2nd AND 3rd CENTURIES A.D.
Imperial Rome
by Maria Laura Delpiano, Costanza Falletta

The weight of the aureus reformed by Nero stayed stable until Caracalla (i.e., for a century and a half), when a lighter gold coin was introduced. The new aureus - also known as aureus antoninianus from the cognomen acquired by Caracalla, Antoninus - was coined at 1/50th of a libra (= about 6.54 grams). This decision was concurrent with the introduction of a new billon denomination called antoninianus by Caracalla himself in 215. Occasionally, a double aureus also was struck, the binio.

Difficulties in finding gold and the higher expenses of the State led to new changes not only in the weight but also in the fineness of gold coins. Even though the metal used until then had been almost pure, during the joint reign of Valerian and Gallienus (253-260 A.D.) aurei were struck with a percentage of gold of 90-93%.

Aurei were also coined in the Imperium Galliarum (258-274 A.D.) by the usurpers Postumus, Tetricus I and Tetricus II, who issued gold coins of good weight and fineness, bearing types that are not very different from those used in the Roman mint in the same years.


Click on the images of the coins to enlarge them


Aureo
di Adriano

Aureo
di Settimio Severo

Aureo
di Caracalla

Aureo
di Plautilla

Binio
di Volusiano

Aureo
di Gallieno

Aureo
di Tetrico I





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