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'Stories of Coins, Narrations of Cities' exhibition in Athens

Rare coins dating many centuries back in time and representative of the ancient Hellenic world, with the focus on the Black Sea and Asia Minor regions, are on display at the Foundation of the Hellenic World (FWH), or "Hellenic Cosmos" as it is more popularly known.

enotita03_3"The FWH numismatics collection is the fourth largest Asia Minor collection in the world, and reached Greece in 2007, from a German collector who wanted to sell it," Foundation managing director Dimitris Efraimoglou told ANA-MPA.

He noted that only a part of the collection is currently on exhibit, but gradually the entire collection will be on display.

The exhibition, titled "Stories of Coins, Narrations of Cities", presents coins depicting gods and deities of antiquity, nymphs and heroes worshipped in the city or kingdom that minted the coin, depictions of temples and public buildings, statues that were found in sacred or public places, the region's flora and fauna, and even themes from Homer's Iliad.

A total of 160 coins from the Collection of the Foundation of the Hellenic World, the fourth largest coin collection from Asia Minor in the world, are initially on display. Geographically the exhibition covers the largest part of the ancient Hellenic world, from Thrace to Mesopotamia, while it covers the time span between the 6th century BC and the 3rd century AD. Unique representations and inscriptions on the coins bring to light unknown information about every aspect of life during that period of time.

The Coin Collection of the Foundation of the Hellenic World includes more than 13,000 coins and was purchased from the German collector Karl Eduard Reinhard Donat on the 29th of November 2007. It is the fourth largest coin collection from Asia Minor in the world. The rarest and most representative coins have been selected for the exhibition.

The presentation of the coins is based in the illustrations on the coins, on the obverse (front side) and reverse (back side), as we all as to the information that can be drawn from these illustrations. The coins are exhibited in ten showcases, each one dealing with a specific subject matter.

The newly acquired numismatic collection purchased from the German collector was built up by three generations of collectors from the same family in accordance with the European humanitarian ideals of the 19th and early 20th century. As relics of the past the coins have a close association with ancient Greek history and the civilisation of the Hellenic cities and kingdoms.

The collection of 13,689 coins and objects consists of 12,854 ancient Greek coins, dating from the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD, 254 Byzantine coins, 320 Byzantine lead seals, 104 Arabo-Byzantine coins of the Artukid dynasty, 99 seals and weights and 58 small objects.

The coins represent most of the regions of the ancient Hellenic world, from present-day France to Egypt, with emphasis on the Black Sea area and Asia Minor. (ANA-MPA)

The Foundation of the Hellenic World decided to purchase this collection not only to repatriate an important part of the country's cultural heritage but also because of the particular geographical focus of the objects, which coincides with the areas of Hellenism in which the Foundation aims to specialise.

Most of the coins on display in the exhibition are rare, and they cover a geographical area from Thrace to Mesopotamia.

A permanent exhibition of the collection at "Hellenic Cosmos" is in the course of preparation. The collection is already accessible to the academic community, and it will be published in full in the international numismatic series Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum.

The exhibition will run through February 28.

For more information visit the Hellenic Cosmos website.

Source: ANA-MPA [January 18, 2011]


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