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powerful cities, the emblems of which still appear in cabinets, that have long passed away-ipse periere ruine !
Dr. Lee's extensive numismatic treasures are arranged in six cabinets, two of which are filled with Greek coins and Greek-Imperial, relating to places visited by him during his travels in Spain, Italy, Sicily, Malta, Greece, the Ionian Islands, Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, and the Greek islands. Many of these are extremely rare, as well as beautiful in design and execution; and all of them of such interest, that a published catalogue raisonnée of them would be a welcome boon to literature. There are excellent specimens of the Sicilian mints, and that of Athens; some fine tetradrachms of the kings of Syria, fair coins of the Arsacidæ, and the large concave and other gold coins of the Constantinopolitan emperors.
Those of Tyre and Berytus are in excellent condition, and the GreekImperial of Heliopolis, and other towns, having on them representations of temples and other buildings, are very valuable for their reverses. In alluding to the East, I ought not to omit to mention a well-preserved silver Jewish shekel, even though I consider it to have been struck at a period much later than has been argued for it by Polyglot Walton, Prideaux, and others, who have advanced assumption instead of proof. Looking, as I do, upon the shekels of early Scripture to indicate only a denomination of weight, and entertaining strong doubts as to any knowledge of the art of coining being possessed by the early Jews, it cannot have been struck, I think, before the time of the Seleucidæ.* The Hartwell specimen bears its name and denomination in Samaritan characters: on one side appears a branch with three buds, considered to represent the flowering of Aaron's staff, but by others held to be the hyoscyamus, or reticulated Egyptian henbane, which Josephus mentions as having ornamented Aaron's head-dress; the opposite face bears a gomor, censer, or
* There are many shekels with square Hebrew letters, but they are all modern forgeries; a knowledge of which has led to the undiscriminating opinion that the Samaritan shekels are also spurious. It must bave been under such an impression that the self-satisfied Pinkerton pronounces—“the admission of but one of them is rightly esteemed to be almost a disgrace to a cabinet." Heu!
The legend over the flower expresses, as I am given to understand, Jerusalem the Holy; and that around the censer, half of the shekel of Israel, year 2. The reading, however, of another friend, makes the latter,— half for the use of the sanctuary. To clear up so knotty a point, I here give an impression from the coin itself
Among the Greek coins will be found samples of the united genius and taste for which the Hellenians were unrivalled; for their skill in symbolical representations, poetical imagery, exquisite finish, and spirited expression, cannot be surpassed. I must here, however, allude only to the principal object of
. their being brought together, namely, for geographical reference. Other sciences
, have also shared the collector's attention, though in a less degree; and there is a long series in illustration of Astronomy, both ancient and modern, among which the celebrated zodiacal rupees must not be forgotten.
We will now take a cursory view of an historical series—one in the collection of which I have been unusually interested.
In the centre of the room stands a commodious old library table, the drawers of which are devoted to articles and references for forwarding numismatic study. This table also forms a pedestal to a beautiful cabinet from the well-known hand of Roberts, in the exact form of the Temple of Janus. It is twenty-one inches high, eighteen deep, and fifteen broad; having twenty-five sliders pierced with forty compartments each, making space for one thousand medals; with a deep drawer for a catalogue at the bottom, and a secret locker at the top
It is composed of mahogany, inlaid with other woods, and the principal front is decorated with two columns in antis, which are made of a very hard wood from a part of the Strait of Magellan, named by my friend Captain P. P. King, Hartwell Island; it is situated in Smyth's Channel, another of the designations of his arduous survey of those parts. The wood was brought home by Captain T. Graves, then a lieutenant under Captain King, in my old ship the Adventure; and it arrived just in time for a sample of it to be thus enshrined.
While employed in the Mediterranean, and having always been strongly imbued with historical recollections, I could scarcely fail of acquiring a warm numismatic and antiquarian bias. At first my medallic collection was pretty general, though with a partial leaning to the Greek mintage. As I advanced, I was struck with the importance of the Roman large-brass series, seeing that in date and circumstance they must approximate closely to truth, since they were not, as with the gold and silver, struck by the emperor's private will, but by a regular and formal senatus consultum. Added to this, the evident fidelity of their portraits, the importance of the transactions represented, and the masterly brevity of their expressive legends, induced me to secure good impressions wherever I could fall in with them, even by exchanging away all the gems
other series. With some years of application, under highly favouring circumstances, I was singularly successful; as is evinced in my Descriptive Catalogue printed at Bedford in 1834. On retiring to that quiet town with the three-fold object of completing the charts and plans of my Mediterranean survey, educating my young family, and inquiring into sidereal laws, the res angusta domi precluded my having more fancies than one: the large-brass, and rare numismatic works, therefore, gave way before astronomical instruments of power, and the erection of an observatory. On the six hundred medals here alluded to being passed over to Hartwell, Dr. Lee resolved to increase them to one thousand; and, from those collected in his travels, and those secured by taste and perseverance, he has all but accomplished it. Hence the beautiful assemblage before us.
