World News

Ancient Gold Coin Proves Fictional Roman Emperor Sponsian Was Real: Study

The piece was locked away in a museum cupboard because it was thought to be fake.

An ancient gold coin has proven that a 3rd century Roman emperor who was previously seen as a fictional character really exists.

According to a study published in the journal Plos One, the coin bearing Sponsian’s name and portrait was found over 300 years ago in Transylvania, Romania, but dismissed as a fake artifact. When it was first discovered in 1713, at first experts deemed it authentic. However, by the mid-19th century, some suspected it was a forged coin given its crude design.

In 1863, a French coin expert also concluded that the coin was definitely not genuine. However, when Professor Paul Pearson of University College London came across photographs of the room, he suspected the verdict might have been incorrect.

According to BBCMr Pearson contacted Glasgow University’s Hunterian Museum, where the piece was kept in a cupboard and examined under a microscope. He discovered that scratches visible under a microscope prove that the coin was in fact in circulation 2,000 years ago.

Incidentally, the Hunterian Museum also confirmed that the piece had been buried in the ground for thousands of years, meaning someone couldn’t have tampered with them more recently. “In an academic paper published yesterday, the team behind the discovery revealed evidence that the coins, long dismissed as fakes, appear to be genuine!” the museum wrote in the caption of the Twitter post.

Talk to BBCMr Pearson said: “What we found was an emperor. He was a figure thought to be fake and written off by experts. But we believe he was real and played a role in the story.”

Scholars believe Sponsian was a local army officer forced to assume supreme command in the isolated Roman province of Dacia (present-day Romania) during a time of chaos and civil war around AD 260. One way for him to impose his authority was to mint coins in his image. Therefore, according to the researchers, this theory explains why the coins are different from those in Rome.

This discovery is of particular interest to the history of Transylvania and Romania and is now portrayed as the moment that literally rewrites European history.

Featured Video of the Day

How to follow the FIFA World Cup


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button