A-Level Classical Civilisation students recently visited the Coin Study Room at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham, where the coin curator Dr Maria Vrij ran a fascinating and bespoke session about ancient coinage.
Pupils were able to hold in their own hands a range of coins from during the period they study for their course – the end of the Roman Republic – as well as some fascinating and earlier Roman coins in their collection.
Freddie T said, “My favourite part was handling a silver Roman coin of Mark Antony, depicting a Roman ship on one side and the 20th legion sign on the other. It was interesting seeing something that I had learned about before only in textbooks and being able to handle it.”
Pupils also got to hold some coins from other significant events not covered in their course: Sam T said, “The fact that we were holding coins that were in circulation during the Punic Wars, especially when Hannibal was around, was quite impressive.”
Brook R said, “For me, I really enjoyed looking at the rare gold coins, especially the smallest one, as the amount of detail impressed upon such a tiny surface was quite astonishing.”
Classical Civilisation at Oakham School may be chosen at GCSE without any prior study, and no Latin or Greek is involved. It may also be taken up as a new subject at A-level without prior study.