The caduceus is the staff carried by Hermes in Greek mythology and by Hermes Trismegistus in Greco-Egyptian mythology. The same staff was borne by heralds in general, for example by Iris, the messenger of Hera, it is a short staff entwined by two serpents, sometimes surmounted by wings. In Roman iconography, it was depicted being carried in the left hand of Mercury, the messenger of the gods, guide of the dead, protector of merchants, gamblers and thieves; some accounts suggest that the oldest known imagery of the caduceus has its roots in a Mesopotamian origin with the Sumerian god Ningishzida. C. to 3000 B. C; as a symbolic object, it represents Hermes, by extension trades, occupations, or undertakings associated with the god. In Antiquity, the caduceus provided the basis for the astrological symbol representing the planet Mercury. Thus, through its use in astrology and astronomy it has come to denote the planet and elemental metal of the same name, it is said the wand would send the awake to sleep.
If applied to the dying, their death was gentle. By extension of its association with Mercury and Hermes, the caduceus is a recognized symbol of commerce and negotiation, two realms in which balanced exchange and reciprocity are recognized as ideals; this association is ancient, consistent from the Classical period to modern times. The caduceus is used as a symbol representing printing, again by extension of the attributes of Mercury; the caduceus is incorrectly used as a symbol of healthcare organizations and medical practice in North America, due to confusion with the traditional medical symbol, the Rod of Asclepius, which has only one snake and is never depicted with wings. The term kerukeion denoted any herald's staff, not associated with Hermes in particular. In his study of the cult of Hermes, Lewis Richard Farnell assumed that the two snakes had developed out of ornaments of the shepherd's crook used by heralds as their staff; this view has been rejected by authors pointing to parallel iconography in the Ancient Near East.
It has been argued that the staff or wand entwined by two snakes was itself representing a god in the pre-anthropomorphic era. Like the herm or priapus, it would thus be a predecessor of the anthropomorphic Hermes of the classical era. William Hayes Ward discovered that symbols similar to the classical caduceus sometimes appeared on Mesopotamian cylinder seals, he suggested the symbol originated some time between 3000 and 4000 BC, that it might have been the source of the Greek caduceus. A. L. Frothingham incorporated Dr. Ward's research into his own work, published in 1916, in which he suggested that the prototype of Hermes was an "Oriental deity of Babylonian extraction" represented in his earliest form as a snake god. From this perspective, the caduceus was representative of Hermes himself, in his early form as the Underworld god Ningishzida, "messenger" of the "Earth Mother"; the caduceus is mentioned in passing by Walter Burkert as "really the image of copulating snakes taken over from Ancient Near Eastern tradition".
In Egyptian iconography, the Djed pillar is depicted as containing a snake in a frieze of the Dendera Temple complex. The caduceus appears as a symbol of the punch-marked coins of the Maurya Empire in India, in the third or second century BC. Numismatic research suggest that this symbol was the symbol of the Buddhist king Ashoka, his personal "Mudra"; this symbol was not used on the pre-Mauryan punch-marked coins, but only on coins of the Maurya period, together with the three arched-hill symbol, the "peacock on the hill", the triskelis and the Taxila mark. The Homeric hymn to Hermes relates how Hermes offered his lyre fashioned from a tortoise shell as compensation for the cattle he stole from his half brother Apollo. Apollo in return gave Hermes the caduceus as a gesture of friendship; the association with the serpent thus connects Hermes to Apollo, as the serpent was associated with Asclepius, the "son of Apollo". The association of Apollo with the serpent is a continuation of the older Indo-European dragon-slayer motif.
Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher pointed out that the serpent as an attribute of both Hermes and Asclepius is a variant of the "pre-historic semi-chthonic serpent hero known at Delphi as Python", who in classical mythology is slain by Apollo. One Greek myth of origin of the caduceus is part of the story of Tiresias, who found two snakes copulating and killed the female with his staff. Tiresias was turned into a woman, so remained until he was able to repeat the act with the male snake seven years later; this staff came into the possession of the god Hermes, along with its transformative powers. Another myth suggests. Separating them with his wand he brought about peace between them, as a result the wand with two serpents came to be seen as a sign of peace. In Rome, Livy refers to the caduceator who negotiated peace arrangements under the diplomatic protection of the caduceus he carried. In some vase paintings ancient depictions of the Greek kerukeion are somewhat different from the seen modern representation.
