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Reading Roman Coins: a Digital Exhibition

Reading Roman Coins is a digital exhibition by two Classical Studies courses- Roman-Art & Archaeology and Elementary Latin during the fall semester of 2020. The project was led by Dr. Elizabeth Baughan, Associate Professor of Classics and Archaeology in the University’s Department of Classical Studies. The Latin students transcribed and analyzed the coin legends, while the Roman Art students interpreted the iconography. Learn more about the online exhibition designed and produced by a team of students from both classes.

Q&A with Dr. Baughan

How did the project come to be?
This project grew from the field trip my Roman Art class used to take to the Lora Robins Gallery, to examine Late Roman coins firsthand.  In previous semesters we would also visit the VMFA, and students would write a detailed analysis of one of the Roman artworks on view there. Last summer as I was re-envisioning the class for the hybrid semester, I realized that with high-quality digital photos of the coins I could combine the two activities into one project. I happened to be teaching Latin 101 the same semester, and I thought bringing the Latin students into the project would be beneficial for that course as well. When planning for the semester I thought for sure we would be entirely remote by November (when both classes would have enough knowledge to analyze the coins properly), so I was thrilled that the students could actually view the coins in person and so thankful to Martha and Matthew for making that happen.

How was the coin collection at Lora Robins beneficial to the research/the project?  
It was essential! Without these coins to examine firsthand and study in detailed photos, there would have been no project.

Anything else you’d like to say about the project?
Though this digital project was born from pandemic constraints, it is something I would like to continue whenever I teach Roman Art or Latin 101 in the future.