Marsham, John - Numismata quaedam ex musaeo I.M. nondum edita

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John Marsham, Maidstone

Marsham, John - Numismata quaedam ex musaeo I.M. nondum edita
FINA IDUnique ID of the page  15718
TitleTitel of the book. Numismata quaedam ex musaeo I.M. nondum edita
InstitutionName of Institution. Maidstone, Kent History and Library Centre
PlacePlace of publication of the book, composition of the document or institution. Maidstone 51° 16' 29.37" N, 0° 31' 23.39" E
InventoryInventory number. U1121/Z36
AuthorAuthor of the document. John Marsham
CollectorCollector. John Marsham
Catalogue dateDate when the catalogue was issued: day - month - year .
LanguageLanguage of the correspondence Latin
Associated personsNames of Persons who are mentioned in the annotation. Hubert Goltzius
LiteratureReference to literature. Burnett 2020b, pp. 552-41
External LinkLink to external information, e.g. Wikpedia 
KeywordNumismatic Keywords  Roman Provincial , Greek , Plates
Grand documentOriginal passage from the "Grand document".

'Although Marsham published only two books, he worked on many others. Something of his numismatic plans can be seen from his papers, today kept with the family archive in the Kent Library and Archive Centre. A brief overview was provided 50 years ago by Hull, and an examination of them shows that he was working on two main publication projects. One concerned the unpublished coins in his collection, to be called Numismata quaedam ex musaeo I.M. nondum edita. It was not finished, but was to have consisted of some introductory material followed by illustrations of his unpublished coins, with a detailed commentary.
In the introduction he defended himself against the awkwardness often felt by numismatists over the centuries at their undertakings:

Quantis illecebris res Veterum nummaria studiosos demulceat, soli sciunt ij qui amoenis istis \mysteriis/ initiati sunt. Admiranda varietas semper aliquid apportat novi quod eruditiores animas poscit quotidie; numquam satiat. Crescit amor nummi, quantum ipsa pecunia crescit. et licet inexplebile sit Φιλαρχαίοις nummorum desiderium, honesta tamen avaritia. Neq’ est id injucundum, quod subobscura pleraq’ emergant, atq’ Oedipo digna; unde sagacibus ingenijs ampla suppetit conjectandi materies: in quo tamen disceptandi genere danda est venia, quam petenda.
[Only those who have been initiated into these pleasant mysteries know how much pleasure ancient numismatics may give scholars. Their extraordinary variety always brings something new, which every day demands a more scholarly mind; it is never satisfied. ‘The love of coins grows, as money itself grows.’ And although the desire for coins to Les Antiquaires is insatiable, it is nevertheless an honourable greed. And it is not at all unpleasant when many obscure things emerge, and ones needing an Oedipus. Ample material for conjecture is available to wise minds: and in this type of study pardon should be given, rather than begged for.]

His opening remarks are followed by a discussion of those ‘worthy ancestors who have sweated in this wrestling-ground’ (In hac palaestra desudarunt viri omni laude majores), above all Hubert Goltzius. But here, as in several other of his preparatory notes, he is clear that Goltzius and numismatics in general are better matched to geography than to chronology: the Roman emperors used the same consulship for a long time, he says, and there are also problems in the ‘annual’ reckoning by tribunician power. We have already seen how rarely he used coins in his major book on chronology, and he is here perhaps reflecting on his disappointment in not being able to use the coins he loved for the main topic he loved.
The introduction is followed by the proofs of two plates of engravings of coins which were to be included, together with Marsham’s own rough mock-up of a potential third plate. The first plate has 20 images, some only of reverses, amounting to 13 Roman provincial coins, from Berytus (5), Sidon (4), Castabala (1), Antioch (1), Sepphoris (1) and Seleucia (1). It is followed by 20 dense pages of description and discussion. The second plate also has 20 images, amounting to another 10 Roman provincial coins, from Ephesus (1), Smyrna (4), Hypaepa (2), Cnidus (1), Cyzicus (1) and Nicomedia (1), and is followed by 18 pages (numbered 23–40) of description and discussion. The rough mock-up for the third plate was not filled up, but was to have included coins of Rhescuporis (1), Topirus (1), Byzantium (2), Perinthus (2) and the Koinon of Macedonia (1). The subsequent descriptions and commentary continue to this point, and the rough plate also has outlines of two pre-imperial coins of Oeniadae and Panticapaeum.
There is no indication of the date at which Marsham was working on this book, although he refers to his own Chronicus Canon, eventually published as we have seen in 1672, so he was presumably writing it during the last decade of his life. Some of his notes include letters to an unidentified correspondent, and one of them is dated 24 June 1675, showing that he had already started in that year.'

(Burnett 2020b, pp. 552-4)


  1. ^  Burnett, Andrew M. (2020), The Hidden Treasures of this Happy Land. A History of Numismatics in Britain from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, BNS Special Publ. No 14 = RNS Special Publ. No 58, London, Spink & Son.