These representations feature the two snakes atop the staff, crossed to create a circle with the heads of the snakes resembling horns. This old graphic form, with an additional crossbar to the staff, seems to have provided the basis for the graphical sig
Edict on Maximum Prices
The Edict on Maximum Prices was issued in 301 by Roman Emperor Diocletian. The Edict was issued from Antioch or Alexandria and was set up in inscriptions in Greek and Latin, it now exists only in fragments found in the eastern part of the empire, where Diocletian ruled. However, the reconstructed fragments have been sufficient to estimate many prices for goods and services for historical economists; the Edict on Maximum Prices is still the longest surviving piece of legislation from the period of the Tetrarchy. The Edict was criticized by Lactantius, a rhetorician from Nicomedia, who blamed the emperors for the inflation and told of fighting and bloodshed that erupted from price tampering. By the end of Diocletian's reign in 305, the Edict was for all practical purposes ignored; the Roman economy as a whole was not substantively stabilized until Constantine's coinage reforms in the 310s. During the Crisis of the Third Century, Roman coinage had been debased by the numerous emperors and usurpers who minted their own coins, using base metals to reduce the underlying metallic value of coins used to pay soldiers and public officials.
Earlier in his reign, as well as in 301 around the same time as the Edict on Prices, Diocletian issued Currency Decrees, which attempted to reform the system of taxation and to stabilize the coinage. It is difficult to know how the coinage was changed, as the values and the names of coins are unknown or have been lost in the historical record; the Roman Empire was awash with other coins from outside of the Empire – in the Mediterranean. The implied coinage changeover time was at least a decade. Although the decree was nominally successful for a short time after it was imposed, market forces led to more and more of the decree being disregarded and reinterpreted over time; the full mechanics of the decree have been lost. No full decree has been found. However, enough of the decree's text is known for the following to be understood to be true. All coins in the Decrees and the Edict were valued according to the denarius, which Diocletian hoped to replace with a new system based on the silver argenteus and its fractions.
The argenteus seems to have been set at 100 denarii, the silver-washed nummus at 25 denarii, the bronze radiate at 4 or 5 denarii. The copper laureate was raised from 1 denarius to 2 denarii; the gold aureus was revalued at at least 1,200 denarii. During the previous decades the decreasing amount of silver in the billon coins had fuelled inflation; this inflation is understood to be the reason. Issues of economic system feedback were not well understood at the time; the first two-thirds of the Edict doubled the value of the copper and billon coins, set the death penalty for profiteers and speculators, who were blamed for the inflation and who were compared to the barbarian tribes attacking the empire. Merchants were forbidden to take their goods elsewhere and charge a higher price, transport costs could not be used as an excuse to raise prices; the last third of the Edict, divided into 32 sections, imposed a price ceiling – a list of maxima – for well over a thousand products. These products included various food items, freight charges for sea travel, weekly wages.
The highest limit was on one pound of purple-dyed silk, set at 150,000 denarii. The Edict did not solve all of the problems in the economy. Diocletian's mass minting of coins of low metallic value continued to increase inflation, the maximum prices in the Edict were too low. Merchants either sold their goods illegally, or used barter; the Edict tended to disrupt trade and commerce among merchants. It is safe to assume. Sometimes entire towns could no longer afford to produce trade goods; because the Edict set limits on wages, those who had fixed salaries found that their money was worthless as the artificial prices did not reflect actual costs. Corcoran, Simon; the Empire of the Tetrarchs, Imperial Pronouncements and Government AD 284–324. Oxford University Press. Pp. 440 pages. ISBN 0-19-815304-X. Graser, E. R. "A text and translation of the Edict of Diocletian", in T. Frank, An Economic Survey of Ancient Rome Volume V: Rome and Italy of the Empire, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press Diocletianus emperor, William Martin Leake, ed.
An edict... fixing a maximum of prices throughout the Roman empire. Corcoran, Simon. "The Prices Edict at Geraki, Greece". Retrieved 16 December 2009. Erim, K. T.. D.. 1973,'The Aphrodisias Copy of Diocletian's Edict on Maximum Prices,' in JRS at https://www.jstor.org/stable/299169 Kropff, Antony, 2016: New English translation of the Price Edict of Diocletianus, at https://www.academia.edu/23644199/New_English_translation_of_the_Price_Edict_of_Diocletianus Prices given in the price edict as compared with modern prices, at http://www.civilization.org.uk/decline-and-fall/diocletian/the-price-edict
The quadrans or teruncius was a low-value Roman bronze coin worth one quarter of an as. The quadrans was issued from the beginning of cast bronze coins during the Roman Republic with three pellets representing three unciae as a mark of value; the obverse type, after some early variations, featured the bust of Hercules, while the reverse featured the prow of a galley. Coins with the same value were issued from other cities in Central Italy. After ca. 90 BC, when bronze coinage was reduced to the semuncial standard, the quadrans became the lowest-valued coin in production. It was produced sporadically until the time of Antoninus Pius. Unlike other coins during the Roman Empire, the quadrans bore the image of the emperor; the Greek word for the quadrans was κοδράντης, translated in the King James Version of the Bible as "farthing". In the New Testament a coin equal to one half the Attic chalcus was worth about 3/8 of a cent. In Mark's gospel, when a poor widow gave two mites or λεπτα to the Temple Treasury, the gospel writer noted that this amounted to one quadrans.
