Aes rude was a nugget of bronze used as a sort of proto-currency in ancient Italy during the gradual transition from bartering to the use of round coinage made from precious metals. The Italian economy of the time was based on a bronze standard, the earliest surviving piece of aes rude dates from the early 8th century BC and as late as the late 4th century BC, and was cast in central Italy. It is, bronze, shaped vaguely like a lumpy ingot, only on did it become usual to mark these lumps and, make them into a standard shape. A History of Ancient Greece, Oxford,1999, Blackwell Publishers, Spink,1926 Head Barclay V. Historia Nummorum, a Manual of Greek Numismatic, London,1911 Gaius Plinius Secundus, Naturalis Historia, XXXIII, XIII,43. A descriptive catalogue of the cast coinage of Rome and Italy, Hard bound in quarto format,84 pages,92 plates. ISBN 978-0-9575784-0-1 Hard bound in quarto format,72 pages,87 plates, ISBN 978-0-9575784-0-1 A new edition of Italian Cast Coinage compiled by Italo Vecchi which summarises the research into Italy’s cast bronze coinage since 1885.
It lists 327 types from the aes rude and currency bars of early 1st millennium Italy to the issues during the Second Punic War. The book includes an account of the cast coinages of Rome, Umbria, North-East and Central Italy, at the end of the book there are 87 plates illustrating almost all the types in the catalogue. The book is indexed for ease of reference
In its many centuries of existence, the Roman state evolved from a monarchy to a classical republic and to an increasingly autocratic empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it came to dominate the Mediterranean region and Western Europe, Asia Minor, North Africa and it is often grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, and their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern government, politics, art, architecture, warfare, religion and society. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France. By the end of the Republic, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond, its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia, the Roman Empire emerged with the end of the Republic and the dictatorship of Augustus Caesar. 721 years of Roman-Persian Wars started in 92 BC with their first war against Parthia and it would become the longest conflict in human history, and have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires.
Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak, Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a prelude common to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the part of the empire broke up into independent kingdoms in the 5th century. This splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of history from the pre-medieval Dark Ages of Europe. King Numitor was deposed from his throne by his brother, while Numitors daughter, Rhea Silvia, because Rhea Silvia was raped and impregnated by Mars, the Roman god of war, the twins were considered half-divine. The new king, feared Romulus and Remus would take back the throne, a she-wolf saved and raised them, and when they were old enough, they returned the throne of Alba Longa to Numitor. Romulus became the source of the citys name, in order to attract people to the city, Rome became a sanctuary for the indigent and unwanted.
This caused a problem for Rome, which had a large workforce but was bereft of women, Romulus traveled to the neighboring towns and tribes and attempted to secure marriage rights, but as Rome was so full of undesirables they all refused. Legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins, after a long time in rough seas, they landed at the banks of the Tiber River. Not long after they landed, the men wanted to take to the sea again, one woman, named Roma, suggested that the women burn the ships out at sea to prevent them from leaving. At first, the men were angry with Roma, but they realized that they were in the ideal place to settle. They named the settlement after the woman who torched their ships, the Roman poet Virgil recounted this legend in his classical epic poem the Aeneid
Roman Republican currency
Coinage came late to the Roman Republic compared with the rest of the Mediterranean, especially Greece and Asia Minor where coins were invented in the 7th century BC. The currency of central Italy was influenced by its resources, with bronze being abundant. The coinage of the Roman Republic started with a few silver coins apparently devised for trade with the Greek colonies in Southern Italy, during the Second Punic war a flexible system of coins in bronze and gold was created. This system was dominated by the silver denarius, a denomination which remained in circulation for 450 years, the coins of the republic are of particular interest because they were produced by mint magistrates, junior officials who choose the designs and legends. This resulted in the production of advertising the officials families for political purposes. Toward the end of the 4th century BC bronze began to be cast in flat bars which are today, without any historical authority. These bars were heavily leaded, of varying weights although generally on the order of five Roman pounds, and usually had a design on one and both sides.
The actual function of aes signatum has been interpreted, although a form of currency they were not coins since they did not adhere to a weight standard. V. A. A. A. F. F. Julius Caesar briefly raised their number to four, according to Suidas, the mint was located in the temple of Juno Moneta on the Capitoline Hill. By this time Rome was familiar with coinage, as it had introduced to Italy in the Greek colonies of Metapontum, Croton. Rome had conquered a large portion of central Italy, giving it large quantities of bronze, a system of heavy cast leaded bronze coinage was introduced, these issues are known as aes grave by numismatists. Stylistically the coins were distinctly Roman and, due to both their size and their being cast rather than struck, crude compared to the coinage elsewhere around the Mediterranean at the time. The standard coin was the as, the word as referred to a coin and to a unit of weight – in fact, as could mean any unit – of length, the uncia was thus both a weight and a coin of the weight.
