The ninth annual eLit Awards are a global awards program committed to illuminating and honoring the very best of English language digital publishing entertainment. The eLit Awards are an industry-wide, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the electronic publishing industry. They celebrate the ever growing market of electronic publishing in the wide variety of reader formats.
This is the second independent validation of Ancient Selfies. In 2017, it was recognized as a Finalist in the prestigious International Book Awards Competition.
As with many ancient coins, there is some debate about who is represented on the face of this coin issued in a part of Greece controlled by Marc Antony in the mid-30s BC during the Second Triumverate. Some believe the image of Aphrodite on the front is in the image of Cleopatra, Antony's lover, mother of his children and co-leader of his combined Roman and Egyptian armies and navies at the fateful battle of Actium.
The coin coin depicts the Greek goddess of love, beauty and procreation. It is believed to have been issued by Marc Antony and Cleopatra to pay their legions.
The choice of Aphrodite for the coin would have been appropriate for a queen whose rise to power within a Roman man's world began while she was in exile fighting for her survival in Cyprus. This same island that launched Cleopatra onto the world stage also housed one of the two principal cult sites dedicated to Aphrodite and was believed by the Greeks to have been the birth site of the goddess.
It is not hard to believe that the image was intended to honor the great queen who was worshiped as a goddess within her native Egypt. Most often she was portrayed as the Egyptian goddess Isis, who was worshiped as the ideal mother and wife, and goddess of children.
A remarkable woman by any account, Cleopatra was the last of the Greek Ptolemy dynasty that ruled Egypt for 300 years. She ruled the wealthiest empire in the Western world with the most advanced arts, the most impressive cities, and the most luxurious lifestyles for its ruling class.
She was also among the best educated rulers of her time, benefiting from being raised in a culture where women had more access to education than did their Roman counterparts. She could speak fluently in many languages and was the first Ptolemy able to speak to her Egyptian subjects in their native tongue.
Cleopatra was at the height of her power when this coin was issued. With Marc Antony at her side, she had been proclaimed Queen of Kings and Queen of Egypt, an empire that included Egypt and much of the Levant and Greece. Her son Caesarion had been proclaimed by Antony to be the legitimate son and rightful heir of Julius Caesar.
Would you like Marc Antony to send you a picture of Cleopatra, his co-ruler, lover and mother to his children? You can get this selfie and selfies from other ancient rulers by purchasing Ancient Selfies - History Revealed Through the World's First Social Media: Ancient Coins. Get the book in eBook or paper at Amazon.com or check out the book web site at at http://www.ancientselfies.com/.
Details and provenance: Achaea, Patrae. Mid-30s BC. Silver hemidrachm. Obverse: Head of Aphrodite right wearing stephane, resembling Cleopatra? Reverse DA/MACIAC and monogram within wreath. 16 mm. 2.32 grams. References: BCD 525; SNG Copenhagen 154. Acquired from Barry P. Murphy, Willow Street, Pennsylvania in April of 2010.
Image and content copyright Clinton Richardson. Get Ancient Selfies in eBook or paper at Amazon.com or check out the Ancient Selfies web site at at http://www.ancientselfies.com/.
How would you like to receive a selfie from Julius Caesar or Cleopatra or Alexander the Great? Imagine how much more interesting the Romans and ancient Greeks would be if you could interact with them on social media. Imagine what you could experience and learn from seeing the selfies of leaders of the ancient world.
Impossible you say? Romans did not have cell phones or the Internet. Heck, they did not even have soap. Social media is a modern phenomenon, right?
The ancients invented the first social media and left their selfies for everyone to see. And these are not just ordinary selfies. They are engraved on the coins the ancients invented and used to distribute their images wherever their commerce took them.
You can see them in Ancient Selfies, the 2017 International Book Awards Finalist in History that takes you back to ancient Greece, Persia and Rome in a new way - through the images commissioned by their rulers for their coins.
