Travel notebooks of John Greaves - Oxford, Bodleian Library - Savile MS 49(1-2)

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John Greaves

Travel notebooks of John Greaves - Oxford, Bodleian Library - Savile MS 49(1-2)
FINA IDUnique ID of the page  15585
TitleTitel of the book. Travel notebooks of John Greaves
InstitutionName of Institution. Oxford, Bodleian Library
InventoryInventory number. Savile MS 49(1-2)
AuthorAuthor of the document. John Greaves
Publication dateDate when the publication was issued: day - month - year .
PlacePlace of publication of the book, composition of the document or institution. 64° 2' 18.78" S, 111° 1' 40.19" E
Associated personsNames of Persons who are mentioned in the annotation. Fulvio Orsini, Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, Scipione Maffei, Claude Ménestrier, Pedro Chacón, Achille Maffei, Achilles Statius, Francesco Barberini, Claudio Demetrii Francese, Giovanni da Cavino
KeywordNumismatic Keywords  Notebook , Notes , Travel , Roman , Roman Republican , Roman Imperial , Paduan , Gold , Alexander , Greek , Coin Weight , Denarius , Septimius Severus , Tenedos , Valentinianus
LiteratureReference to literature. Chacón 16081, Burnett 2020b, pp. 483-62
LanguageLanguage of the correspondence English, Latin, Spanish
External LinkLink to external information, e.g. Wikpedia 
Grand documentOriginal passage from the "Grand document".

Savile MS 49(1)
[ff.6v–8r:these pages consist of notes on Italian weights and measures (Genoa, Pisa, Livorno), ‘Florence mony’, Siena weights, measures and coins]
[f.12r] The Coines used at Rome
[f.12v] The waight of ancient coines
Mr. Pei[resc: extracts from letters of Peiresc to Claude Menestrier 3 March 1634; 24 March 1633; 17 November 1633; 22 February 1629]
[f.13r] p. 288 Ciac: [This passage is copied from Chacón 1608, p. 288 (Roman foot), 133 (‘Aurei Romani...’) and 135 (‘Las drachmas...’).]
Achilles Maffaeus, Ach Statius Fulv. Vrsinus &c cum veram pedis Rom. quantitatem statuere vellent...... [later there are notes on] Aurei Romani Reip. t’p’re et prior. Caesaribus facti et pondere et bonitate Philppeis fere respondent cum eor(u)m IIIS unciam vel 42 libram Rom. pondere efficiant. Hi vero qui a Principibus percussi, solidi, et semisses appellati sunt, aureis et semiaureis Atticis pares fuere, qd ex libra 48 signabantur. Las drachmas de Athenas eran casi dela mesma ley de los denarius Romanos, pero hasta el tiempo de Neron, de una onça Romana se hazian 7 denarios, y dela misma ocho drachmas, desde aquellos tiempos los denarios y drachmas fueron yguales. in both these sorts of denarij yt was 48 // puri aeris, ut ex his qui adhuc extant nummis experimento didici.
[f.16v] For Latin meddailes I have seene a good MS of Claudio Demetrij Francese Anticharo del Card. Fr. Barberino: His method was this; In one Columne ye time, yt each Empr lived, was put; over against this his retract; yn in 5 or sixe columnes against each retract these words

aurea arg. aerea mag. p’va
**    *    *          *

if they were common yr was no asterisc; els 2 or 3 asteriscs, as they were more or less common. All ye meddailes from Tiberius to Antonino Pio, li maestri erano buoni; after him they were bad. Meddailes yt are rare are those of J. Caesar, Otho, Vitellius, Pertinax, Did. Julianus, Pescenius Niger, Clod. Albinus. For women those of Livia, Julia Tib. Agrippina, Octavia , Poppaea Sab., Julia F., Plotina, Marciana, Matidia, Manlia Scant., Didia Clara, Plautilla. The reason, why few of these are found, is because they lived but a litle time Emprs or Emprses.
Many of ye Roman meddailes of ye Consuls are brasse wthin silver wtht. Many of ym are brasse silvered. You may know medals by ye coining of ym of, if they be cast of, they come of round not so sharp in ye angles or edges. & ye lines not so fine. Those yt are counterfeit are of one Padouano. he made some 40 of those yt are rarest to be found. for others it is not worth ye while to cast a stamp, wch will cost 40 crowns.
[f.17r] Mr Peiresc
[these are several extracts from letter of Peiresc to Claude Menestrier, 22 February 1629; including, at bottom] Petits sesterces d’argent qui au lieu de la note IIS aurient le le nombre IIII, et les demys deniers qui au lieu du V avoient le nombre VIII ou IIX. Et medailles Grecques ΔΡΑΓΜΑ & ΔΡΑΓΜΟΝ. Et de celles de cuivre qui ont l’inscription ΟΒΟΛΟΣ.
[f.20v] My Alex. ye Gt in gold wth 8 graines English exactly weighs ye 20s in gold English; the piece is very intire. On ye one side is Alexander wth a helmet; a collar as it were of perls round about his neck, a iewell in his eare, and behind his eare as it were eares of corne. Is an angel. It is ye fairest coine I have ever seen. [drawing of rev.] My Consular denarius * wth 11gr English weighs ye 10s gold exactly. It is a very faire one.
A faire Greeke piece wth 2 faces of a man & of a woman ye woman wth a Jewel in her hare & on ye right side ye man wth a bushy beard on ye left: both ioyned as 2 Conj. (?) heads. The reverse was thus [drawing of Tenedos coin with ΤΕΝΕ ΔΙ ΟΝ] a hatchet as it were a harp, & an acorn The relevy of both good. It waighed 5s 6d & 15gr.
[f.21r] Another faire coin wth a good chopping face on one side well made wth a good relevy On ye other a hawk thus [drawing of eagle and ΠΡΩΤΑΓΟΡ] it waighed 5s 6d and 10 graines wth a litle piece under (?) wch it had it might have waighed 13 or 14 gr

Savile MS 49(2)
[f.17: a description of a gold coin of Septimius Severus]
This aureus was the intire[st] fairest & largest, yt I ever saw. It waighed 12 Cons. denarij + 6gr. yt is 1ξ11 penny waight 14 gr English 20 penny waight in the ξ 24 gr in ye penny waight Engl. (1.) 48o gr ξ
* Cons 62gr
Drachma Att 67 gr Engl
[then there follows a description of Valentinian solidus] 68½ [and then another Valentinian] 69gr wates.
[f.23r = p. 496] in the Church of S Croce:
One of ye thirty pence, it had a round, g[rea]t & <fit [= perfect] face. It might weigh, by coniecture, neare 18 pence.

(transcriptions from Burnett 2020b, pp. 484-6)


  1. ^  Chacón, Pedro (1608) Opuscula. In Columnae Rostratae inscriptionem. De Ponderibus. De Mensuris. De Nummis, Romae, Ex Typographia Vaticana.
  2. ^  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.