Coins have provided specific and concrete markers of official, legitimate political sovereignty since the time of the Roman Empire. Europe's female monarchs of the old regime, a group that has not been much studied, used numismatics in effective ways to enhance their official sovereignty. Throughout the entire period, most royal heiresses were married, and despite a persistent and widely circulated literature that preached wifely subservience, their coins (and, later, their medals) suggest their full political autonomy.

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