Jacopo Strada‘s Magnum ac Novum Opus: A Sixteenth-Century Numismatic Corpus

In the middle of the 16th century, Jacopo Strada (1505/1515-1588) created a corpus of coin drawings of the Roman emperors from Augustus to Charles V with over 8,500 drawings, spread over originally 30 volumes, the Magnum ac Novum Opus, namely for his patron Johann Jakob Fugger (1516-1575). After Fugger's bankruptcy, Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria acquired it along with Fugger's library and collections.

In 1632, during the Thirty Years' War, the Magnum ac Novum Opus was stolen from the Munich Kunstkammer by Duke Wilhelm von Weimar, a lieutenant in the Swedish army. His brother, Duke Ernst the Pious of Gotha, bought it from Wilhelm's successor, Johann Ernst of Weimar. Since then it has been part of the holdings of the library in Gotha Castle, now the Gotha Research Library (Chart. A 2175, 1-14, 16-30). It is kept there in the specially created Coin Cabinet.

On the other hand, Strada compiled an eleven-volume work of systematic coin descriptions, the A.A.A. NumismatΩn Antiquorum Διασκευή (copies in Vienna and Prague). It contains around 7075 coin descriptions, organised by country, ruler and metal. These are the first structured coin descriptions. According to Strada's statement in the preface to the Caesar Commentary of 1575 and in his Index sive catalogue, it was intended as a theoretical supplement to the Magnum ac Novum Opus and was also in the possession of Fugger.

This claim by Strada was the starting point for our project. For the first time, we have brought together, compared and commented on the illustrations and descriptions of the coins.

Project publications and selected bibliography Further reading