Paying Attention: Images of Monuments on Roman Imperial Coins with Prof. Francesco de Angelis

Representations of architecture on Roman coins have long been studied by scholars interested in retrieving information about ancient monuments, especially those ones that are partially or totally lost. Recent scholarship has shown that numismatic images cannot be treated as straightforward and objective sources about the appearance of these monuments. However, they remain a significant witness of the reception of such buildings. In other words, they can give us an idea of how a temple or an arch were viewed, or were supposed to be viewed—which aspects of their architecture, which details of their decoration were deemed important and worthy of special focus. The talk will address the methodological implications of this approach with the help of selected cases. In particular, it will argue that we need to achieve an adequate understanding of the dynamics of attention in order properly to appreciate the way in which architectural images on coins functioned in antiquity.