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Aureus: Head of Tiberius

Era

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

Title

Aureus: Head of Tiberius

Materials

Gold

Dimensions

20 mm (diam.), 7.7 g

Credits

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

Collection

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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