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Aureus: Head of Tiberius


Roman Empire, reign of Tiberius (14-37 C.E.)
Minted in Lugdunum (mod. Lyons, France)


Aureus: Head of Tiberius




20 mm (diam.), 7.7 g


Gift of Dr. Jocelyn and Mrs. Ginette Demers, inv. 2016.261


Archeology and World Cultures

The use of coins in commerce began in about the seventh century B.C.E. in Anatolia, modern-day Turkey. The first coins were made of a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver called electrum, but a differentiation between gold and silver forms of currency quickly developed. In Roman times, an aureus (a gold coin) was worth twenty-five denarii (a denarius was a silver coin). Standardization of the weight and composition of coins made it easier to assign a numerical value to such funds and exercise greater control over commerce. Even though monetary exchange is increasingly virtual, gold is still often considered a solid asset.

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