The array commences with Julius Cæsar, the head and front of the empire, and terminates with Gallienus, whose family closed it; as the reigns after the advent of what are conventionally termed the Thirty Tyrants—there were seventeen of them-constitutes the Lower Empire of historians : and, singularly enough, at the end of the earlier emperors, the legitimate large-brass coinage also concludes. The period therefore embraced is from B.C. 43 to A.D. 268, or three hundred and eleven years; a brief but wonderfully important span in the world's history. It is replete with the sort of moral vicissitudes which mankind then underwent; many of which are traceable on the medals before us. By these hackneyed yet faithful chroniclers, assigned to their proper date and circumstance, we can ascertain, with unquestionable certainty, many of the deeds of each of the sovereigns, their titles, accessions, progresses, victories, triumphs, largesses, deaths, and apotheoses; while their portraits are stamped with strong inferential testimony of being authentic likenesses. A detailed account is not the object of these pages, but some very interesting instances may be hastily pointed out.
The comet which appeared when Cæsar was killed is duly commemorated; and there is a very fine copy of the medal struck by Augustus on redeeming the Roman prisoners from Parthia. Admiral Agrippa appears with the device of Neptune. There is also that coined when Tiberius afforded relief to Asia, on thirteen cities having been destroyed by a terrible earthquake: but though the Senatorial authority (Senatus Consulto) under which the brass medals of imperial Rome were struck, was a means of maintaining a staid propriety in the emblems and legends, still it could not prohibit obsequious flattery,—hence the same mint which immortalizes the liberality of Tiberius in remitting the taxes on Asia, also hands his Moderation down to posterity. The German campaigns of Drusus and Germanicus are enrolled, as well as the civic service of Claudius, and the founding of Ostia and closing the Temple of Janus by Nero : so also are unerringly recorded the acts of Vespasian in re-establishing order in Rome, the conquest of Judæa by Titus, the various stages of the secular games under Domitian, the abrogation of taxes by Nerva, the legislative and benevolent transactions of Trajan, the travels of Hadrian (Locupletatori orbis terrarum), the creditable deeds of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, the gladiatorial combats of Commodus as the Roman Hercules, and, indeed, the expeditions and leading acts of all the emperors down to the rupture of the empire. In contemplating these undying memorials, the ingenuity of device and excellence of workmanship are strikingly admirable; and we are reminded of the truth of Addison's remark, that we “may often find as much thought on the reverse of a medal as in a canto of Spenser.”
Though in a secondary degree, we somehow like those records best which bring distinct incidents home to ourselves, even though they bear evidence to our former subjection. But, without historical interest, a nation's career must, till time has stamped it, be comparatively spiritless and monotonous; and thus even memorials of defeat testify that a struggle for liberty was made. A country may be energetic, and boast its commerce and steamers, its canals and railways; but, if destitute of great recollections, the heart can neither be properly affected nor elevated. Now this cabinet contains specimens of singular interest to our own country's story, as referring to the visit of Hadrian, the favour of Antoninus Pius, the advantages gained by Commodus, and the campaigns of Severus and his sons, Caracalla and Geta. On this valuable
On this valuable sequence, and especially those coins which bear the type of Britain, I cannot but express my dissent from a strange heresy which has very recently obtained among some collectors; it would not, however, have been here noticed, but that it has gained a station in the “Materials for the History of Britain,” printed at a serious public expense. In that national work, inference is allowed instead of demonstration : after enumerating the Roman Britannias in the British Museum, and some of these in the cabinet before us, it is said that the sedent figure does not symbolize Britain, but represents Rome sitting on British rocks, adding,—“ It is not likely that the Romans would personify a conquered country with the military insignia of the conquerors.” Now it requires no great assurance to pronounce at once that this opinion cannot be sustained; and that the conquerors declined conceding military insignia to conquered provinces when resistance was over, is not at all a correct inference, if the symbols of Dacia, Pannonia, Cappadocia, &c. are to be received in evidence. In the period under discussion, Roma is always represented as a female in Roman attire; and, whether standing or sitting on spoils