John Cunnally, Irritamenta: Numismatic Treasures of a Renaissance Collector (Numismatic Studies, 31)

New York: The American Numismatic Society, 2016, 2 vols, pp. 414 and 330, $200, ISBN 978-0-89722-3423
  • William Stenhouse
Book Review

MS Typ. 411 in the Houghton Library at Harvard is a roughly A4-sized, 171-folio manuscript, containing illustrations in pen of 1,220 ancient coins. It does not include any text, with the exception of the legends on the coins and the two-letter abbreviations beside them to indicate the metals from which they were made. As a result, its context and purpose are not immediately apparent: a note on the inside of the front cover in English attributes the drawings to Jacopo Strada, the Mantuan goldsmith, antiquities dealer and scholar, perhaps simply because Strada remains the most famous sixteenth-century numismatist. In Irritamenta – the title comes from an emblem of Johannes Sambucus, where coins are called ‘irritamenta bonorum’, an allusion to Ovid’s description of riches as ‘irritamenta malorum’ (MetamorphosesI.140) – John Cunnally establishes where, when and why the manuscript was made, and catalogues the coins it includes. The second volume of the publication presents a lavish...

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yeshiva UniversityNew YorkUSA

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