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Roman Coinage: Use, Volume And Composition

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Chapter Summary

The supply of Roman money grew rapidly over the last two centuries of the Republic and it is likely that more and more people came to use coinage for more of their transactions. This chapter examines the state’s production of silver, gold, and bronze coins during this period and what that suggests about Roman demand for coinage. The supply of Roman silver coinage increased to betweenfive and ten times its initial size in the late Republic and, from the 40s, was supplemented by frequent new issues of gold coinage. The continued production and circulation of local bronze coinage in certain places probably stems from the failure of Rome to provide sufficient supplies of bronze coinage for the growing Empire. The dramatic increase in the Roman money supply must have either brought about significant economic changes (e.g. inflation or growth) or corresponded to major changes in the demand for money.

Keywords: BCE; bronze coinage; Crawford; gold coinage; Italy; Roman money; Roman silver coinage

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