For populations that were largely illiterate, these hand stamped coins made from hand engraved dies delivered images of their ancient rulers and the things that were happening in their lives. Their rulers understood the power coins had to communicate and used them to convey messages and shape impressions.
Thousands of years later, these very personal images enable us to travel back through the ages to get a unique glimpse into our past. The remarkably beautiful images on these coins, together with their stories, provide a unique and tangible way for us to connect directly with our past.
For more about Ancient Selfies - History Revealed Through the World's First Social Media: Ancient Coins check out the Ancient Selfies web site at www.ancientselfies.com.
Above image copyright Clinton Richardson is from the coin issued by Julius Caesar just days before his assassination. See the coin and read about Caesar in Chapter 4 of Ancient Selfies, available in color eBook and B&W print at Amazon.com.
ANCIENT SELFIES RECEIVES 5 STAR REVIEW FROM READERS' FAVORITE. For those who don't like click-throughs, here's the text of the Ancient Selfies review. Those who prefer to see review at Readers' Favorite can see the original review at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/ancient-selfies.
Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Ancient Selfies: History Revealed Through the World's First Social Media - Ancient Coins by Clinton Richardson is phenomenal, a historical book that transports readers back to ancient times and ancient places, and introduces them to ancient heroes through the art of the selfie preserved in ancient coins. Hand stamped coins with carefully selected images of key and prominent personalities of ancient times had tremendous effect and power over their subjects, and played an important role in barter when they met with commercial partners. The images, carefully and masterfully crafted on coins, became symbolic of the way these personalities were seen by their subjects and business partners — or, at least, the way they wanted to be seen. You will encounter prominent figures from different civilizations; the Persian, the Greek, the Celt, the Carthaginian, and the Phoenician.
Clinton Richardson has done a marvelous job in researching and writing this book, introducing readers to a concept that has been used more than 2000 years ago, and allowing them to see the side of historic heroes that they are hardly aware of. The idea behind this book is brilliant and it is masterfully executed. Ancient Selfies: History Revealed Through the World's First Social Media - Ancient Coins will change the way we see and appreciate history and some of the heroes who have played a great role in shaping it. Get ready for a ride with the author as he takes you through the art of ancient selfies, unveiling hidden secrets about the men and women we revere as icons of ancient history and civilization: Hannibal, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Homer, Julius Caesar, Spartacus, Cicero, Brutus, Cleopatra, and Marc Antony. This book opens a new path into the appreciation of ancient coins; it is interesting, intriguing, and utterly entertaining. It will be a long and delightful ride many years back in time.
This month saw Ancient Selfies named as Finalist in the history category of the 2017 International Book Awards. More than 1,500 books were submitted in the IBA competition. Thanks to the judges who reviewed Ancient Selfies and to Julius Caesar, Cleopatra and others who offered their endorsements in the front pages. :-)
ANCIENT MONEY'S SILENT WITNESS TO HISTORY and how it influences our lives today is the subject of today's post.
The image displayed above is from a coin was issued by a Roman Senator in 71 BC. In that year, Rome’s legions finally and violently quashed a massive slave rebellion on the Italian peninsula. The coin, as you can see, portrays a legionnaire holding a prostrate and defeated slave. The coin was a comfort to Rome’s citizens and a warning to its many slaves.
You may have heard about the rebellion. Bestselling author Howard Fast wrote about it in the 1950s and actor Kirk Douglas turned Fast’s book into a blockbuster movie in 1960. As the story goes, a Thracian mercenary named Spartacus is enslaved and sent to the gladiatorial school of Lentulus Batiatus in Capua in the year 73 BC. Plans are to include him in gladiatorial bouts hosted throughout Rome’s empire after his training.
Instead, he masterminds an escape and defeats all challenges thrown at him, dispatching Roman legion after Roman legion and accumulating over two years nearly 100,000 followers. His slave nation makes camp on Mount Vesuvius near modern day Naples and earns international notoriety for its resilience.
