J D Evans Lecture 2/19/17 on Magic, votive offerings, and coins at Roman Sardis

Since the beginning of coinage in the west, people have given their gold, silver and bronze coins to the gods. At Roman Sardis, ancient capital of the Lydian king Croesus, legendary for his wealth, two archaeological deposits give us insight into some of these practices: one contains coins that the worshiper made certain only the gods could use; the second worshiper manipulated coins to appeal to the gods of the mountains and the storms.  Both deposits give us insight into the blurry line between standard religious practices and magical practices, as well as helping us to understand the political and economic fortunes of the city.

Lecture will be followed by an optional gallery tour of Magic in the Ancient World led by exhibition curators Robert Ousterhout and Grant Frame.

Sardis has been excavated by American archaeologists in collaboration with Turkish authorities since 1910. The current campaign was initiated in 1958 by George Hanfmann of Harvard University, followed by Crawford H. Greenewalt, jr., and continues under Prof. Nicholas Cahill.  For full details see www.sardisexpedition.org/en/essays/about-sardis-expedition

Jane DeRose Evans, Professor at the Temple U, Tyler School of Art, received her Ph. D from U of Penn. A specialist in the archaeology of the Roman provinces, and especially in ancient numismatics, she has just completed a a monograph on the archaeological and economic contexts of the 1973-2013 coins from the Sardis excavations for Harvard University Press.