia as a “Greek goddess” doesn’t really lend confidence to this)? The original article is accompanied by a grotty little photo which doesn’t really give you an idea of the coin …

From the Mailbag: Eric Cline is doing a Reddit AMA!

Not sure how many rogueclassicism readers frequent the Reddit site (the front page of the internet), but one of its more interesting features come in the form of  a couple of  subreddits called AMA (which is actually an abbreviation for “Ask me anything”)  and IAMA (which has subjects that start with “I am a” but also have the “ask me anything” aspect).  While most of the people who take part in the AMA side are regular folks with an interesting story (e.g. as of this writing there’s one by someone who has a meth-addicted mother, another who has survived a tornado, etc.), celebrities and others frequently schedule IAMAs for promotional and/or other purposes. I can’t recall ever seeing an ancient history type do one, so when I received an email from Princeton University Press’s Jessica Pellien about Eric Cline, I couldn’t get to the keyboard fast enough! Here’s the salient bit of her email:

As you may, or may not know, the book 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed by Eric Cline has been a sleeper best-selling book (kindle, print, and audio) for Princeton University Press this spring. We had a fantastic early review from Adam Gopnik on The New Yorker web site and ever since have been reprinting to keep pace with demand.

Eric has scheduled a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) on May 22nd at 8 PM and I thought you might enjoy following along or wish to alert friends, colleagues, and readers to the event. This is a chance for Eric to answer questions related to the book and the collapse of the Bronze Age, life as an archaeologist, his dig at Meggido, or anything else that comes up. I hope you will help us spread the word about the AMA session and will consider joining the fun with your own question or two.

If you want to participate with questions, you’ll have to set up a reddit login and password, but if you just want to follow along, you should be able to do that. Here’s where you should be on May 22 at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern):

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