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Roman Coins And 750 Years Of History

The production of Roman Coins, started about 280 years before the reported birth of Christ during the Roman Republic with some of the first coinage looking more like lumps of bronze metal with a stamping hammered into it.

These were the Aes Grave. About 210 BC silver was introduced to facilitate trade with the Greeks and continued after the second Punic War and expanded.

The Denarius which started about 210 BC lasted about 450 years or until about 240 AD. Perhaps the most famous of the early coinage is the Denarius of Brutus called the EID MAR.

The Denarius was replaced by a debased coin called the Antoninianus which was brought in over about a 40 year period circulating with the Denarius until the Denarius with its higher silver content disappeared from trade.

Also circulating at this time were various copper and bronze coins the largest the Sestertius and the smallest the AE 4.

The Roman leaders were very protective of there place in power and often killed off close family members including mothers, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins, wives and children to prevent a claim on power.

Some of the emperors lasted in power only a few months making their coinage very scarce.

In one case the only record of the emperor existed is that two coins were found in different locations bearing his name and portrait among other known coins.

The images on the coin were the propaganda of the day just like a newspaper.

The obverse of the coin held the image of the emperor or emperors wife and the reverse the message to be spread.

There are thousands of reverses from deities like Sol or Jupitor to victories over enemies and construction of new buildings.

As the Roman Empire implodes and its center of power shifts to the East to Constantinople we see a major change in style and size of the Roman coinage.

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