The production of gold Roman coins was sporadic before the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar, with the consequent availability of the metal mines. The first issues of staters in greek style, for trade in Ancient Greece and the East, took place in 286 BC, with a weight of 6.81 g, followed by a series in 209 BC with a weight of 3.41 g. The first gold coins of the Roman monetary system we had with Sulla in 87 BC, characterized by a value of 1/30 of a pound Italic, equal to 9.11 g. In 61 BC emission followed by Pompey, with a value of 1/36 of a Roman pound, equal to 9.06 g. In 48 BC emissions of gold began by Julius Caesar, initially with a value of 1/38 of a pound (8.55g) and then (again in 48 BC) with a value of 1/40 of a pound(8.02g)
The Roman coin
The authority on coinage in Rome originally belonged to the consuls exercised by trustees. This charge was taken from them and given to special magistrates, probably between 289 and 269 BC. These judges, in a number of uncertain origin, had leveled off in the number 3 in the first century BC and were called “silver Tresviri auro feriundo by blowing air”, but simply in the popular language “Tresviri monetales”. This nickname of “monetales” as the name of the “money” comes from the fact that the Mint had been built on the Capitol, near the temple of Juno Moneta. Arose in that place the house of Manlius, who had warned his fellow citizens overnight assault of the Gauls. Then there was a temple dedicated to Juno, “warns that” the fact that he saved the city.
The office of monetales was also accessible to citizens at the beginning of their course honorum, since 25 years. They were responsible for the gold bullion that was put into circulation, the alloy and the weight of the coins that were beaten and engraving of the dies of the mint. To guarantee the honest performance of their duties, they signed the coins issued by its initials. It ‘s very likely that there was a sort of hierarchy among the three judges. Under their working a huge number of men, headed by a “optio et exactor”, a kind of technical director.
All the workers formed the “family monetalis”, which was divided into four categories
Scalptores, who took care of storing the cones
Officinatores, it was the laborers, who occupied positions of heavier
Nummularii, who were in charge of the metal supply and withdrawal of the dies
Dispensers, who were employees and employees in administration and accounting
On all watched and also Procurator Probator, maybe it was a chemical assayer.
The system of coinage – which legally must be done in Rome, although we have traces of coins minted by private mints throughout Italy – was in the beating of a coin blank of metal until it is pliable, and fit between two punches that went engraved hollow effigies or representations that you wanted to portray. Since the mid-second century BC monetales i no longer felt tied to a single representation for the coins. Rome was, for all the territories then known, the only fixed to coin money, had no competition and therefore felt no need to distinguish its currency from that of other countries. In the imperial mint senatorial paralleled that of the princeps, or controlled by the Procurator to rationibus fisci Procurator, who minted coins quickly not only in Rome, in case of need, but also close to the fighting, if there had been necessary. So was the symbol on the coins senatorial SC (Senatus Consultum), while on the imperial PM (Procurator Monetae).
Roman coins were made of bronze, gold or silver.
The gold coinage was for a long time, intermittent and not regular exchanged. Ingots were used in which the state imposed its acronym warranty. At the beginning of the first century BC Silla began to strike coins of gold on a weight representing one-thirtieth of a pound (one pound = 272 grams). Under Augustus the weight settles at a forty-pound is called Denarius Aureus. From the Nero D. Aureus is increasingly subject to depreciation, up to Constantine, who introduced a new gold coin, the Solidus, then coined for centuries with the same weight and quantity of gold (1/72 of a pound). Aureus corresponded to a 5 Quinarii and to a drive shafts Solidus 2 or 3 Tremiassi.
The silver coinage was introduced in Rome by the Greeks (Roman monetization – Bell), from 320 BC. The first original Roman silver coin, equal to a seventy pound was the Denarius, which presented a constant configuration at the beginning: a straight with the head of Rome Galeata accompanied by an X (ten axes), and on the reverse the Dioscuri and the legend “Roma”, but gradually the innovation and imagination were replaced with these decorative stereotypical depictions. Denarius of the fractional coins were Quinarius and sestertius: a denarius corresponded quinari 2 and 4 sesterces. Caracalla in 215 Denarius issued a new devalued, which weighed twice but contained only 25% silver.
The minting of bronze, copper and brass is very old. Is formally divided into the production of
Aes rude, ie copper shapes of different sizes, which were weighed at the time to calculate the value
Aes signatum, that is, pieces of copper or bronze, which reported a crude sign shaped herringbone,
probably coined their own
Aes grave, which had the exact weight of an axle, and was coined by the mint in imperial coinage was
the prerogative of the Senate
His sottomonete had the drive shaft, which showed Jupiter, the Triente with Minerva, the Quadrant with Hercules, the Sextant with Mercury and the Ounce with Bellona. Axis depicted Finally Janus. An axis was equivalent to two half-shafts, trienti 3, 4 quadrants, sextants, 6 and 12 ounces.
This coinage disappeared for nearly two centuries until reappearing with Augustus, when, however, these coins were replaced with nine bronze coins of brass sesterces worth of the four axes, which will be joined, gradually more and more devalued, other bronze coins less valuable, until Honorius.