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The Creation of Tokens in Late Antiquity. Religious 'tolerance' and 'intolerance' in Fourth and Fifth Centuries AD

The Creation of Tokens in Late Antiquity. Religious 'tolerance' and 'intolerance' in Fourth and Fifth Centuries AD


This innovative project aims to investigate the phenomenon of the production of late-antique tokens as objects embodying the relations between different religious identities in Roman society. In particular, the study focuses on the so-called “Vota Publica coinage” (or “Festival of Isis coinage”) and “Asina tokens”, both minted in the Roman West during the fourth century and perhaps the fifth century AD. These issues are still partly unpublished and furnish valuable data. Since the creation of these “pagan” objects took place during the gradual repression of polytheistic cults by a Christian government, the project will shed light on the question of religious freedom and on the dynamics of religious “propaganda” during an era that saw the transformation of the pagan Roman Empire into a Christian one. Unlike traditional approaches, religious politics will be examined through the innovative perspective supplied by the numismatic evidence of tokens, which, as an expression of relationships, exchanges and culture, contain a remarkable informative potential for the understanding of broader aspects within ancient communities.
Through this lens, the project will focus on specific social, religious, and cultural experiences in the context of the “conflict” between pagans and Christians in the fourth and fifth centuries AD. The adoption of an interdisciplinary approach and the mobilization of intellectual tools forged by classical disciplines will help to formulate appropriate patterns and to develop an analytical inquiry on the psychological, social, religious and political changes and interactions revealed by tokens in the late Roman empire.
This project will therefore make a historical contribution to current reflections on religious “tolerance” and “intolerance” that have a significant preponderance in societies past and present. Addressing a matter of continuing concern, the project will help inform contemporary debates in different fields of the scientific research
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Cv4 8uw Coventry

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 212 933,76

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 840737


Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    2 September 2019

  • End date

    1 September 2021

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 212 933,76

  • EU contribution

    € 212 933,76

Coordinated by:


United Kingdom