The argenteus was a silver coin produced by the Roman Empire from the time of Diocletian 's coinage reform in AD 294 to c. AD 310. It was of similar weight and fineness as the denarius of the time of Nero. The coin was produced at a theoretical weight of 1/96th of a Roman pound (about 3 grams), as indicated by the Roman numeral XCVI on the reverse of some examples. Argenteus, meaning "of silver" in Latin, was first used in Pliny 's Natural History in the phrase "argenteus nummus" (silver coin). The 4th-century historian Ammianus uses the same phrase, however there is no indication that this is the official name for a denomination. The Historia Augusta uses the phrase to refer to several fictitious coins.
DICTIONARY OF |ROMAN |COINS
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ARGENTEUS, or the silver piece, is the name given to the large denarius of Caracalla and his successors, by the writers of the Augustan History, and in rescripts of the period. It was also called Argenteus Philippus, or the Silver Philip, the word Philip having, during the lower age of the imperial government, become a familiar appellation for any coin. The common denarii now first begin, adds Pinkerton, to be termed minuti, and argentei philippi minuti, to express their being smaller than the other. The first argenteus is worth one shilling sterling. -- See Essay, vol. i. 167.
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