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II442131309_thumbnail_IMG_2423toolskey.jpg.30a9e90bd4b78affcf20da9329a154ca.jpgINSTRMENTA, LATIN FOR "TOOLS" ,IMPLEMENTS THAT DO WORK. Today we look for images of tools on ancient coins (or the tools themselves). Both  the Ancient Greeks and Romans developed a sophisticated technology, tools that let them do work, in the sense as work is defined in physics. Today many are amazed at how modern some of their tools seem and what the Ancients were able to do with them. So, let's see how many Ancient coins we can find that have some of the technology on this topic. To help with this, think of some of the technology they had (spinning cloth, splitting wood, forming pottery, plowing a field, making coins erecting a structure). You get the idea. I would like to ask that posters not include weapons here, tools designed to wage war. Not that warfare and weapons are not a good topic, but I'd like to keep this on tools as we normally think of tools and work. Weapons are a topic all their own and can be offered separately with many, many examples to choose from. I have on this page four example of "instruments" on coins and one actual artifact, a key (clavis) a tool for opening locks from the early Imperial period. The first coin shows a wheel (rota) that enables vehicles to move, or in the case of the potters' wheel , rotate a spindle that holds the clay being shaped. It is Sear 157. The next denarius shows Vulcan with one of the tools of the metal worker, tongs (forceps) for moving hot pieces of metal (like heated coin planchets). It is Sear 191. The small hemi drachma of Pontus, early Fourth Century BC,  illustrates the anchor (ancora, same in both Latin and Greek). It is, of course, a tool designed to keep a vessel from drifting. It is Greek Sear 1655. The last coin, a big follis of Galerius, shows balance scales (libra) for weighing objects. it is Sear 3711. So, let's see what coins, or actual objects if you have them, that illustrate an aspect of work technology from that period. Now, go find some work, ancient work.

Edited by kevikens
forgot a word
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Here's a hammer (rev.) and a chisel (obv.) used as die control-marks (I think) - carpenter's guild symbols for this abundant issue (with many types of symbols; probably a lot of tools of various trades):  


Roman Republic       Denarius  L. Papius  (79 B.C.)  Rome Mint Trade Guild: Carpenters Head of Juno Sospita right, wearing goat's skin; chisel behind / L PAPI in ex. Gryphon springing right; hammer below.  Crawford 384/1, type 30; Sydenham 773; Papia 1. (3.60 grams / 17 mm) eBay Mar. 2019

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 @kevikens..Nice idea for a thread.

Here's a plough..


Spain, Obulco. Circa 150 BC. AE As (14.94 gm, 30mm).
Obv.: OBVLCO, female head right.CX behind.
Rev.: L.AIMI-M.JVNI AVD, between plow and grain ear. SNG BM 2, Spain 1410-2; Villaronga pg. 343, 16; Burgos 1395. 

L shaped hammer and anvil..


Britannia, Trinovantes & Catuvellauni. Cunobelin. Circa 9-41 AD. AE Unit (2.437 g, 14mm).
Obv: Winged head left, CVNO in front, BELIN behind.
Rev: Metal worker, presumably the smith god known as Sucellus in parts of Gaul, sitting on a solid seat with a detached upright back, holding an L-shaped hammer in his right hand, left hand holding a metal bowl, there is always a distinct bun of hair behind the smith's head, TASCIO (Tascionus his father) behind, beaded border.
Van Arsdell 2097; ABC 2969; SCBC 342. Hobbs 1972-83;..VF.

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I very important tool that allowed Romans to work in the evening was the oil lamp. Oil lamps were more affordable than using candles & plebian families could buy inexpensive oil lamps mass produced from molded pottery, often these lamps were decorated with contemporary motifs. The more "well to do" patrician families could afford expensive cast bronze oil lamps like the one pictured below.


Roman cast bronze oil lamp, circa 2nd century AD, 5.375 in. long. The cover & handle are decorated with sea shell motifs. Al Kowsky Collection; Ex Harlan J. Berk Bid or Buy Sale #574. 


Edited by Al Kowsky
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