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The Roman currency system included the denarius (plural: denarii) after 211 BC, a small silver coin, and it was the most common coin produced for circulation but was slowly debased until its replacement by the antoninianus.[citation needed]


[edit] History

The denarius was first struck in 211 BC during the Roman Republic and at the same time as the Second Punic War, with a weight of 4.5 grams on average at the time and later Roman emperors debased it to a weight of 3 grams around the late 3rd century <ref > Ancient coin collection 3Wayne G Sayles Pg 21-22 </ref>. The value at its introduction was 10 asses, giving the denarius its name which translates to "containing ten". In about 141 BC it was re-tariffed at 16 asses, to reflect the decrease in size of the as. The denarius continued to be the main coin of the empire until it was replaced by the antoninianus in the middle of the 3rd century. The last issuance for this coin seems to be bronze coins issued by Aurelian between 270-275. <ref> Retrieved 24 August 2006</ref> <ref> Retrieved 24 August 2006</ref>

[edit] Comparisons and silver content

It is difficult to give even comparative values for money from before the 20th century, due to vastly different types of products; however its purchasing power in terms of bread has been estimated at US$20 in the early empire. Classical historians regularly say that in the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire the daily wage for an unskilled laborer was 1 denarius without tax, estimated at US$20. (By comparison, a skilled American laborer earning the Federal minimum wage makes US$41 for an 8-hour day, while the average American makes US$180 a day.) The actual silver content of the Denarius was about 50 grains, or 1/10 troy ounces under the Empire. [citation needed]

The fineness of the silver content varied with political and economic circumstances. [citation needed]

[edit] Influences

Even after the denarius was no longer regularly issued, it continued to be used as an accounting device and the name was applied to later Roman coins in a way that is not understood. The lasting legacy of the denarius can be seen in the use of "d" as the abbreviation for the old French denier and the British penny prior to 1971. The denarius also survives in the common Arabic name for a currency unit, the dinar used from pre-Islamic times, and still used in several modern Arabic-speaking nations. The Italian word denaro, Spanish word dinero, and the Portuguese word dinheiro, all meaning money, are also derived from Latin "denarius". <ref>[1]</ref>

[edit] Value

The gold aureus seems to have been a "currency of account", a denomination not commonly seen in daily transactions due to its high value. Numismatists think that the aureus was used to pay bonuses to the legions at the accession of new emperors. It was valued at 25 denarii.[citation needed]

1 gold aureus = 2 gold quinarii = 25 silver denarii = 50 silver quinarii =100 bronze sestertii = 200 bronze dupondii = 400 copper as = 800 copper semisses = 1600 copper quadrans

[edit] See also

[edit] References


[edit] External links

da:Denarius de:Denarius es:Denario fr:Denier (monnaie) it:Denario la:Denarius lt:Denaras mk:Денариус nl:Denarius pl:Denar pt:Denário simple:Denarius


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