Ancient Roman Coins were Discovered in Japan

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Ancient Roman Coins were Discovered in Japan

An artist’s depiction of ancient Roman coins. (Photo: Public domain)
An artist’s depiction of ancient Roman coins. (Photo: Public domain)

There are a lot of things we may never know about what our ancestors were doing back in the day, or what they were able to achieve; without us ever knowing it. After all, there isn’t anyone alive today to say, without a shadow of a doubt, what is true or not. Moreover, the information we do have, come from either archaeological evidence, written records, and common sense. But while archaeological evidence is often lacking or in pieces, and written records usually belonging to the victors, our view of history is most of the time skewed, and seen differently by different people around the globe.

With that being said, some Japanese archaeologists have recently discovered some 1,700-year-old Roman coins, in Katsuren Castle, Okinawa. The castle itself is a magnificent stronghold, dating to the 12th century AD. Numerous other artefacts have also been discovered there, including precious Chinese tiles and porcelain, dating to the 15th century. Nevertheless, the Ancient Roman coins were the oldest and oddest discovery there.

 

Though damaged, X-ray scans on the coins indicate that none other than Constantine the Great is portrayed on them. But while Constantine did reach Asia and fought some campaigns over there, he definitely didn’t reach as far as Japan. Or did he?

No, no he didn’t. While there’s no clear answer to how those Roman coins reached so far away around the globe, one possible answer could come from the fact that they were found alongside another 17th century Turkish Ottoman coin. This would seem that the most likely answer would be that they once belonged to a Japanese collector. But as we said, this would seem to be the most likely scenario, based on our own common sense.

Still, the fact that Roman coins somehow found their way to Japan in the Middle Ages is stunning. If you’re in Japan and care to see the coins, they will be exhibited at Uruma City Yonagusuku Historical Museum in central Okinawa until Nov. 25.