Ancient Tokens from the Archaeological Museum of Syracuse

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.12797/SAAC.27.2023.27.08

Keywords:

clay, collecting, giraffes, Hermes, ox

Abstract

Called symbola by the Greeks and tesserae by the Romans, ancient tokens have played an essential role in daily life as small ‘monetiform’ objects used to get access to festivals, temples, private buildings (e.g. baths) and banquets. Produced and distributed as a means to obtain special rights ‘in exchange,’ tokens have been massively discovered within archaeological excavations or traced anew in world-wide museum collections arousing interest amongst scholars. Sicily represents a remarkable case study to understand how token production and distribution occurred in small ancient communities. Starting from the final results of the recent ERC project Token Communities in the Ancient Mediterranean project (University of Warwick, 2016-21), my contribution aims to present a novel set of clay tokens currently preserved at the Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum in Syracuse. First, the article outlines the token production in Sicily benefitting from available data recently collected. Second, it assesses the Syracuse’s tokens mostly focusing on their findspot area, iconography and recurring types (in particular, Hermes and the ox). The article also includes a detailed catalogue of finds reporting all measurements and data.

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Published

22-12-2023

How to Cite

Crisà, Antonino. 2023. “Ancient Tokens from the Archaeological Museum of Syracuse”. Studies in Ancient Art and Civilisation 27 (December):159-82. https://doi.org/10.12797/SAAC.27.2023.27.08.

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