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Researchers at University College London have discovered a monetus depicting a previously unknown Roman emperor named Sponsianus, who may have been an army officer who assumed supreme command in the ancient Roman province of Dacia, which was located in the territory modern day Romania.
The researchers compared the coin with several genuine coins of the same design discovered in 1713 in Transylvania, Romania.
The peer-reviewed study, led by Professor Paul Pearson, was published in the scientific journal Plos One.
Although this coin and other coins associated with it had long been considered eighteenth-century forgeries, the team was surprised to see obvious surface wear scratches and “earth deposits” that seemed to warrant further study.
“; If the coins turned out to be forgeries, they would be a particularly interesting example of an antique forgery; if they were genuine, they would be of clear historical interest”, — scientists said.
Archaeological studies show that the Romanian region was cut off from the rest of the Roman Empire around 260 AD. and remained isolated until 271-275 AD.
Minting has always meant power and authority. Understanding this and considering that he could not receive official mint issues in Rome, Sponsian probably authorized the creation of locally produced coins, some of which even featured his face, in an attempt to keep a functioning economy within the boundaries of his territory.
testify that he ruled Roman Dacia, an isolated outpost of gold mining, at a time when the empire was torn apart by civil wars and the frontier lands were seized, ",— Professor Pearson said.
Only four Sponsian coins are currently known to have survived, and all of them are most likely from the 1713 hoard. .
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