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Latin: Old receipts (taxes due) [in the amount of] nine thousand times one hundred thousand sestertii (900 million sestertius) cancelled.

Hadrian cancelled debts and burned promissory notes in a general amnesty for tax arrears. The burning occurred in Trajan's Forum, where Hadrian erected a monument inscribed "the first of all principes and the only one who, by remitting nine hundred million sesterces owed to the fiscus, provided security not merely for his present citizens but also for their descendants by this generosity."

The legend RELIQVA VETERA HS NOVIES MILL ABOLITA literally translates to "old receipts in the amount of nine times a hundred thousand sestertii cancelled." The HS is a standard abbreviation for sestertii and, depending upon its context, it can mean a single sestertius, a unit of one thousand sestertii, or a unit of one hundred thousand sestertii. Novies means "nine times" and applies to the sestertius as a unit of one thousand sestertii. Considering the monumental inscription, the HS in the legend of this sestertius should be interpreted with the thousand, or mille, understood. Thus, the figure should be increased to 900 million sestertii, equaling the sum named on Hadrian's monumental inscription.


Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
RELIQUA VETERA HS NOVIES MILL ABOLITA - The sestertius of Hadrian, on the reverse of which this legend appears, is certainly one of the most remarkable monuments of imperial generosity that can be found recorded on a coin. They tell us the emperor voluntarily to his subjects all the arrears owing to his treasury, on account of tributes, revenues, or other debts, amounting an immense sum of money, and that he caused the notes and bonds relating to the arrears to be burnt in the Forum of Trajan; an act of liberality unexampled in its extent, and every way worthy of a great and mighty prince. The legend states the abolition or cancelling of old fiscal dues to the value of 9000 sestertia [though it is likely to be 100 times that value: see sestertium]. 

The emperor is here represented standing, clothed in a chlamys, and with lit torch in the act of setting fire to a heap of scrolls.

There is another a rarer medal of Hadrian bearing the same legend; but in which the type exhibits the emperor standing in the attitude and act above described, before three citizens of Rome, who lift up their right hand as if in acclamations to their sovereign, the legend of the obverse marks his third consulate.

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