Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.

AES - Brass and copper were the metals first used as money by the Romans. Hence the word served afterwards, with them, to designate every kind of money, whether gold, silver, or brass. And even at that period when the wealth of the Republic was at its highest pitch, every species of current coin continued to be denominated Aes. - The aes grave, it is evident from the desriptions of their writers, wass brass (or copper) in bars, of the weight of a pound (pondus libralis) used as money, before the introduction of a silver coinage. Eckhel, in support of this opinion, cites Festus, who says - Grave aes dictum a pondere, quia deni asses, singuli pondo librae, efficiebant denarium, ab hoc ipso numer dictum. The collecting of such heavy masses, to any great amount of value, became so extremely inconvenient that, according to Livy, the aes grave was obliged to be conveyed to the treasury in waggons. Subsequently, in order to obviate this objection, pieces of copper, of less weight, but without any mark, were roughly cut; and these, on account of their uncouth form, were called aes rude. This improvement is by some ancient writers ascribed to Numa. But it was not until the reign of Servius Tullius, that the Romans are, with any due degree of authority, affirmed to have begun striking round coins of brass, with the type of a bull, &c. to which they gave the name (according to Pliny) of Aes signatum. - See Brass - also As.

View whole page from the |Dictionary Of Roman Coins|