Dissertatio de praestantia et usu numismatum antiquorum.
Ezechiel Spanheim (1629-1710). Dissertatio de praestantia et usu numismatum antiquorum. Rome: Blaise Deversin, 1664.
This small volume, in which Spanheim argues for the study of ancient coins as a historical science, is considered one of the most influential in the history of numismatics. The book was so well-received that, in 1671, Spanheim prepared a greatly expanded second edition that was published in Paris, London, and Amsterdam and that tripled the content of the first edition by adding illustrations and inscriptions of every known ancient coin type.
A career diplomat, Spanheim was also well-respected throughout Europe for his encyclopedic knowledge of Greek and Latin texts, ancient history, art, and geography. During his first post in Rome, 1661-1665, Spanheim joined the social circle of the exiled Queen of Sweden, Christina (1626-1689), who shared his love of ancient coins and antiquities. There, he wrote this edition which is presented as thirteen discourses addressed to his friend Ottavio Falconieri of Rome and dedicated to Queen Christina.
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