ROMAN EMPIRE, Aurelian, 270-275 AD, billon denarius


ROMAN EMPIRE, Aurelian, 270-275 AD, denarius, no date (274 AD), Rome mint, Obverse: laureate bust R, IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, Reverse: Victory advancing L, captive kneeling before, VICTORIA AVG, billon, 18mm, 2.45g, SR11641, aVF/F

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The denarius is a scarce denomination for Aurelian.

Aurelian was a general, possibly involved in the murder of Gallienus. Acclaimed by his troops, he proceeded to vanquish other rival generals, defeat barbarians, build a larger wall around Rome, defeat the breakaway Emperors in Gaul and Palmyra, and reunite the Empire. He reformed and standardized the coinage as well.

In the Imperial Period Roman coinage became an engine for governmental propaganda. All of the themes of the coins are celebratory of some aspect of govermental authority or achievement.

The Roman Republic was founded in response to tyrannical kings. It functioned for several centuries in a kind of balance of rich and poor people (slaves didn’t count). The general idea was that laws would constrain personal power. During the days of Julius Caesar, et al, powerful people became too powerful, and a new system of slightly constrained autocracy, the Empire, developed. The main catalog we use on this web site for Roman coins is Roman Coins and their Values, by David Sear.

“Ancient Coins” includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.