In addition to the as and its fractions, multiples of the as were produced, fractions were much more common than asses and their multiples during the period of aes grave. By the time of the standard, the smaller denominations such as the uncia and semuncia were struck rather than cast. A variety of common denominations were minted over time, those found in Crawford are listed here. Greek-style struck bronze coins were produced in quantity with the inscription ΡΩΜΑΙΩΝ around 300 BC. Rome entered into a war against Tarentum in 281 BC, the Tarentines enlisted the support of Pyrrhus of Epirus and this coinage may have predated the aes grave discussed above, but was minted and used largely in Magna Graecia and Campania
In the Roman currency system, the dēnārius, plural, dēnāriī was a small silver coin first minted about 211 BC during the Second Punic War. It is the origin of modern words such as the currency name dinar, it is the origin for the common noun for money in Italian denaro, in Portuguese dinheiro. Its symbol is X̶, a x with stroke. A predecessor of the denarius was first struck in 267 BC, five years before the first Punic War with a weight of 6.81 grams. Contact with the Greeks prompted a need for coinage in addition to the bronze currency that the Romans were using during that time. The predecessor of the denarius was a Greek-styled silver coin, very similar to the didrachm and drachma struck in Metapontion and these coins were inscribed for Rome but closely resemble their Greek counterparts. They were most likely used for purposes and were seldom used in Rome. The first distinctively Roman silver coin appeared around 226 BC, Rome overhauled its coinage around 211 BC and introduced the denarius alongside a short-lived denomination called the victoriatus.
This denarius contained an average 4.5 grams, or 1⁄72 of a Roman pound of silver and it formed the backbone of Roman currency throughout the Roman republic. The denarius began to undergo slow debasement toward the end of the republican period, under the rule of Augustus, its silver content fell to 3.9 grams. It remained at nearly this weight until the time of Nero, debasement of the coins silver content continued after Nero. Later Roman emperors reduced its content to 3 grams around the third century. The value at its introduction was 10 asses, giving the denarius its name, in about 141 BC, it was re-tariffed at 16 asses, to reflect the decrease in weight of the as. The denarius continued to be the coin of the Roman Empire until it was replaced by the antoninianus in the middle of the third century. The last issuance of this occurred in bronze form by Aurelian. For more details, see Denarius, in A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins, the denarius has a link from the Roman times to the British penny and US1 cent piece.
It is difficult to give even rough comparative values for money from before the 20th century, as the range of products and services available for purchase was different. Classical historians often say that in the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire the daily wage for an unskilled laborer and common soldier was 1 denarius or about US$2. 8$ in bread
The semuncia, symbol
The victoriatus was a silver coin issued during the Roman Republic from about 221 BC to 170 BC. The obverse of the featured the bust of Jupiter and the reverse featured Victory placing a wreath upon a trophy with the inscription ROMA in exergue. The coin originally weighed about 3.4 grams, meaning that it was half the value of the quadrigatus, the victoriatus was made of a more debased silver than the denarius, which was introduced at about the same time. When first issued the victoriatus had a value of about 3/4 of a denarius, however when the quinarius was reintroduced in 101 BC with a similar type, it was valued at 1/2 a denarius. This indicates that victoriati that were still in circulation at time were worn. The reintroduced quinarius was produced mainly for Cisalpine Gaul, where the victoriatus, the reintroduced quinarius may have continued to be called a victoriatus, although there is no written evidence of this. The name victoriatus is an ancient term, attested by several contemporary texts, the coin was known as a tropaikon among Greek speakers.
