NERO'S MONETARY REFORM
Imperial Rome
by Maria Laura Delpiano, Costanza Falletta

Nero's reform in 63-64 A.D. is remembered by Pliny the Elder (Nat. Hist. XXXIII, 47), who points out that the princeps reduced the weight of the aureus to 1/45th of a libra (= about 7.27 grams). As a consequence, Nero's quinarius aureus weighed 1/90th of a libra (= about 3.64 grams). The weight and the fineness of the silver denarius were also debased. On the other hand, Nero did not tamper with the fineness of the gold coins, and the percentage of the yellow metal in the alloy stayed very high - and it remain so throughout the Empire.

The presence of the inscription EX SC on the first gold series issued by Nero is exceptional. It is usually interpreted as an interference of the Senate in the coinage of aurei, mainly because of the princeps' young age. Some scholars believe that because of Nero the minting of gold and silver was transferred permanently to Rome - although, according to other scholars, this had already happened under Caligula.

I prezzi a Pompei

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Aureo di Nerone

Aureo di Nerone

Aureo di Nerone

© 2008 UCSC Milano