Knowing Rome must crush them to survive, Spartacus and his army of former slaves make arrangements to escape from the peninsula. But they fail. While trying to depart, the legions of Marcus Crassus and Magnus Pompey converge on them at once and defeat them in a crushing battle.
After the defeat, Crassus crucifies 6,000 captives from the battle, all former slaves, while marching the rest of them 350 miles from the battle site to Rome. The number equates to about 17 crucifixions per mile, spreading them apart far enough so that the screams of each crucified slave could not be heard by the other slaves as they marched under the watchful eyes of Crassius’ legions.
What you probably don’t know is that Howard Fast had to self-publish his book about Spartacus because his name appeared on Senator McCarthy’s black list of communist sympathizers. The Committee thought Fast and the story were too sympathetic to communist ideals.
Even with the impediment of self-publishing, however, Spartacus quickly became a number one bestseller on the New York Times Bestseller List. And then the story of Spartacus’ struggle took on new meaning and managed to impact modern America in a surprising way.
Kirk Douglas, annoyed at losing the lead role in Ben Hur to Charleston Heston, bought the film rights to Fast’s book and hired the incomparable Dalton Trumbo to write the screen play for his movie. Trumbo had been imprisoned for refusing to testify to the McCarthy’s Un-American Affairs Committee and was blacklisted by the motion picture industry.
When it came time to release the film, Douglas made another bold move and put Trumbo’s name in the movie credits.
Hedda Hopper and other influential media people panned Douglas and the move as un-American. Protesters appeared at the opening. But the movie nonetheless became an instant popular success marking a defeat for McCarthyism. When President Kennedy attended a showing and commented positively on the film, an important victory for American freedom was sealed.
Spartacus lost his own battle for freedom in 71 BC but centuries later his story helped free Dalton Trumbo and Americans everywhere from a tyranny of their own. The past matters. Ancient coins like the one above can remind us of important past events that can and do still impact our modern world.
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Coin from the Ancient Selfie collection. Issued by Roman Senator Manius Aquilius in 71 BC, the year the Third Servile War ended in Rome.
THIS SYRIAN BORN NIECE of Roman Emperor Septimius Severus became the first woman to openly and officially rule the Roman Empire. On her coin, Julia Mamaea appears with heavily curled hair and wearing a crown.
She first came to power with her mother when her son, Severus Alexander, ascended to the throne at the age of 14. He was thrust into the position when hIs predecessor Elagabalus was murdered by the Praetorian Guard. The two women, both named Julia, were named co-regents for Alexander because of his youth.
The two openly administered affairs of State for the under aged Alexander. Julia ruled ably at first, reversing scandalous policies of her predecessor, appointing 16 distinguished senators as her advisors, and making the distinguished lawyer Ulpian her chief advisor and head of the Praetorian Guard.
When Alexander reached adulthood after the death of Julia's mother, Alexander conferred on Julia the title of consors imperii . The position, which meant partner in rule, had been previously offered to co-emperor Lucius Verus by Marcus Aurelius. The appointment of a women to the position was unprecedented at the time.
Romans, however, were not unaccustomed to the idea of being governed by a woman. Julia's aunt Julia Domna had been remarkably visible in administering governmental functions for her husband Emperor Septimius Severus and her son Emperor Caracalla.
During Julia's reign, Julia received the title of Mater Castorum (mother of the camps) and Mater Senatus (mother of the Senate) and largely avoided scandals. Her contemporaries described her as virtuous. She consulted with the Christian theologian Origen about Christian doctrine.
Even so, Julia could be ruthless when her interests called for it. When her son married Barbia Orbiana in 225 and her father was made co-emperor, Julia had Barbia removed from the palace and ordered the murder of her father (and co-emperor).
As consul imperii she accompanied her son on military missions with the Legions.. And with him she tried to settle a major dispute with the Alammani. She got a 'deal' with the Alammani but the terms were so unpopular with members of Rome's 22nd Legion that they lynched both her and her son, raising their own Maximinius to the throne.
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Above, from the Ancient Selfies™ collection.
