Tuesday, May 10, 2022

New version of Coinage of the Roman Republic Online released

Today, an improved version of Coinage of the Roman Republic Online (CRRO) was released. This release improves the consistency of the data entry and implements the type-subtype hierarchical structure in Crawford's original RRC typology. The CRRO types are no longer a flat structure of about 2200 entries, but there are now about 1750 parent types and about 500 subtypes, with subtypes links to parents through the skos:broader RDF property upon ingestion into Nomisma.org. Improvements were made in other areas as well:

  • Issuers represented by symbols or letters were generated as Nomisma.org URIs. Some symbols were reused in different periods, implying different moneyers, and so each one has a different URI, e.g., http://nomisma.org/id/star_1_issuer_rrc.
  • Type descriptions and legends were cleaned and normalized. Control marks of various types were split into different positions with respect to the obverse and reverse of the coin. These symbols are now queryable in the browse page, much like Hellenistic Royal Coinages.
  • Deities URIs from the British Museum were replaced with new Nomisma.org ones. Several new deities were created in Nomisma that were not accessible in the search facets before, although we certainly have not isolated all of them yet.
  • People who appear on the coins are now searchable through a portrait facet. These types mostly affect coins of the First and Second Triumvirates, although some miscellaneous regnal or early Republican period people were created in Nomisma.org.
  • The mint facet was cleaned up so that only true Nomisma.org mints appear in the list (or "Uncertain Value") and historical regions moved into the hierarchical region facet. We rely on Nomisma's geographic hierarchy to populate the region facet when we are able to identify the mint.
  • All of the Roman Republican issuers have been linked to the Nomisma concept for the Roman Republic, with start and end dates for their role(s) as a moneyer.
  • We adopted the EpiDoc TEI specification for ligatures in the legends (see this query result and related types).


Example of browse page with ligatures in legends and queryable symbols.


When CRRO was published in 2015, it had been derived from cataloging data from the British Museum database, curated by Eleanor Ghey. Specimens that were not represented in the BM were supplemented by data entered by Rick Witschonke. At the time, Rick was entering the late stages in his fight against cancer, and very much wanted to see an "OCRE" for Roman Republican Coinage. We expedited the publication of CRRO as a result, even though it was not quite as robust at the outset as OCRE was. Despite the popularity of CRRO (second only to OCRE in usage out of the ANS' digital projects), we have not been able to revisit the data structure of the project in over 7 years. Furthermore, the original Excel spreadsheet from which the CRRO data originated no longer seems to exist or be accessible online.

Several months ago, I processed the NUDS/XML files from CRRO back into a spreadsheet that I began to normalize in OpenRefine. After some clean-up, this was uploaded as a Google Spreadsheet for more fine-tuned editing by the ANS curatorial associate, Alice Sharpless (who primarily works on the Roman Republican Die Project). Alice did a significant amount of normalizing legends and type descriptions, fixed issues with the conflation of region URIs as mints, and split symbols into multiple columns.

Next Steps

Now that CRRO exists as a canonical spreadsheet that can easily be edited or updated, we plan to insert some new Republican typologies that have been published since RRC in 1974. These new types can be slotted into the spreadsheet as necessary with an appropriate bibliographic reference. These new types are necessary for further cataloging both in RRDP and Coin Hoards of the Roman Republic, which will hopefully see a new edition from Kris Lockyear.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Nomisma and ANS digital projects accessible at HTTPS

Following the migration of the American Numismatic Society website and digital projects (including Nomisma.org) from our old Rackspace server to a new cloud server hosted by Amazon Web Services, the ANS website (Wordpress) has been fully migrated to use an SSL certificate and HTTPS. The same certificate has been applied to the other ANS digital projects to enable secure interactions via HTTPS URLs, but the old HTTP URLs do not forward automatically to HTTPS. The main reason for this is that http:// and https:// URIs are considered difference in Semantic Web applications, and migrating to HTTPS creates a number of unpredictable downstream effects for consumers of our machine readable data.

Those who use SSL in their own information systems and want to consume Nomisma or ANS machine readable data using Javascript in a web browser will be able to do so by replacing http with https in the web service URL.