Roman currency Semis
The semis meaning half was a small Roman bronze coin, valued at half an as. During the Roman Republic, the semis was distinguished by 6 dots; some of the coins featured a bust of Saturn on the obverse, the prow of a ship on the reverse. A cast coin, like the rest of Roman Republican bronzes, it began to be struck from dies shortly before the Second Punic War 218-201 BC; the coin was issued infrequently during the Roman Empire, ceased to be issued by the time of Hadrian 117-138 AD. Roman currency
Roman currency for most of Roman history consisted of gold, bronze and copper coinage. From its introduction to the Republic, during the third century BC, well into Imperial times, Roman currency saw many changes in form and composition. A persistent feature was the inflationary replacement of coins over the centuries. Notable examples of this followed the reforms of Diocletian; this trend continued into Byzantine times. Because of the economic power and longevity of the Roman state, Roman currency was used throughout western Eurasia and northern Africa from classical times into the Middle Ages, it served as a model for the currencies of the Muslim caliphates and the European states during the Middle Ages and the Modern Era. Roman currency names survive today in many countries; the manufacture of coins in the Roman culture, dating from about the 4th century BC influenced development of coin minting in Europe. The origin of the word "mint" is ascribed to the manufacture of silver coin at Rome in 269 BC at the temple of Juno Moneta.
This goddess became the personification of money, her name was applied both to money and to its place of manufacture. Roman mints were spread across the Empire, were sometimes used for propaganda purposes; the populace learned of a new Roman Emperor when coins appeared with the new Emperor's portrait. Some of the emperors who ruled only for a short time made sure; the Romans cast their larger copper coins in clay moulds carrying distinctive markings, not because they did not know about striking, but because it was not suitable for such large masses of metal. Roman adoption of metallic commodity money was a late development in monetary history. Bullion bars and ingots were used as money in Mesopotamia since the 7th millennium BC. Coinage proper was only introduced by the Roman Republican government c. 300 BC. The greatest city of the Magna Graecia region in southern Italy, several other Italian cities had a long tradition of using coinage by this time and produced them in large quantities during the 4th century BC to pay for their wars against the inland Italian groups encroaching on their territory.
For these reasons, the Romans would have known about coinage systems long before their government introduced them. The reason behind Rome's adoption of coinage was cultural; the Romans had no pressing economic need. However, Roman coinage saw limited use; the type of money introduced by Rome was unlike. It combined a number of uncommon elements. One example is the aes signatum, it measured about 160 by 90 millimetres and weighed around 1,500 to 1,600 grams, being made out of a leaded tin bronze. Although similar metal currency bars had been produced in Italy and northern Etruscan areas, these had been made of Aes grave, an unrefined metal with a high iron content. Along with the aes signatum, the Roman state issued a series of bronze and silver coins that emulated the styles of those produced in Greek cities. Produced using the manner of manufacture utilised in Greek Naples, the designs of these early coins were heavily influenced by Greek designs; the designs on the coinage of the Republican period displayed a "solid conservatism" illustrating mythical scenes or personifications of various gods and goddesses.
In 27 BC, the Roman Republic came to an end. Taking autocratic power, it soon became recognized that there was a link between the emperor's sovereignty and the production of coinage; the imagery on coins took an important step when Julius Caesar issued coins bearing his own portrait. While moneyers had earlier issued coins with portraits of ancestors, Caesar's was the first Roman coinage to feature the portrait of a living individual; the tradition continued following Caesar's assassination, although the imperators from time to time produced coins featuring the traditional deities and personifications found on earlier coins. The image of the Roman emperor took on a special importance in the centuries that followed, because during the empire, the emperor embodied the state and its policies; the names of moneyers continued to appear on the coins until the middle of Augustus' reign. Although the duty of moneyers during the Empire is not known, since the position was not abolished, it is believed that they still had some influence over the imagery of the coins.