HUNDREDS OF YEARS after his demise medals with his image stamped onto them were awarded to athletes at the Olympics Games. So he was remembered in ancient times differently, perhaps, than he is now.
As Rome's emperor he was the most powerful man of his time. He wielded power confidently and sometimes ruthlessly. But he also loved poetry and music and frequently performed his compositions in public. One reported private performance earned him infamy.
He was wild about chariot races and games. So much so, that he even drove a ten horse chariot in the Olympic Games much to the dismay of his advisors. He was so enthusiastic about charioteers, in fact, that he styled his hair in their unique fashion combing it up and forward as shown on his coin. While his hairstyle disturbed his advisors it also contributed to his popularity with the masses. It was important to him to be popular with the masses.
While most historians question whether he ordered the burning of Rome in 64 AD, others believe the massive fire that consumed much of Rome during his reign and killed many was a deliberate act of an emperor who wanted to make Rome great again by clearing the way for his own public building projects. He was said to have sung the "Sack of Illium" in stage costume and possibly played the lyre while the city burned.
Whether he was the architect of Rome's destruction or not, he did make Christians the scapegoat for the fire and ordered the systematic persecution of its members as punishment. Tradition holds that Christ's disciple Peter was among the many crucified during this persecution. In Peter's case, the belief is that he was crucified upside.
He acted with confidence driven, you might say, by an inner compass that justified almost any action that secured his power or advanced his agenda. He ordered the murder of his mother and first wife. And some believe he personally killed his second wife by kicking her at a public function while she was near full term in her pregnancy.
In the end, Rome's legions revolted against him and the taxes imposed to fund his massive building projects. To avoid capture, he ordered his personal secretary to take his life, saying "What an artist dies in me" while contemplating his 'suicide.' His death was followed by a year of civil war during which four different individuals claimed the crown of Rome's emperor.
Of course, we cannot know the full picture of Nero's life with any certainty. The records are too old and incomplete. But the coin does give us a glimpse of his hairstyle and we know his reign was eventually 'trumped' by the leaders of his legions.
Which raises the all important question? Is there a reason the Donald wears his hair the same way? And, will Americans be Trumped this election cycle?
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IT DEPENDS ON who you ask and what you mean by invented.
Was the selfie invented by Robert Cornelius in 1839 when he produced a daguerreotype image of himself? Cameras were so primitive then he had to remove the lens cover, run to position, stand for a minute and then run back and put the lens cap back on. He claimed invention when he marked the back of the finished photo "The first light Picture ever taken."
Or was it the developer of the Brownie Kodak camera in 1900 that made self-portraits more widespread? If you think the selfie is tied to front facing cell phone cameras maybe you give the nod to the Sony Ericsson company for the Z1010 mobile phone they was released in late 2003. Some say the first use of the word selfie appeared in an Internet forum in 2002.
But if you think that the essence of the selfie is a self-portrait that can be widely distributed then you need to look much further back in time. My candidate?
I nominate Cyrus the Great who was the first to distribute his image using a relatively new and widespread media – coins - sometime between 550 and 539 BC. Leader of the largest empire the world had seen, his territory stretched from the Mediterranean Sea into the Indus Valley including all of the ancient Near East, Southwest Asia and parts of Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Cyrus used the coin medium perfected by the great Lydian leader Croesus when he defeated Croesus’ army and annexed his territory. While coins existed earlier, Croesus had standardized the weights and purity of his coins in a way that made them into international medium of exchange. With such wide distribution, ancient coins became a perfect way to communicate with a large and mostly illiterate population.
But Croesus never put his own image on his coins. It was left to Cyrus to make that innovation when he had an image of himself kneeling and drawing a bow placed on the coinage he adopted from Croesus. The image (shown above) may be crude by modern standards but so was the technology. The dies used to hand stamp the images onto his coins were engraved by hand.
Above, from the Ancient Selfies™ collection, front side of a coin issued by Cyrus the Great between 505 and 480 BC.
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