“On my way to somwhere civilised”

Earlier this year I became involved in a group project of sorts with an assortment of folks I had met through Flickr and/or WordPress. The idea was for members to take in turns the creation of a monthly subject/topic for all of us to shoot. We would post the image or images (no more than five) to our Flickr accounts and then write about them on WordPress and include the photo(s). So far it has been an interesting endeavor and turned out far better than I had originally hoped.

This month’s topic was a bit of a challenge for me (for reasons that will become obvious shortly), but I managed to put together an idea and it yielded results that pleased me to no end for a handful of reasons. As such, I’ve decided to copy the WordPress entry for my December 2008 submission here, on my main WordPress site.

Please to enjoy…..

Title: All Roads Lead to Rome

Let me tell you……this month’s topic, Street Antiquity, has been very, very difficult. Certainly the whole purpose of this endeavor was, and remains, to stretch ourselves a bit. To try the unfamiliar. To stretch the meaning of the topic. To render it in our own particular vision. But this time I was having no small problem determining how I could stretch my lens, so to speak, around this particular topic.

Certainly the obvious sprung to mind. The notion of shooting old buildings or structures found on, or as our British counterparts prefer, in the street was the most obvious route and not one to be scoffed at either. Of course, our British counterparts have things a bit easier in this regard as their fine island nation is rife with very old and antiquated structures. One need only exit their door, turn left, walk fifteen minutes and voila! There will no doubt be some home or pub built in the mid-sixteen-hundreds just begging to be photographed.

But what was I to do? Certainly I could find some older structures upon some road….there’s a farm house not far from here, which was built in the mid eighteen hundreds, but that hardly feels like antiquity. So I have been giving this particular subject great thought over these weeks of December and had come away with the idea of shooting some older buildings in the downtown Dayton area. As such I took to my vehicle this afternoon and headed down towards the city, but made a minor detour to a certain older neighborhood where I had hoped to grab a few photographs of holiday decorations.

While out of my car and moving around the road looking for the best angles, etc. I happened to notice something rather shiny upon the rain-moistened roadway..

IMG_4298

“What’s this?” thought I as I bent down to obtain a closer look. To be frank my first impression was that it was a dime (a 10-penny piece, if you will), but closer examination revealed that it was indeed a coin, but no coin of recent minting. Curious and anxious I snapped a few shots of the coin laying there on the wet bricks before picking it up and returning to my car. Further examination revealed nothing to me…..it was crudely struck, clearly old and tasted of silver. “This could be something valuable!” raced through my mind so I elected to cancel the rest of my journey as planned and instead drove to a local stamp and coin shop.

The proprietor examined my find for a few minutes, referenced a page in some book, placed the coin upon the counter and said to me “Congratulations! You have found a Roman silver denarius.”

“What? Really? Get out of here.” was my knee-jerk retort, but he continued “Yeah, the head is the likeness of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and was no doubt minted some time during his reign, which was…..” he glances back at the page in the book, “….161 to 180 A.D. Where did you find it, if you don’t mind my asking?”

I managed to stammer something about one of our oldest local roads just south of downtown Dayton and mentioned that it was just laying there..upon the remnants of this long-ago-built road. “Amazing,” he replied.

So there you go folks…..clearly this coin of a long forgotten realm was dropped by maybe a Roman Centurion making his way down this road south of Dayton heading to parts unknown. Or maybe it was a merchant on his way back to Rome with fine goods he had purchased and traded for while visiting Dayton. I don’t know…but I do know that you can read more about the denarius (and see a picture that looks remarkably like my coin) at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denarius.

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