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Sponsianus


antwerpen2306
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Somehow this example has received lots of coverage in mainstream media as an "Authentic" piece of the usurper Sponsianus. Since the legend says Sponsian which would never have been engraved without the -VS ending, it is an obvious fake. Also the weight and fabric appear off. Why all the hubbub over this piece I will never know.

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The author of the article should have spent some time here on Numisforums. His arguments #1 and #2 have been proven wrong in the thread about Sponsianus. And his argumentation about the lettering style and the usual iconography from coins of the 3rd century (#4 and #5) are completely irrelevant if we’re taking about « barbarian » coinage from the Transylvania region. Just pointing out that to prove the quality of the numismatic knowledge here.

Edited by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix
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1 hour ago, Ocatarinetabellatchitchix said:

The author of the article should have spent some time here on Numisforums. His arguments #1 and #2 have been proven wrong in the thread about Sponsianus. And his argumentation about the lettering style and the usual iconography from coins of the 3rd century (#4 and #5) are completely irrelevant if we’re taking about « barbarian » coinage from the Transylvania region. Just pointing out that to prove the quality of the numismatic knowledge here.

Also re #7, it was my understanding from that thread that the only ancient inscription with the name Sponsianus was discovered after these coins turned up. To me, that's one of the best arguments in favor of an authentic "barbarian" coinage. It seems like an impossible coincidence to me that early 18th century forgers could have invented a fake proper name, then completely unknown in surviving ancient epigraphy, that later turned out to be a genuine name.

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I came across this interview with the president of the Romanian Numismatic Society who claims that these Sponsianus coins are fake. There is an article too for those who cannot understand the interview, in the second link.

Interview: https://science.hotnews.ro/stiri-interviuri-25951478-video-sponsianus-fost-personaj-meteoric-iar-monedele-care-poarta-chipul-sunt-fals-interviu-presedintele-asociatiei-numismatice-din-romania.htm

Article: Monedele cu chipul împăratului roman din Dacia, Sponsianus, un fals ridicol din toate punctele de vedere - opinia specialiștilor - HotNews.ro

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On 12/23/2022 at 12:04 PM, DonnaML said:

Also re #7, it was my understanding from that thread that the only ancient inscription with the name Sponsianus was discovered after these coins turned up. To me, that's one of the best arguments in favor of an authentic "barbarian" coinage. It seems like an impossible coincidence to me that early 18th century forgers could have invented a fake proper name, then completely unknown in surviving ancient epigraphy, that later turned out to be a genuine name.

So much this.

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57 minutes ago, AussieCollector said:

So much this.

AETHER’s video seems to suggest this wasn’t the case with at least one of the examples (i.e. the name had been found and published earlier) although it looks like that was Sposian rather than Sponsian.

Even so, I don’t think it’s all that improbable if you’re making up a name. My sister made up her child’s name from two words, and I later found out we already had a distant relative with the same name. Coincidences are not rare.

It’s also not a name from that era. It’s 300 years older, for slaves. If you told me someone dug up a medieval English coin with the name Wayne Rex on it, I wouldn’t think, oh, that’s a real name, so it must be a real coin.

And there have only been one or two Spo(n)sians found. None from the C3. Barbarians in the C3 are just as unlikely to have heard the name as C17 forgers. Where did they get it from? A 300 year old cemetery in Italy?

It’s more evidence that doesn’t prove anything either way.

 

Edited by John Conduitt
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13 minutes ago, John Conduitt said:

And there have only been one or two Spo(n)sians found. None from the C3. Barbarians in the C3 are just as unlikely to have heard the name as C17 forgers. Where did they get it from? A 300 year old cemetery in Italy?

Presumably, if the coins are genuine ancient imitations, barbarian or otherwise, they got the name from a real person of the time named Sponsian whom they knew or whose name they had heard. Rather than by pulling a name from the aether that somehow later turned out to be a real name. "Wayne" would be somewhat less of an unlikely coincidence. To my thinking, "Spo[n[sian" lies closer to the "Mr. Mxyzptlk" end of the coincidence scale. Especially if the coincidental invention of the name occurred in the 1700s.

 

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23 minutes ago, John Conduitt said:

AETHER’s video seems to suggest this wasn’t the case with at least one of the examples (i.e. the name had been found and published earlier) although it looks like that was Sposian rather than Sponsian.

Even so, I don’t think it’s all that improbable if you’re making up a name. My sister made up her child’s name from two words, and I later found out we already had a distant relative with the same name. Coincidences are not rare.

It’s also not a name from that era. It’s 300 years older, for slaves. If you told me someone dug up a medieval English coin with the name Wayne Rex on it, I wouldn’t think, oh, that’s a real name, so it must be a real coin.

And there have only been one or two Spo(n)sians found. None from the C3. Barbarians in the C3 are just as unlikely to have heard the name as C17 forgers. Where did they get it from? A 300 year old cemetery in Italy?

It’s more evidence that doesn’t prove anything either way.

 

So despite evidence to the contrary, you are choosing to believe coincidence.

And that's fine, that's what you believe.

But your belief is no more evidence based than the counter belief.

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7 hours ago, AussieCollector said:

So despite evidence to the contrary, you are choosing to believe coincidence.

And that's fine, that's what you believe.

But your belief is no more evidence based than the counter belief.

I think that is my point. Coincidence is more than possible and doesn’t make one more likely than the other. I am not choosing to use it as proof.

Let’s examine the evidence to the contrary. The evidence is that the name Sponsian may have existed in the Republic for a very small number of slaves. The evidence is that this name may have been published in the 1500s, and so could have been available to the forgers. There is no evidence that 3rd Century barbarians would have heard this name, even if it was a real name in the Republic, since there’s no more evidence it had been in use in the 200s than the 16-1700s.

So which is more likely? You choose to believe Eastern European barbarians heard the name from 300 years earlier, without the benefit of examining cemeteries in Italy. And that’s fair enough, because there’s no proof for the alternative (that modern forgers had heard the name) - this evidence doesn’t prove anything either way.

Edited by John Conduitt
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9 hours ago, John Conduitt said:

The evidence is that this name may have been published in the 1500s

Do you have a link that discusses the issue of when the name was first published in early modern times? I'd be curious to read it. Thanks.

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Something I believe is rather overlooked in all of these threads is the possibility of a simple spelling error.

Take Volusian, the Roman capital tended to spell it VOLVSIANO, but out in the provinces, you get things as garbled as CALVSSIANO, or even GALVSSIANO, using a greek Gamma for the G.

In a thread somewhere, someone showed a rather fine style barbarous aureus of Septimius Severus, except the inscription read, "SAAVESTRA."

Additionally, someone in some thread argued rather convincingly that SPONSIANI can easily be a bungled attempt at GORDIANVS PIVS.

Since nobody is talking about the usurber Saavestra, or the client king Galusian, the very simplest, and most likely explanation is that the illiterate celator tried his best to imitate a standard spelling, and, like many of his kind, failed to do so.

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