The ANS IIIF image server has incorporated automatic forwarding to HTTPS, and so the advantage in this case is that other systems that use HTTPS (such as the Digital Library of the Middle East, Peripleo, Iron Age Coins in Britain, and other external aggregators) will be able to securely load JSON resources from IIIF manifests and the image server.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Updates to mapping functionality in Numishare

At long last, I have implemented some contextual changes in the display of points in the maps pages in the Numishare platform, particularly with respect to the sizing of points to reflect density of distribution (like what had already been implemented in maps on nomisma.org and record pages in Numishare).

The changes can be summarized as follows:

  • Mint, findspot, and geographic subject (applies to Art of Devastation only, so far) layers have variable sizing based on density.
  • The marker cluster plugin has been disabled for individual findspots, so each point is readily apparent without further zooming into the map.
  • The findspot layer now refreshes correctly after narrowing the search facets down.
  • Symbol facet menus now display the correct, human-readable label, and monogram SVG graphics will appear in the menu, as it functions on the browse page.

These visualization updates have also been implemented in the map popup window on the browse page.

The changes are most readily apparent in the Celtic Coins Index Digital

Findspot distribution of the Corieltavi.

 And Hellenistic Royal Coinages clearly illustrates the highest level of production in Amphipolis and Alexandria:

And while the general map of the Roman Empire isn't particularly illustrative (about half of all types minted in Rome), when you drill down into specific queries, the variations in production are more apparent.

Mint distribution of Constantine I

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

About 600 RIC X photographed gold coins from the British Museum added to OCRE

Before the holiday, I received a spreadsheet export from Richard Abdy, one of the curators in the Coins & Medals department at the British Museum, which includes all of the photographed gold coins from RIC volume X. This represents an addition of approximately 600 objects to Online Coins of the Roman Empire. Quite a few of these contributions represent the only photographed example of the type.

Gold coins from RIC 10 in OCRE.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Swiss National Museum joins Nomisma

Under the direction of long-time Nomisma scientific committee member Christian Weiss, the Swiss National Museum has joined the Nomisma Linked Open Data cloud, providing data for nearly 8,500 coins in the collection to various online type portals, including Hellenistic, Roman Republican, Imperial, and British Iron Age coinage.

The most significant contribution comes in the form of 8,000 Swiss coins from the Medieval to Modern periods in the prototype Online Swiss Coin Archive (OSCAR) project, which catalogs more than 9,000 typologies produced in Switzerland from 491 CE to the present day. Already, several hundred coins from Berlin and Winterthur were accessible through OSCAR in previous data imports. While OSCAR is not yet complete (there is much work remaining in creating Nomisma URIs for Swiss authorities and denominations), the preliminary RDF data for OSCAR have been uploaded into the Nomisma SPARQL endpoint, facilitating more advanced visualization and context in associated Nomisma URIs (see Zurich, for example). With the Swiss National Collection online, more than 40% of the Swiss types in OSCAR are illustrated by at least one photographed specimen.

OSCAR 257, a 1533 schilling from Zurich

Monday, January 3, 2022

More than 8,000 Roman Imperial Coins from the BnF added to OCRE

More than 8,000 Roman Imperial coins from the Bibliothèque nationale de France have been integrated into Online Coins of the Roman Empire. This is a significant addition to the project, but does not represent the fully body of the BnF's material. The import includes the issues from Augustus to Trajan, a portion of the Hadrianic collection, and later coins from Carus to Diocletian.

This represents the BnF's first contribution to OCRE after providing large amounts of Roman Republican and Hellenistic coinage and a modest number of British Iron Age coinage to Iron Age Coins in Britain. Presently, the Bibliothèque nationale has made nearly 40,000 coins available in the numismatic Linked Open Data cloud.

A BnF coin (IMP-139) with IIIF images of type Hadrian II.3 510

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Royal Library of Belgium joins Nomisma

The Royal Library of Belgium (KBR; Nomisma URI: http://nomisma.org/id/kbr) is the newest organization to join the Nomisma.org consortium, providing data for about 750 Roman Republican coins in its collection to Coinage of the Roman Republic Online. The Royal Library of Belgium is one of the largest numismatic collections in Europe, with more than 200,000 objects, and the first Belgian institution to make part of their collection available as Linked Open Data to Nomisma. We hope to integrate their Roman Imperial and Greek coins in other type projects eventually.

A KBR coin (Inv. II, 64.869) linked to RRC 250/1

There are now nearly 60,000 coins available in CRRO (connected to about 2,000 types), making it the most comprehensive resource of its type on the web.