Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Numismatics News: New version of Coinage of the Roman Republic Online released

Today, an improved version of Coinage of the Roman Republic Online (CRRO) was released. This release improves the consistency of the data entry and implements the type-subtype hierarchical structure in Crawford's original RRC typology. The CRRO types are no longer a flat structure of about 2200 entries, but there are now about 1750 parent types and about 500 subtypes, with subtypes links to parents through the skos:broader RDF property upon ingestion into Improvements were made in other areas as well:

  • Issuers represented by symbols or letters were generated as URIs. Some symbols were reused in different periods, implying different moneyers, and so each one has a different URI, e.g.,
  • Type descriptions and legends were cleaned and normalized. Control marks of various types were split into different positions with respect to the obverse and reverse of the coin. These symbols are now queryable in the browse page, much like Hellenistic Royal Coinages.
  • Deities URIs from the British Museum were replaced with new ones. Several new deities were created in Nomisma that were not accessible in the search facets before, although we certainly have not isolated all of them yet.
  • People who appear on the coins are now searchable through a portrait facet. These types mostly affect coins of the First and Second Triumvirates, although some miscellaneous regnal or early Republican period people were created in
  • The mint facet was cleaned up so that only true mints appear in the list (or "Uncertain Value") and historical regions moved into the hierarchical region facet. We rely on Nomisma's geographic hierarchy to populate the region facet when we are able to identify the mint.
  • All of the Roman Republican issuers have been linked to the Nomisma concept for the Roman Republic, with start and end dates for their role(s) as a moneyer.
  • We adopted the EpiDoc TEI specification for ligatures in the legends (see this query result and related types).


Example of browse page with ligatures in legends and queryable symbols.


When CRRO was published in 2015, it had been derived from cataloging data from the British Museum database, curated by Eleanor Ghey. Specimens that were not represented in the BM were supplemented by data entered by Rick Witschonke. At the time, Rick was entering the late stages in his fight against cancer, and very much wanted to see an "OCRE" for Roman Republican Coinage. We expedited the publication of CRRO as a result, even though it was not quite as robust at the outset as OCRE was. Despite the popularity of CRRO (second only to OCRE in usage out of the ANS' digital projects), we have not been able to revisit the data structure of the project in over 7 years. Furthermore, the original Excel spreadsheet from which the CRRO data originated no longer seems to exist or be accessible online.

Several months ago, I processed the NUDS/XML files from CRRO back into a spreadsheet that I began to normalize in OpenRefine. After some clean-up, this was uploaded as a Google Spreadsheet for more fine-tuned editing by the ANS curatorial associate, Alice Sharpless (who primarily works on the Roman Republican Die Project). Alice did a significant amount of normalizing legends and type descriptions, fixed issues with the conflation of region URIs as mints, and split symbols into multiple columns.

Next Steps

Now that CRRO exists as a canonical spreadsheet that can easily be edited or updated, we plan to insert some new Republican typologies that have been published since RRC in 1974. These new types can be slotted into the spreadsheet as necessary with an appropriate bibliographic reference. These new types are necessary for further cataloging both in RRDP and Coin Hoards of the Roman Republic, which will hopefully see a new edition from Kris Lockyear.


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