Imagine it’s the year 179 AD. You’re a simple foot soldier in the Roman army traipsing through Asia Minor as the empire expands eastward. There’s a battle planned for the morning and it will be a bit of a challenge, even for the Roman hordes. The Parthian Empire still has a lot of formidable manpower.
You bury your bag of coins outside the battlefield as was the common practice; a soldier couldn’t be weighed down nor be betrayed by the sound they make in battle when surprise could be the difference between life and death.
The battle is waged and you come back to get your coins. How grateful you are. You give thanks to whatever gods you believe in. But many of your fellow soldiers did not make it back
and you know not where they buried their coins.
Almost 2000 years later, people in that part of the world find those lost coins and sell them to collectors all over the world, including me. They are encrusted with 2000 years of chemical
deposition, packed clay, and who-knows-what just waiting for people like me to find out what lies beneath.
Here are a few nicer coins from my small collection. I know little else of their lineage, the long-dead emperors pictured, nor the translation of what is written on them. I leave that to the experts.
Be thankful you returned from the battle.