Medallions, Protocontorniates, and Contorniates in the Museum of Art and Archaeology
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"The Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Missouri possesses in its collection a total of thirty-nine Roman medallions, protocontorniates, and contorniates. One is an imperial coin inserted into a medallic frame; two are medallions proper, struck at official imperial mints; fifteen are "protocontorniates," regular coins later hammered around the edges to create a rim; and twenty-one are contorniates, late Roman "medallions," either cast or struck, that often portray past roman emperors and have a small groove around the edge. The exact purpose and function of protocontorniates and contorniates are unknown, but suggestions have included their use as game counters, or as admission tickets to the circus or theater, or as distributions to the people during new year celebrations. This article surveys the functions of roman medallions, protocontorniates, and contorniates in reference to those in the Museum of Art and Archaeology. A catalogue of medallions, protocontorniates, and contorniates in the collection follows the end of the article."--First paragraph.
Originally published in: Muse, 2012, volume 46, pages 15-43
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