SYNOPSIS OF THE CONTENTS oF THE BRITISH MUSEUM. DEPARTMENT OF COINS AND MEDALS. A GUIDE SELECT GREEK AND ROMAN COINS EXHIBITED IN ELECTROTYPE. NEW EDITION, BY BARCLAY V. HEAD, Assistant Kegrgr oF Corns, LONDON: PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE TRUSTEES. 1880. ‘LONDON : PRINTED BY WILLIAM OLOWES AND SONS, STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS, MOLE, (S EAD OXFORD Museum. EDITOR'S PREFACE. oo Tue fronts of the two upright cases A and B on either side of the King’s Library contain electrotypes of the finest ancient coins in the National Collection, arranged in such a manner as to afford a synoptical view at once his- torical and geographical of the gold and silver coinage of the ancient world, from the invention of the art of coining, about 8.c. 700, down to the Christian era. The chief value of Greek coins lies in their being original works of art, not copies, as are most of the extant sculptures in the round, and in their recording the suc- cessive phases and local varieties of Greek art, in which respect no other class of monuments, sculptures, bronzes, terracottas, fictile vases, or gems, can compete with them. From the seventh century before the Christian era down- wards, and from the farthest east to the extreme west of the ancient civilised world, gold and silver coins are still extant, in many cases as uninjured as when they first left the dies. The devices or types which they bear, if not by ‘leading artists, certainly faithfully represent the style of the sculpture and even of the painting of the periods to which they belong. Thus in no other branch of Greek monuments can the student so readily and so thoroughly trace the growth, the maturity, and the decay of the plastic art as on coins chronologically arranged. For the study of mythology they present the local con ceptions of the gods and heroes worshipped in the Greek world, with their attributes and symbols. The historian