- The Collaborative Numismatics Project
  Welcome Guest. Please login or register. The column on the left includes the "Best of NumisWiki" menu. If you are new to collecting, start with Ancient Coin Collecting 101. All blue text is linked. Keep clicking to endlessly explore. Welcome Guest. Please login or register. The column on the left includes the "Best of NumisWiki" menu. All blue text is linked. Keep clicking to endlessly explore. If you have written a numismatic article, please add it to NumisWiki.

Resources Home
Home
New Articles
Most Popular
Recent Changes
Current Projects
Admin Discussions
Guidelines
How to

Index Of All Titles


BEST OF

Aes Grave
The Age of Gallienus
Alexander Tetradrachms
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Coin Dates
Ancient Coins & Modern Fakes
Ancient Counterfeits
Ancient Glass
Ancient Oil Lamps
Ancient Weapons
Ancient Wages and Prices
Ancient Weights and Scales
Anonymous Folles
Anonymous Follis
Anonymous Class A Folles
Antioch Officinae
Aphlaston
Armenian Numismatics Page
Brockage
Byzantine
Byzantine Denominations
A Cabinet of Greek Coins
Caesarean and Actian Eras
Campgates of Constantine
A Case of Counterfeits
Clashed Dies
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Danubian Celts
Damnatio Coinage
Damnatio Memoriae
Denomination
Denarii of Otho
Diameter
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Edict on Prices
ERIC
ERIC - Rarity Tables
Etruscan Alphabet
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
Facing Portrait of Augustus
Fel Temp Reparatio
Fertility Pregnancy and Childbirth
Fibula
Flavian
Fourree
Friend or Foe
The Gallic Empire
Gallienus Zoo
Greek Alphabet
Greek Dates
Greek Coin Denominations
Greek Mythology Link
Greek Numismatic Dictionary
Hellenistic Names & their Meanings
Helvetica's ID Help Page
Historia Numorum
Horse Harnesses
Identifying Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
Islamic Rulers and Dynasties
Koson
Kushan Coins
Imperial Mints of Philip the Arab
Later Roman Coinage
Latin Plurals
Latin Pronunciation
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
Malloy Weapons
Maps of the Ancient World
Military Belts
Mint Marks
Monogram
Nabataean Alphabet
Nabataean Numerals
Not in RIC
Numismatic Bulgarian
Numismatic Excellence Award
Numismatic French
Numismatic German
Numismatic Italian
Numismatic Spanish
Parthian Coins
Patina
Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet
Phoenician Alphabet
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Pricing and Grading Roman Coins
Representations of Alexander the Great
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Roman Militaria
Roman Mints
Roman Names
romancoin.info
Rome and China
Scarabs
Serdi Celts
Serrated
Siglos
The Sign that Changed the World
Silver Content of Parthian Drachms
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Syracusian Folles
Taras Drachms with Owl Left
The Temple Tax Hoard
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny
Tribute Penny Debate Continued (2015)
Tribute Penny Debate Revisited (2006)
Tyrian Shekels
Vabalathus
Venus Cloacina
What Did The Julio Claudians Really Look Like?
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Widow's Mite

Aureus

The aureus (pl. aurei ó "golden") was a gold coin of ancient Rome valued at 25 silver denarii. The aureus was regularly issued from the 1st century BC to the beginning of the 4th century AD, when it was replaced by the solidus. The aureus is approximately the same size as the denarius, but is heavier due to the higher density of gold.

Before the time of Julius Caesar the aureus seems to have been a "currency of account,"a denomination struck very infrequently and not commonly seen in daily transactions due to its high value. Caesar struck the coin more frequently and standardized the weight at 1/40 of a Roman pound (about 8 grams). The aureus was probably most often struck to pay bonuses to the legions at the accession of new emperors. The mass of the aureus was decreased to 1/45 of a pound (7.3 g) during the reign of Nero.After the reign of Marcus Aurelius the production of aurei decreased, and the weight was further decreased to 1/50th of a pound (6.5 g) by the time of Caracalla. During the third century, gold pieces were introduced in a variety of fractions and multiples, making it hard to determine the intended denomination of a gold coin.  However, regardless of the size or weight of the aureus, the coin's purity was little affected. Analysis of the Roman aureus shows the purity level usually to have been in excess of 99%, compared to 91.7% (22k) for the British sovereign and the 90% for the US gold dollar.

Due to runaway inflation caused by the Roman government issuing base-metal coinage but refusing to accept anything other than silver or gold for tax payments, the value of the gold aureus in relation to denarii grew drastically. Inflation was also affected by the systematic debasement of the silver denarius which by the mid-third century had practically no silver content. In 301 AD one gold aureus was worth 8331/3 denarii; by 324 AD the same aureus was worth 4,350 denarii. In 337 AD, after Constantine converted to the solidus, one solidus was worth 275,000 denarii and finally, by 356 AD, one solidus was worth 4,600,000 denarii.

Use of the same dies for both aurei and denarii was the rule up until Titus and continued in some issues until about Hadrian. Thereafter the style and size of the two denominations diverged, though gold and silver quinarii often continued to be struck from the same dies. The dies for Severan aurei are always larger and finer than the dies for denarii.

Constantine introduced the solidus in 309, replacing the aureus as the standard gold coin of the Roman empire. The solidus was a larger diameter and thinner coin.

1 aureus = 25 denarii
1 quinarius (gold) = 12 1/2 denarii
1 denarius = 16 asses
1 quinarius (silver) = 8 asses
1 sestertius = 4 asses
1 dupondius = 2 asses
1 as = 4 quadrantes
1 semis = 2 quadrantes
1 quadrans = 1/4 as

See Gold coinage of the Romans.