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History of Money. Ancient Rome

The exhibition “History of Money. Ancient Rome” shows the history of the Roman state and its citizens, highlighting the economic functions of money, consisting in its influence on civilization progress through stimulation of production and trade. It also presents the cultural role of money, reflected by iconography and epigraphy featured on coins, serving as state propaganda, promoting, among others, the idea of imperial authority.

The exhibition consists of three parts. Each of them was situated in separate rooms (room 1, 2 and 3) in an enfilade spatial arrangement.

The first part of the exhibition – room 1 – introduces visitors to the world of the Roman Empire, presenting its history (753 B.C. - 476 A.D.) illustrated by selected coins made from bronze, silver and gold, placed in six display cases in chronological order. Presented coins are also divided by iconographic motifs featured on them, including emperors, members of imperial families, landmark buildings, personifications of Roman virtues and symbolical presentations referring to political and military events of that time. Some of them are presented as enlarged images on the wall. In addition, the exhibition was provided with computer software – an interactive map presenting the history and range of the Roman state, from its foundation to the fall of the Western Empire.

Room 2 is dedicated to Emperor Diocletian (3rd/4th c.) and his times. Visitors can listen to recording that informs about the role played by this ruler who introduced currency, administrative and political reforms, with particular consideration to “Edict of Diocletian on Maximum Prices” (“Edictum Diocletiani de pretiis rerum venalium”), issued in 301 in order to stop inflation.

The content of the edict, in electronic version, is presented in room 3, constituting the main part of the exhibition, in which a Roman market from the times of Diocletian was recreated. This suggestive staging makes an impression of time travel to Ancient Rome. It features market stalls with replicas of goods traded during Diocletian’s times. There are also coins that were used as currency. 

The exhibition is an event of national range. It presents objects on loan from the National Museums of Warsaw, Krakow and Poznań, the Regional Museum in Toruń, the Princes Czartoryski Foundation in Krakow, the UMK University Museum in Toruń, private collections and the Leon Wyczółkowski Regional Museum in Bydgoszcz. In addition, there are photographs of historic objects, made available by the Capitoline Museums of Rome and the Pergamon Museum of Berlin. We need to mention that the exhibition “History of Money. Ancient Rome” starts a series of exhibitions dedicated to the history of money, from ancient times to the present.


The exhibition is open from May 17, 2014 to April 6, 2015.



Designed: Jimpenny / Programmed: FreshData