Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Coins of ancient Rome

Ancient Rome had some rather interesting coins with nude figures and erotic imagery. The Denge blog has pictures, and asks whether these coins were used to pay prostitutes, or were in general circulation. If they were in general circulation, what was the symbolism of the explicit scenes on them?

2 comments:

Tim said...

i'd heard they were brothel tokens but it seems a bit less likely after reading
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2355/pay-for-play

Alternative possibilities include gambling chips or markers, or claim-check tokens from bathhouse locker rooms.

Snoozepossum said...

Language barrier brothel tokens would make perfectly practical sense, but for the absence of them in the ruins of such. They mention finding them in bath houses; that makes me wonder about them being used for a particular variety or "brand name" sex worker as opposed to just any standard prostitute.

The idea of a novelty item or political joke is just as reasonable, and I wouldn't think it was a horribly far stretch that they might not have started as one and become the other.