The world is in a state of upheaval at the moment, and we’re all looking for things to make us feel less anxious. Maybe Classics can help.
Today’s interview is with Eduardo García-Molina
Is there a source from the ancient world that you find yourself coming back to when you want to feel better?
I continually find myself pouring over databases of ancient coins. I have compiled a list of coins I find really interesting and among them is this one:
[Images from the SCO Database; Bibliothèque nationale de France]
When did you first come across this coin?
I initially saw this coin while I was researching my master’s thesis at Florida State University. It dealt with the dissolution of the Seleukid Empire.
Can you tell me a bit about this coin and its context?
This coin is a silver tetradrachm minted in the city of Soloi in Kilikia. The obverse features the head of Alexandros I Balas, who ruled the Seleukid Empire for roughly five years (c. 150-145 BCE.) He bears the diadem around his head that signifies his right to rule. What is more interesting, in my opinion, is the reverse…
What is it about the reverse that interests you?
The reverse has a very ideologically charged symbol, the divine embodiment of prosperity and fortune: Tyche. She sits on a throne and has her turreted crown. She rests her elbow on a shield and holds Nike, victory, in her other hand. The tiny Pokémon-like Nike holds a laurel crown and is attempting to crown the royal epithets. I think it is a great example of just how inventive coin designs could get to send a message.
And finally… what do you do, outside of Classics, to cheer yourself up?
Unsurprisingly given my Pokémon reference, I play video games. I also write about Classics-themed videogames at times to help me think about historiographical questions. Aside from that, I love to watch horror movies with my partner, our two cats (Pandora and Athena), and our dog (Attalos).
Eduardo is a PhD student at the University of Chicago. His current work focuses on the communicative aspects of royal Hellenistic inscriptions. He also looks at the role of chora basilike and the projection of Seleukid power onto the hinterlands in response to the changing political dynamics of the Near East after the Treaty of Apameia in 188 BCE. He has a nascent fascination with hats and headgear on coinage.
Eduardo also researches the use of Graeco-Roman antiquity in the works of prominent Hispanic political theorists in the 19th and early 20th century.
You can find Eduardo on Twitter @eduardo_garcmol.
Catch up with all the Comfort Classics interviews here.