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Summary

The myth of Orpheus experienced a great popularity in ancient world, covering the path from a mythical legend to a complex and sophisticated mystic cult. There were many various features of Orpheus that characterized the Thracian singer, being the result of his different adventures: from the quest of the Argonauts and the pathetic story of love of Eurydice, to his journey to the underworld.

The myth of Orpheus was highly represented in iconography. The most frequent representations are those showing Orpheus as a singer surrounded by the beasts and, in smaller amount, in the scene representing the story of descent to the underworld in search of Eurydice. Numerous images connected with the legend of Orpheus, dating from the Classical times to Christian era, are the proof of a wide influence of the mystery cult of Orpheus on ancient and late antique culture.

This paper aims to present an overview of ancient coinage iconography representing Orpheus. Various motives considering the story of Orpheus appear on one of the most powerful means of propaganda – the coins, particularly from the Roman provinces, that were easily able to reach a wide audience. In the limited space of coins, the engravers could highlight effectively the most important and popular events from the story of Orpheus.

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Abstract  

Twenty ancient silver coins have been analyzed by the X-ray fluorescence method. For eliminating the effects that disturb the absolute quantitative measurements, we calculated, for each coin, the ratio between the elements that constitute the coin and related them to the silver concentration. From these measurements correlation diagrams have been obtained in which coins are grouped together depending on the silver sources and the purification technologies.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: R. Bugoi, B. Constantinescu, F. Constantin, D. Catana, D. Plostinaru and A. Sasianu

Abstract  

Quantitative analyses of various silver coins from the first century BC, found on current Romanian territory (Thasian tetradrachmae, Apollonia and Dyrrachium drachmae, Roman republican denarii) were performed using PIXE (3 MeV external proton beam) and XRF (1.1 GBq241Am source). The elemental analysis provided evidence of a great variety of monetary alloys and helped Romanian archaeologists to classify the coins, in terms of their provenance, as originals, copies or imitations minted in different areas of the Balkan-Carpathian region.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: A. Elayi, P. Damiani, P. Collet, K. Gruel, F. Widemann, G. Grenier and D. Parisot

Abstract  

Ancient silver-copper-tin alloyed Gaulish coins have been analyzed using 14 MeV neutron activation analysis. The method used takes into account all the differences in composition, geometry, position of irradiation and counting that may exist between the sample and the reference. The results of the analysis are accurate and permit interesting numismatic conclusions.

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Abstract  

Silver and gold were analysed in coins and medals by inelastic gamma-scattering reaction. The irradiation was performed with a 740 TBq (20 kCi)60Co source. After irradiation the isomer activities were measured with a well type NaI(Tl) scintillation counter and evaluated by means of a software program.

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Abstract  

Isotope excited energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) was used for the determination of the major components, silver and copper, of ancient coins. A ring shaped 125I source was used for excitation. Various methods were developed and compared for quantitative evaluation in order to eliminate matrix effects and the effects caused by the differences in geometry. The method proposed by the authors ensures determination with acceptable error using certified standard samples of alloys. The results of this method were compared with those of prompt gamma activation analysis (PGAA) and with data from contemporary written sources.

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Abstract  

A quantitative evaluation method was elaborated to determine the gold, silver and copper concentration of high gold content objects in a non-destructive way. The spectrum evaluation method rules out the effect of the differences in size, shape and surface. A long measuring time allows qualitative analysis of the trace elements: Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Zr, Nb, Mo, Tc, Ru, Rh, Pd, Cd, In and Zn. Using this method, about 200 golden coins and jewellery from the 10th-15th century Hungary and Byzantium were analyzed. Some of the results are presented here.

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Abstract  

Twenty-one gold coins of koson type, considered to be the only kind of gold coins issued by Dacians, were analyzed using EDXRF and PAA methods. Three groups of coins of different compositions were found, corresponding to coins with simple monogram, complex monogram and no monogram. The gold of koson coins is not a natural one (electrum) from present Romania's territory, but is similar to the gold of pseudo-Lysimachan staters. Some possible historical conclusions are discussed.

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paper, I use the following Numismatic Catalogues and Abbreviations: S utherland , C. H. V. — K raay , C.: Catalogue of Coins of the Roman Empire in the Ashmolean Museum. Part I: Augustus (c. 31 BC – AD 14) . Oxford 1975 [AMCRE I]; M attingly , H

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Abstract  

A nondestructive instrumental neutron activation analysis technique is applied for the analysis of precious ancient punchmark coins. Coins ranging between 8th century B.C. to 2nd century B.C. were irradiated with thermal neutrons in a252Cf neutron source facility and analyzed by comparator method of instrumental neutron activation analysis, using high purity germanium detector coupled to a multichannel analyzer, the activities being measured at photopeak energies of the corresponding radioisotopes. It is observed that punchmark coins are mainly of two types: copper or silver based. Other elements present in varying proportions are gold, arsenic and antimony.

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