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COINS AND POLITICS IN THE LATE ROMAN WORLD

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Coins constitute source material: explicitly, from what is written and portrayed on them or the place and authority in which they were struck, and implicitly, from the portrait style and type. They are also objects of metal, sometimes precious, the use and control of which reflects politics. Around 294, portraiture changed very sharply from individuality to the representation of authority. Reverse types were also now much more limited and concentrated than under the Principate. The change occurred around 274 to 294, when city mints also ceased local production and were either closed or made branches of the one Imperial mint. These are signs of a move towards a heavily centralised money supply, dictated by more strongly emphasised authority. Control of metals, especially gold, followed the same path, though reforms in the mid-4th c. may suggest that silver was let out of state control and ‘privatised’.

10.1163/22134522-90000041
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2006-01-01
2017-07-22

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