During this and every election year money and power share a particularly close bond, and centuries ago things were no different. Now, for the first time at Southern, a collection of more than 50 coins from the Greco-Roman era is showcasing this connection in the “Faces of Power” exhibit at the Archaeological Museum in Hackman Hall. The exhibit had its grand opening on October 8, and the coins will be on display at the museum throughout this academic year.
In Greco-Roman times, the link between money and power was made tangible in a unique way; each coin issued was inscribed with the image of the emperor who issued it. The gold, silver, and bronze coins spanning a time period of 600 years originated in Greece, Rome, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. The exhibit relates the wealth and prosperity shown by the coins to the biblical stories of the widow’s mite, the 30 pieces of silver given to Judas for his betrayal of Jesus, and others.
“We’re hearing a lot about the economic recession and crisis,” says Michael Hasel, director of the Institute of Archaeology at Southern, “and of course, Jesus had to deal with these relevant topics too. This exhibit takes us back to the beginning of the monetary system to look at what was done in biblical times and how we can apply lessons learned from that era today.”
About 250 people attended the grand opening, and it has been well-received by students, faculty, and members of the community. "They've done an outstanding job of finding ways of displaying coins to show the historical context," says Bob Young, senior vice president of Academic Administration.
Jasper Gaunt, curator of Greek and Roman art at Emory University, gave a lecture after the open house. Gaunt was impressed by the student interest in his lecture and the exhibit. “I was surprised by the large turn-out… and by the intelligent questions. It is good to hear that the students found something to enjoy in the presentation,” he says.
For hours, directions and more information about the Lynn H. Wood Archeological Museum visit archaeology.southern.edu.