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Barnes Nobility

I’ll be speaking this Saturday, Nov. 3, at St. Louise de Marillac School’s Book Fair at Barnes and Noble in South Hills Village, Pittsburgh. Latinist Zee Ann Poerio has me booked among her events for folks interested in numismatics and classics. Zee is director of Ancient Coins for Education (ACE), a member of the Ancient Coin Collector’s Guild’s Education and Youth Programs Task Force, and chair of the Excellence Through Classics levels K-9 for the American Classical League.

Saturday’s event will feature her traveling exhibit, the Ancient Coin Museum. From 1:30 to 3 p.m., St. Louise School’s Latin Club members will act as museum docents and show connections between ancient coins and classics — pointing out the mythological creatures, emperors, empresses, and other fauna. Also included are small artifacts from the first to third century, including oil lamps, iron nails, and a child’s ring. At 2 p.m., James R. Clifford, Jr., author of Double Daggers, will be there to discuss coins of the Roman Republic. His book is historical fiction and involves the EID MAR Denarius coin that commemorates the assassination of Julius Caesar.

At 2:30, yours truly will discuss Christian symbols on ancient coins and other artifacts.

Both Mr. Clifford and I will be available to sign books. There will be free materials for children from the U.S. Mint (while supplies last). Those attending the event may enter a free drawing to win ancient coins donated by Ancient Coins for Education, the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists, and the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild. You’re all invited!

4 thoughts on “Barnes Nobility

  1. Mike,
    I am one of the PTG chairpersons for St. Louise School. We are excited that you will be joining us at our book fair at Barnes & Noble. Thanks for taking the time to share your writings and expertise with us. We are very much looking forward to your presentation. The children of St. Louise will benefit! If others are reading this and would like more information about the presentations and the book fair, they can visit our school website at
    Kathy Hirata

  2. Hi Mike,

    Could you recommend to me a book on Christian symbols? I have yet to hear of one that is thorough and solid.


  3. Kyle,
    You’re a little bit early with that question. I just finished writing the book, and it includes hundreds of illustrations by the great Lea Marie Ravotti. But since you probably want to pick up something before next spring … My favorite book on the subject is Jean Danielou’s Primitive Christian Symbols. It’s solid, but selective, covering only a few symbols, but covering those very thoroughly. Probably what you’re looking for is Temi di Iconografia Paleocristiana (ed. Fabrizio Bisconti), which is indeed thorough and solid, but only available in Italian. An interesting book that deals only with animal symbolism is The Bestiary of Christ by Louis Charbonneau-Lassay. When you’re ready to move from fauna to flora, you might like The Floral Symbolism of the Great Masters. Perhaps the most exhaustive set is the E.R. Goodenough’s 12-volume, sometimes idiosyncratic Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period, which Jacob Neusner brought out in a one-volume abridgement. Another good, but hardly complete study is Herbert Musurillo’s Symbolism and the Christian Imagination. Hope this helps.

  4. Dear Mike, I attended the Book Fair at Barnes & Noble in Pittsburgh last weekend, and wanted to thank you for your presence and interesting discussion of early Christian symbols. I was particularly struck by your mention of symbols being scratched into walls – what an evocative image of a believer expressing his faith in whatever way was open to him or her. Thank you again!

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