Roman Coin

I held in my hand today a Roman coin with an image of Nero’s head stamped into it. It was about the size of a 50 cent piece, well-preserved, and not completely round. I expect it may never have been quite round, as the means of creating coins then would not have benefited from our precise machinery.

The coin was given to my neighbor by a friend in Spain who had found it digging in a cave. I’m fascinated with evidence of past human activity. I can imagine someone hiding his stash of coins in that cave to protect them from who knows what kind of unrest, an untrustworthy neighbor, an invasion.

I picture a man in a short linen garment and sandals, knowing the whereabouts of this cave, throwing a robe over himself against the night chill and going out quietly to bury his treasure where it will be safe. He is not young, perhaps 45, and that is old for those times. But he has a family to care for and does not want to see his people destitute and so will not have his coins grabbed up by those who don’t care about him and his kin.

The Romans at the apex of their civilization controlled many lands and peoples. How did the people of that day plot to survive the Roman government?

Coins are our survival. They are food and shelter. Beyond that, money, if we have enough of it, can give us fun and prestige, even friends of a sort. This coin and any others were with it could have been a shared stash or one person’s savings account. Did the man return at a better hour and get his coins, only missing this one?

I’m reminded that we are presently in a coin shortage across our country. Not sure how I feel about the call for citizens to give up our coins. After all, we need our quarters for the washer and dryer. And I need to keep a few quarters handy in case my neighbors run out. What if they go to the bank for quarters and are told there are none to spare? Some of them are not strong enough to do their wash by hand. Still, no doubt I’ll get in the spirit of this request and give up what I can spare. Like growing a victory garden during WWI and WWII.

It’s more fun to survive together than to try to survive alone. Works better in the long run, too, a family or group kind of survival. If our government is an honest part of the group. If our government acts in our best interest, believing we matter. In other words, if our government is ours.

Author: Patricia Mitchell Lapidus

Anyone may walk down the road wondering who we are, how we are supposed to live, and what happens when we die. Some folks like traditional answers. Some folks don't want to spent their time thinking too much. I felt called upon to search these questions in depth and in some surprising places. Each of my books is a story or group of stories about what I found during a wide-ranging journey. My home state of Maine was a hard place to leave. But I knew I had to go. And if I didn't make it back home to Maine except to visit, I did find home in the comfort and joy of discoveries that washed away the pain that had started me on my travels.

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