Roman currency Michael Crawford Roman Republican coinage John Melville Jones, A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins, London 1990
The argenteus was a silver coin produced by the Roman Empire from the time of Diocletians coinage reform in AD294 to ca. It was of similar weight and fineness as the denarius of the time of Nero, the coin was produced at a theoretical weight of 1/96th of a Roman pound, as indicated by the Roman numeral XCVI on the coins reverse. Argenteus, meaning of silver in Latin, was first used in Plinys Natural History in the phrase argenteus nummus, the 4th-century historian Ammianus uses the same phrase, however there is no indication that this is the official name for a denomination. The Historia Augusta uses the phrase to refer to several fictitious coins, the coin has been continuously in use by Caesars Legion in their quest to destroy the profligates. Numismatics Roman currency Edict on Maximum Prices
The Antoninianus, or radiate, was a coin used during the Roman Empire thought to have been valued at 2 denarii. It was initially silver, but was slowly debased to bronze with a silver content. Antoniniani depicting females, usually the wife, featured the bust resting upon a crescent moon. Even at its introduction the silver content was only equal to 1.5 denarii and this helped to create inflation, people rapidly hoarded the denarii, while both buyers and sellers recognised the new coin had a lower intrinsic value and elevated their prices to compensate. Each new issue of the Antoninianus thus had less silver in it than the last, in 271 Aurelian increased the average weight of the Antoninianus. This was carried out for a short time and this period was when the enigmatic XXI was first marked on the reverse of the Antoninianus. The true meaning of this series of numbers is still a topic of debate, by the late 3rd century the coins were almost entirely made of bronze from melted down old issues like the sestertius.
Vast quantities were being minted, with a proportion of the stocks being contemporary forgeries, often with blundered legends. Individual coins were by practically worthless and were lost or discarded by the millions, today most of these coins are extremely common finds, with a few more scarce examples including Aemilianus, Marcus Aurelius Marius and Regalianus. The situation was not unlike the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic in 1920s Germany, the coin ceased to be used by the end of the 3rd century when a series of coinage reforms attempted to arrest the decline by issuing new types. Modern numismatists use this name for the coin because it is not known what it was called in antiquity, an ancient Roman document called the Historia Augusta refers to silver coins named after an Antoninus on several occasions
It was during this period that Romes control expanded from the citys immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world. During the first two centuries of its existence, the Roman Republic expanded through a combination of conquest and alliance, by the following century, it included North Africa, most of the Iberian Peninsula, and what is now southern France. Two centuries after that, towards the end of the 1st century BC, it included the rest of modern France and much of the eastern Mediterranean. By this time, internal tensions led to a series of wars, culminating with the assassination of Julius Caesar. The exact date of transition can be a matter of interpretation, Roman government was headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and advised by a senate composed of appointed magistrates. Over time, the laws that gave exclusive rights to Romes highest offices were repealed or weakened. The leaders of the Republic developed a tradition and morality requiring public service and patronage in peace and war, making military.
Many of Romes legal and legislative structures can still be observed throughout Europe and much of the world in modern nation states, the exact causes and motivations for Romes military conflicts and expansions during the republic are subject to wide debate. While they can be seen as motivated by outright aggression and imperialism and they argue that Romes expansion was driven by short-term defensive and inter-state factors, and the new contingencies that these decisions created. In its early history, as Rome successfully defended itself against foreign threats in central and northern Italy, with some important exceptions, successful wars in early republican Rome generally led not to annexation or military occupation, but to the restoration of the way things were. But the defeated city would be weakened and thus able to resist Romanizing influences. It was able to defend itself against its non-Roman enemies. It was, more likely to seek an alliance of protection with Rome and this growing coalition expanded the potential enemies that Rome might face, and moved Rome closer to confrontation with major powers.
The result was more alliance-seeking, on the part of both the Roman confederacy and city-states seeking membership within that confederacy. While there were exceptions to this, it was not until after the Second Punic War that these alliances started to harden into something more like an empire and this shift mainly took place in parts of the west, such as the southern Italian towns that sided with Hannibal. In contrast, Roman expansion into Spain and Gaul occurred as a mix of alliance-seeking, in the 2nd century BC, Roman involvement in the Greek east remained a matter of alliance-seeking, but this time in the face of major powers that could rival Rome. This had some important similarities to the events in Italy centuries earlier, with some major exceptions of outright military rule, the Roman Republic remained an alliance of independent city-states and kingdoms until it transitioned into the Roman Empire. It was not until the time of the Roman Empire that the entire Roman world was organized into provinces under explicit Roman control
The semis literally meaning half was a small Roman bronze coin that was valued at half an as. During the Roman Republic, the semis was distinguished by an S or 6 dots, some of the coins featured a bust of Saturn on the obverse, and the prow of a ship on the reverse. Initially a cast coin, like the rest of Roman Republican bronzes, the coin was issued infrequently during the Roman Empire, and ceased to be issued by the time of Hadrian 117-138 AD. Roman currency