Author Topic: Digital numeration: shedding new light on iconography?  (Read 1136 times)

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Offline Alisdair

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    • Late Roman Bronze Coins - An attribution guide for poorly preserved coins
Digital numeration: shedding new light on iconography?
« on: February 08, 2015, 02:32:17 PM »
Dear Friends, I've just written a little article about a fascinating book I've just read:

Jérôme Gavin, Alain Schärlig, Sur les doigts jusqu’à 9999 – La Numération digitale des Anciens à la Renaissance, Presses Polytechniques et Universitaires Romandes, 2014.

The authors have studied how the ancients, from the Greeks through to the Renaissance, from Britain all the way to Persia (and perhaps beyond) used to count...on their fingers.

A fascinating subject that few of us would ever think about...but which possibly gives us an extra key to reading ancient iconography. Certainly, in looking at Roman statues, steles or reliefs or at Byzantine and later Icons, symbolic numbers are often shown.

In reading the book, I couldn't help but wonder to what extent it applied to numismatics. If any of you have any knowledge of Roman or Byzantine coins which show seemingly strange finger positions, I'd love to hear from you.