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The Decline of Roman Silver Coinage, Part 1

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Nice review article by NGC Ancients


From 27 B.C. to A.D. 268, the purity of Roman Imperial silver was in a steady decline.


For the first ninety years of the Roman Empire, when members of the Julio-Claudian family reigned, the purity of Rome’s silver coinage was unassailable: a solid 98% pure or higher. That standard was maintained by the emperors Augustus, Tiberius (14 to 37), Caligula (37 to 41) and Claudius (41 to 54), and even Nero (54 to 68), who didn’t change it for the first decade of his reign.

However, the great fire in Rome in 64 marked the start of a debasement that would require about two centuries to unfold, eventually bringing Rome’s silver coinage to an unfathomable low.



Edited by guy

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