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Ancient coin could provide proof a Roman emperor existed after all - USA TODAY

Ancient coin could provide proof a Roman emperor existed after all - USA TODAY

Nov 26, 2022 1 min, 10 secs

There are four coins on display at the University of Glasgow: one bears the visage of the Emperor Gordian III, two of Emperor Philip and one features Sponsian, said Professor Paul Pearson from the University College London.

Sponsian has barely a footprint in history and was deemed fictional by historians long ago, Pearson said.

According to Pearson and his team of researchers, the coins contain elements that match authentic Roman coins, suggesting Sponsian was a real emperor after all.

If things played out this way, Pearson said, this allowed Sponsian to hold the local economy at bay until order was restored in the 270s.

The coin was discovered in the 18th century and was originally thought to be genuine, the researchers said.

Pearson's team compared the Sponsian coin with other Roman coins kept at The Hunterian collection at the University of Glasgow, including two previously proven to be authentic.

"We cannot know for certain that these little scratch patterns indicate these coins are genuine," Pearson said.

"However, we can say they look basically identical to wear patterns on genuine Roman coins that we know have been in circulation.".

"In all these senses, the coins are identical to genuine Roman coins that we know have been buried," Pearson said.

Pearson said the coin in Glasgow is on display for the first time in 300 years to accompany his team's work

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