Friday, September 5, 2014

Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum

Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
The Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum is a British Academy Research Project, the purpose of which is to publish illustrated catalogues of Greek coins in public and private collections in the British Isles.
SNG has retained the traditional, very broad, definition of 'Greek' to include the coins produced by all ancient civilisations of the Mediterranean and neighbouring regions except Rome, though it does include the Roman Provincial series often known as 'Greek Imperials'. 

The project was inaugurated in 1931 with the publication of the collection of Capt. E.G. Spencer-Churchill. A new and distinctive format was used, with text and illustrations on facing pages. This meant that only limited text was included, with the illustrations having greater prominence than in earlier types of catalogues, and to some extent replacing textual descriptions. This is because the primary purpose of SNG was to make much more material available for study. This format has been retained ever since and has been adopted, along with the title Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, for similar projects in many other countries, including Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. 

To date, the British SNG project has published over 30 fascicules from many different public and private collections, and the total world-wide exceeds 120 volumes. The project is supported by the Union Académique Internationale and information on SNG activities world-wide is now co-ordinated by the International Numismatic Commission. The SNG format has effectively become standard for the cataloguing of Greek coins for academic study, and it has also been adopted for other series, e.g. the Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles (SCBI).
While the output of the Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum project has traditionally been volumes of text and plates, in recent years digital recording of this material has begun to take place. A relational database application has been funded by The British Academy specifically for the recording of numismatic data and this application forms the basis of the electronic publication of this data on the WWW.

This does not indicate a change in the aims of SNG but rather a recognition that the information SNG publishes should be available in forms other than printed books.

Currently some 25,000 coins from the Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum volumes are online in the form of a searchable database. The original data has been normalised to ensure consistent searches across the volumes. Eventually the database may be expanded to include unpublished material. The application will thus provide hugely increased access to SNG data.

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