Union Académique Internationale

Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum (SNG)

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Project nº26, adopted in 1969

The Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum series was founded in 1930 in the United Kingdom by the then Curator of Greek coins at the British Museum, Sir Stanley Robinson. Initially the project was conceived on a national basis, and established as a British Academy Research Project. In time, the project extended to other countries, and in Paris on April 21, 1969 the series was adopted by the Union Académique Internationale under the Directorship of the British Academy and the International Numismatic Commission.

The Origin and Nature of the Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum series

In contemplating the production of an SNG volume it is important to bear in mind the original intention behind the series, as it was expressed by its founder, Sir Stanley Robinson:

The object of the publication, of which this is the first part, is to reproduce by photography Greek coins contained in collections which have not been already published with adequate illustrations; to do, in fact, mutatis mutandis, what is being done for Greek Vases by the Corpus Vasorum.... The study of ancient, and particularly Greek, coins is now entering upon a new phase and must employ new methods. Most extant coins of outstanding importance, historically or otherwise, have been adequately published and discussed; and the general outlines have been laid down once for all. It remains to fill in the detail with the greatest richness possible. This can only be done through intensive work upon special periods and issues, in which large numbers of similar coins, common as well as scarce, are studied for minor varieties, and rigid chronological sequences are established on the evidence of die identities.

A few monographs on these lines have already been prepared, and the results obtained from them indicate how fruitful the new method of approach may prove. But before rapid progress can be made it is necessary to increase the amount of the material easily available for study. At present the new method is only possible for one who has access to private collections and can visit foreign museums and amass a large apparatus of plaster casts. For it is essential that he should be able to study as many specimens as possible at the same time.

As a preliminary, photographic illustrations, of the kind here provided, will tell him where his material is to be found, and greatly diminish the number of plaster casts which he would other-wise require for examination. There are many collections in English universities and museums, not to speak of those in private hands, which can provide just the material required.

The text has been kept as short as possible, no running references being given and only such details as are not clear from the illustrations themselves; but notes on points of special interest which have suggested themselves for comment have not been excluded. The axis is indicated, except, of course, where there is no reverse type, and weights are given in grammes.

SNG is intended to be the vehicle for the swift publication of all the basic information about specimens in a collection that will be necessary to a scholar working on a die-study or corpus of a coinage or coinages. The SNG series was not designed to serve as the full catalogue publication of a collection; nor is its primary purpose to serve as a reference work for a particular coinage (even though some volumes by their comprehensive or esoteric nature may have incidentally assumed that role). SNG is the tool intended to help those engaged in the project of creating those reference works by making many specimens available. SNG authors are thus encouraged not to allow the accumulation of unnecessary scholarly apparatus to stand in the way of prompt publication. The INC has established a list of categories of information (a) with the aim of establishing what it is necessary to include in an SNG publication for it to qualify to be described as ‘Under the auspices of the INC’, and (b) as a guide to authors and publishers as to what may additionally be included or omitted in the interests of publication in a timely fashion.