Monday, February 7, 2011

ERIC II: The Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins

Rasiel Suarez
Dirty Old Books™ (2010)
ISBN 9780976466413
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (12/10)

When I first received "ERIC II" for review, I went into overwhelm and wondered how I was going to give a book of near 1500 pages the justice it deserves. But, with a little persistence and a whole lot of interest I delved into it. I have to admit, for the purpose of this review I did not go through every page in detail but I do feel I read enough and perused the rest to give this book the kudos it is worthy of.

"This book chronicles the nature and evolution of the money made by the Romans and through the end of its spinoff civilization, the Byzantines." (p ii) Rasiel Suarez goes on further to tell us that "Most Roman coins feature religious or military themes," and they "came in many different denominations. The weight and metal type of each coin determined how much purchasing power each coin had." (p iii)  The historical aspects of coins in "ERIC II" were of much interest to me as I'm sure they will be to avid coin collecting buffs or historians.  As well, Suarez gives photographic examples of coins.  Crude as the coins may be, the images are clear and the reader can enjoy the vivid comparisons.

"ERIC II," in encyclopedia format, is easy to use.  Each ruler is defined by title and dates of reign, biography and plate of the bust. As well, Suarez provides reverse and obverse legends, mint location, metal type, references, and much more for the over 60,000 coins listed. Of particular interest to me was market pricing and I was amazed to see that these rare coins are sold on eBay and for what I felt a very reasonable price considering the age.  Others have auction prices which often are much more.

I must say that I am grateful I took on the challenge to review "ERIC II: The Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins" because I have expanded my knowledge of ancient coins by a hundred fold. It is evident that Suarez is an expert on Roman Imperial coins and his passion comes through in his research. I'm sure the coin collecting community is elated with this book because the basic research has been done and provided to them. 

I can't imagine any other book on the market even comes close to being compared to "ERIC II: The Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins." Rasiel Suarez, calling himself "just a geek," is to be commended and praised for offering his research to others.  I believe every national and international library, with English speaking patrons, should hold at least one copy of "ERIC II" as so should Roman coin collectors.

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