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Denominations

Roman Coin Denominations

Roman coins were minted in many different denominations and various types were added and eliminated through the centuries. In the Republic and earlier Imperial periods, Roman coins had an intrinsic value that related directly to metal purity content comparable to other denominations. In the late empire, the value of various issues are much more difficult to determine as in many cases, we don't even know the issued names of many bronze coins.

The following lists break down the most common denominations by the period in which they were issued.

Early Republic

Aes Grave Series introduced 290 BC
Denomination Relative Value
As 12 Uncia
Semis 6 Uncia
Triens 4 Uncia
Quadrans 3 Uncia
Sextans 2 Uncia
Uncia Base Unit

Mid Republic

The following were key monetary units just before and after the introduction of the Denarius.
Denomination

Introduction

Metal Value

Quadrigatus

c. 270 BC

Silver

15 asses

Denarius

217 - 211 BC

Silver

10 asses

Victoriatus

c. 221 BC

Silver

5 asses

Sestertius

c. 211 BC

Silver

2.5 asses

Dupondius

c 290-280 BC

Bronze

2 asses

As

c. 290-280 BC

Bronze

Base Unit

Semis

c. 290-280 BC

Bronze

1/2 as

Quadrans

c. 290-280 BC

Bronze

1/4 as

Sextans

c. 290-280 BC

Bronze

1/6 as

Late Republic to Early Empire

Denomination

Introduction

Metal Value
Aureus

1st Cent. BC

Gold 25 Denarii
Quinarius Aureus or Halbaureus

1st Cent. BC

Gold 12.5 Denarii
Denarius

217 - 211 BC

Silver 16 asses
Quinarius

101 BC

Silver 8 asses
Sestertius

Augustan Reforms of 23 BC

Brass 4 asses

Dupondius

Augustan Reforms of 23 BC

Brass 2 asses
As

Augustan Reforms of 23 BC

Copper Base Unit
Semis

Augustan Reforms of 23 BC

Brass 1/2 ass
Quadrans

Augustan Reforms of 23 BC

Copper 1/4 ass

Late Imperial - Constantine to the Fall of the Empire

Value of the denominations and corresponding sizes remained fairly constant in this period. The noted exception is the introduction of the bronze AE series in which the relative values are virtually unknown.

Denomination Metal Weight or Size Value
Solidus Gold 4.5 gm

24 Siliquae

Semissis Gold 2.25 gm 12 Siliquae
Scripulum Gold 1.7 gm 9 Siliquae
Miliarense Silver 4.5 gm 1/18 Solidus
Siliquae Silver 3.4 gm 1/24 Solidus
AE 1 Bronze 25 mm NA
AE 2 Bronze 21 - 25 mm NA
AE 3 Bronze 17 - 21 mm NA
AE 3/4 Bronze 16 - 18 mm NA
AE 4 Bronze Less than 17 mm NA

Did you know?

The emperor Nero (AD 54-68) lowered the weight of gold and silver coins and reduced the fineness of the silver. Successive emperors, always in need of money, continued this debasement until, by the reign of the emperor Caracalla (AD 198-217), the denarius was barely 40 % silver.



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Roman Coin Denominations - Related Topic: Roman Emperors


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