The main focus of the imagery during the empire was on the portrait of the emperor. Coins were an important means of disseminating this image throughout the empire. Coins attempted to make the emperor appear god-like through associating the emperor with attributes seen in divinities, or emphasizing the special relationship between the emperor and a particular deity by producing a preponderance of coins depicting that deity. During his campaign against Pompey, Caesar issued a variety of types that featured images of either Venus or Aeneas, attempting to associate himself
The solidus, nomisma, or bezant was a pure gold coin issued in the Late Roman Empire. Under Constantine, who introduced it on a wide scale, it had a weight of about 4.5 grams. It was replaced in Western Europe by Pepin the Short's currency reform, which introduced the silver-based pound/shilling/penny system, under which the shilling functioned as a unit of account equivalent to 12 pence developing into the French sou. In Eastern Europe, the nomisma was debased by the Byzantine emperors until it was abolished by Alexius I in 1092, who replaced it with the hyperpyron, which came to be known as a "bezant"; the Byzantine solidus inspired the slightly less pure Arab dinar. In late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the solidus functioned as a unit of weight equal to 1/72 of a pound; the solidus was introduced by Diocletian in AD 301 as a replacement of the aureus, composed of solid gold and minted 60 to the Roman pound. His minting was on a small scale and the coin only entered widespread circulation under Constantine I after AD 312, when it permanently replaced the aureus.
Constantine's solidus was struck at a rate of 72 to a Roman pound of pure gold. By this time, the solidus was worth 275,000 debased denarii. With the exception of the early issues of Constantine the Great and the odd usurpers the solidus today is a much more affordable gold Roman coin to collect compared to the older aureus; those of Valens Honorius and Byzantine issues. The solidus was maintained unaltered in weight and purity until the 10th century. During the 6th and 7th centuries "lightweight" solidi of 20, 22 or 23 siliquae were struck along with the standard weight issues for trade purposes or to pay tribute. Many of these lightweight coins have been found in Europe and Georgia; the lightweight solidi were distinguished by different markings on the coin in the exergue for the 20 and 22 siliquae coins and by stars in the field for the 23 siliquae coins. In theory the solidus was struck from pure gold, but because of the limits of refining techniques, in practice the coins were about 23k fine.
In the Greek-speaking world during the Roman period, in the Byzantine economy, the solidus was known as the νόμισμα nomisma. In the 10th century Emperor Nicephorus II Phocas introduced a new lightweight gold coin called the tetarteron nomisma that circulated alongside the solidus, from that time the solidus became known as the ἱστάμενον νόμισμα histamenon nomisma in the Greek speaking world, it was difficult to distinguish the two coins, as they had the same design and purity, there were no marks of value to distinguish the denominations. The only difference was the weight; the tetarteron nomisma was a lighter coin, about 4.05 grams, but the histamenon nomisma maintained the traditional weight of 4.5 grams. To eliminate confusion between the two, from the reign of Basil II the solidus was struck as a thinner coin with a larger diameter, but with the same weight and purity as before. From the middle of the 11th century the larger diameter histamenon nomisma was struck on a concave flan, though the smaller tetarteron nomisma continued to be struck on a smaller flat flan.
Former money changer Michael IV the Paphlagonian assumed the throne of Byzantium in 1034 and began the slow process of debasing both the tetarteron nomisma and the histamenon nomisma. The debasement was gradual at first, but accelerated rapidly: about 21 carats during the reign of Constantine IX, 18 carats under Constantine X, 16 carats under Romanus IV, 14 carats under Michael VII, 8 carats under Nicephorus III and 0 to 8 carats during the first eleven years of the reign of Alexius I. Alexius eliminated the solidus altogether. In its place he introduced; the weight and purity of the hyperpyron nomisma remained stable until the fall of Constantinople to the Crusaders in 1204. After that time the exiled Empire of Nicea continued to strike a debased hyperpyron nomisma. Michael VIII recaptured Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire continued to strike the debased hyperpyron nomisma until the joint reign of John V and John VI. After that time the hyperpyron nomisma continued as a unit of account, but it was no longer struck in gold.
