The History of Coins:Introduction to the Roman Coin Project
History of Money Systems• Barter - direct exchange of services or resources for mutual advantage, used throughout history• Gift Exchange - give a commodity to increase power or inﬂuence• Monetary System - a common money system with regulated production and a standardized value
The Barter System Jack trading his cow for some beans.
Early use of Money- Bride Money Gifts were a tangible sign of the alliance between the two households. The brides family gave a dowry or dora and in return the groom’s family gave a hedna , usually a gift of cattle. This gift exchange formalized the legitimacy of a marriage and legitimized the children of the union.
Early use of Money- Blood moneyMoney given for political inﬂuence to increaseone’s power or stature. The latest coins date to around 200 AD – a time of turmoil. Restless northern tribes raided Roman Britain, and the Roman army fought back. But they had another tactic – bribery. Giving bribes or gifts to powerful local leaders was common practice. All across northern Europe, chieftains were given coins and other valuable items. Over 30 coin hoards have been found in Scotland.
History of Roman Coins• 3rd Century BC - ﬁrst coins made from small chunks of bronze, not minted, no markings• 269 BC - ﬁrst minted Roman coin, issued by the government, at ﬁrst all were160 grams of bronze and one denomination, added different denominations for ease of trade.
First Roman Silver Coins• The ﬁrst true Roman coin was minted around 300 BC and modeled after Greek coins from southern Italy. These coins helped expand trade.• More money was minted after the ﬁrst and second Punic Wars. New Roman provinces and conﬁscated goods were heavily taxed to pay for the wars.
Expansion of the Roman Money System• Beginning in 200 BC, the monetary system expanded to meet the ﬁnancial and administrative needs of the expanding empire.• The primary currency was the silver and bronze denarius.• The Roman money was controlled by the Roman Senate.
Value of the Denarius• 1 denarius - a day wages for harvesting grapes• 200 denarius - would pay for bread for 5000 people Denarius, Gaius Julius Caesar, Aureus, Vitellius (69 A.D.), Denarius, Gaius Julius Caesar Rome, 44 B.C. Tarraco Gallia, 49 B.C. to 48 B.C.
Augustus’s Currencyin the Roman EmpireCreated a consistent value system for money betweengold, silver and copper coins.1 aureus (gold) = 25 denarii (silver) = 100 sesterces(copper) = 400 asses (copper)Only the ruler could issue gold and silver coins.The senate could issue copper coins. =25 =100 =400
Reason for common Money System• enhanced trade• uniﬁed Roman Empire• provided resources to support military conquests• historical record of emperor and his deeds Claudius II
Decline of Roman Coins• Continual increase in spending on military and luxury items lead to a smaller supply of precious metals.• In response Rome produced coins with less silver content and reduced the weight and size of gold coins.• This led to inﬂation (it takes more money to buy something because the coin is not worth as much)• Counterfeiting (reproducing coins illegally) was also difﬁcult to control in such a vast empire.
NumismaticsThe scientiﬁc study of money and its history. Greek Roman USA
Parts of a Coin• obverse: the front side ("heads") of a coin. Generally, the side with the date and principal design (NOTE: the new 50 State Quarters® are a major exception because their date is on the reverse).• reverse: the back side ("tails") of a coin.• edge: the outer border of a coin, considered the "third side" (not to be confused with "rim"). Edges can be plain, reeded, lettered or decorated. • rim: the raised edge on both sides of a coin (created by the upsetting mill) that helps protect the coins design from wear.
Main Elements of a coin• legend: the principal inscription or lettering on a coin.• mint mark: a small letter or symbol on a coin used to identify where a coin was made. Current United States mint marks are Philadelphia (P), Denver (D), San Francisco (S), and West Point (W). Today, Philadelphia and Denver produce all U.S. circulating coins.• relief:the part of a coins design that is raised above the surface.• ﬁeld: the ﬂat portion of a coins surface not used for design or inscription.
Materials used to make coins• Coins of the past were made from precious metals such as gold, silver, bronze or copper. Ancient Persian coins were predominately gold, whereas Athenian coins of Greece were silver. Roman coins were originally bronze, but later gold, silver and copper.• Coins today are made from alloys or a mixture of two metals. Since 1965, all circulating U.S. dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars have been clad with the outer layer differing in metal from the core layer.
Images and Mottos• motto: a word, sentence or phrase inscribed on a coin to express a guiding national principle. For example, "E Pluribus Unum" inscribed on all U.S. circulating coins is Latin for "out of many, one."• relief and incuse: the graphic design raised above or pressed below the surface that may depict a political leader, national landmark or symbol.
Parts of a Roman Coin Relief of Emperor- olive headpiece represents support of the peopleLegendRim Alexandria, (abreviation -ALE) mint location
Research Sources"Ancient Roman Money: The Gold Standard of Business in Rome." Roman History.Web. 11 Mar. 2010. <http://roman-history.suite101.com/article.cfm/ancient_roman_money>."Fehlerseite – Oesterreichische Nationalbank." WillkommenBei der Oesterreichischen Nationalbank – Oesterreichische Nationalbank. Web. 11Mar. 2010. ." Google"Google Image Result for Http://dougsmith.ancients.info/aesturtle.jpgImages."Roman Mintmarks." Roman Numismatic Gallery. Web. 11 Mar. 2010.