Coinage in Roman Imperial Policy, 31 B.C.-A.D. 68

By C. H. V. Sutherland | Go to book overview

APPENDIX B
THE JULIO-CLAUDIAN MONETARY SYSTEM

ALTHOUGH the main outlines of the monetary system from 31 B.C. to A.D. 68 are reasonably clear, a good many problems of detail await research which, when undertaken, will probably result in some changes in the general view. For example, the distinction between taking the average weight of a number of well-preserved coins of a given class and determining the 'peak'-weight by use of the frequency table can lead to divergent estimates of monetary policy (cf. BMCEmp. i, pp. xliv ff.; West, Gold and Silver Coin Standards in the Roman Empire (Num. Notes and Monographs, no. 94); New York, 1941). The chemical analysis of coins, to which attention has been turned from time to time, has been necessarily attempted piecemeal, since the rarity or beauty of many coins is such as to dissuade the student or collector from this course: nevertheless there is an obvious case for the systematic analysis of groups of badly worn and comparatively useless coins; and already the application of spectroscopy to numismatics has been proved to be of great value (cf. Grant, FITA., pp. xii, 493).

The principal denominations used in the official coinage of the central imperial mints, and their relationship, can best be expressed in the following table:--

equivalent to
DenominationGold
quin.
Den.Silv.
quin.
Sest.Dup.AsSem.Quad.
Aureus225501002004008001600
Gold quinarius2550100200400800
Denarius248163264
Silver quinarius2481632
Sestertius24816
Dupondius248
As24
Semis2
Quadrans1

Not all of these denominations were used at all times side by side; but, whether embodied in coinage or not, the equivalences at all

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