From the 4th to the 11th centuries, solidi were minted at the Constantinopolitan Mint, but in Thessalonica, Rome, Ravenna, Alexandria, Carthage and other cities. During the 8th and 9th centuries the Syracuse mint produced a large number of solidi that failed to meet the specifications of the coins produced by the imperial mint in Constantinople; the Syracuse solidi were lighter and only 19k fine. Although imperial law forbade merchants from exporting solidi outside imperial territory, many solidi have been found in Russia, Central Europe and Syria. In the 7th century they became a desirable circulating currency in Arabian countries. Since the solidi circulating outside the empire were not used to pay taxes to the emperor, they did not get reminted, the soft pure-gold coins became worn. Through the end of the 7th century, Arabi
The sestertius, or sesterce, was an ancient Roman coin. During the Roman Republic it was a silver coin issued only on rare occasions. During the Roman Empire it was a large brass coin; the name sestertius means "two and one half", referring to its nominal value of two and a half asses, a value, useful for commerce because it was one quarter of a denarius, a coin worth ten asses. The name is derived from semis, "half" and "tertius", "third", in which "third" refers to the third as: the sestertius was worth two full asses and half of a third. English-language sources use the original Latin form sestertius, plural sestertii. A modern shorthand for values in sestertii is IIS, in which the Roman numeral II is followed by S for semis, the whole struck through; the sestertius was introduced c. 211 BC as a small silver coin valued at one-quarter of a denarius. A silver denarius was supposed to weigh about 4.5 grams, valued at ten grams, with the silver sestertius valued at two and one-half grams. In practice, the coins were underweight.
When the denarius was retariffed to sixteen asses, the sestertius was accordingly revalued to four asses, still equal to one quarter of a denarius. It was produced sporadically, far less than the denarius, through 44 BC. In or about 23 BC, with the coinage reform of Augustus, the sestertius was reintroduced as a large brass denomination. While the as, now made of copper, was worth 1/4 of a sestertius. Augustus tariffed the value of the sestertius as 1/100 gold aureus; the sestertius was produced as the largest brass denomination until the late 3rd century AD. Most were struck in the mint of Rome but from AD 64 during the reign of Nero and Vespasian, the mint of Lyon, supplemented production. Lyon sestertii can be recognised by legend stop, beneath the bust; the brass sestertius weighs in the region of 25 to 28 grammes, is around 32–34 mm in diameter and about 4 mm thick. The distinction between bronze and brass was important to the Romans, their name for brass was orichalcum spelled aurichalcum, meaning'gold-copper', because of its shiny, gold-like appearance when the coins were newly struck.
Orichalcum was considered, by weight. This is why the half-sestertius, the dupondius, was around the same size and weight as the bronze was, but was worth two asses. Sestertii continued to be struck until the late 3rd century, although there was a marked deterioration in the quality of the metal used and the striking though portraiture remained strong. Emperors relied on melting down older sestertii, a process which led to the zinc component being lost as it burned off in the high temperatures needed to melt copper; the shortfall was made up with bronze and lead. Sestertii tend to be darker in appearance as a result and are made from more crudely prepared blanks; the gradual impact of inflation caused by debasement of the silver currency meant that the purchasing power of the sestertius and smaller denominations like the dupondius and as was reduced. In the 1st century AD, everyday small change was dominated by the dupondius and as, but in the 2nd century, as inflation bit, the sestertius became the dominant small change.
In the 3rd century silver coinage contained less and less silver, more and more copper or bronze. By the 260s and 270s the main unit was the double-denarius, the Antoninianus, but by these small coins were all bronze. Although these coins were theoretically worth eight sestertii, the average sestertius was worth far more in plain terms of the metal it contained; some of the last sestertii were struck by Aurelian. During the end of its issue, when sestertii were reduced in size and quality, the double sestertius was issued first by Trajan Decius and in large quantity by the ruler of a breakaway regime in the West, named Postumus, who used worn old sestertii to overstrike his image and legends on; the double sestertius was distinguished from the sestertius by the radiate crown worn by the emperor, a device used to distinguish the dupondius from the as and the Antoninianus from the denarius. The inevitable happened. Many sestertii were withdrawn by the state and by forgers, to melt down to make the debased Antoninianus, which made inflation worse.
In the coinage reforms of the 4th century, the sestertius passed into history. The sestertius was used as a standard unit of account and was represented on inscriptions with the monogram HS. Large values were recorded in terms of sestertium milia, thousands of sestertii, with the milia omitted and implied; the wealthy general and politician of the late Roman Republic, who fought in the war to defeat Spartacus, was said by Pliny the Elder to have had "estates worth 200 million sesterces". A loaf of bread cost half a sestertius, a sextarius of wine anywhere from less than half to more than one sestertius. One modius of wheat in 79 AD Pompeii cost se