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Author Topic: Confused dot com!  (Read 1707 times)
BottyBurp (Kris)
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To "Search and Protect"

« on: November 18, 2008, 05:27:13 PM »

This may be a silly question but I don't know the answer!

What is the difference & how can you tell the difference between

a Siliqua & a Denarius?

Is it the size/weight?

You see, all the Roman Silver coins I've found over the years were (or as I thought) Denarii but I've just been told that

one of the ones I posted as a Denarius is actualy a Siliqua.

I'm confused dot com!
« Last Edit: November 18, 2008, 08:00:20 PM by BottyBurp » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2008, 08:38:14 PM »

This is from wikipedia:


The denarius was first struck in or about 211 BC during the Roman Republic and at the same time as the Second Punic War, with a weight of 4.5 grams on average at the time or 1/72 of a Roman Pound. It remained at this weight for a while and then decreased to about 3.9 grams during the second century BC (a theoretical weight of 1/84 of a Roman pound). It then remained at almost this weight until the time of Nero, when it was reduced to 1/96 of a pound, or 3.4 grams. Debasement of the silver began under Nero. Later Roman emperors reduced it to a weight of 3 grams around the late 3rd century. The value at its introduction was 10 asses, giving the denarius its name which translates to "containing ten". In about 141 BC it was re-tariffed at 16 asses, to reflect the decrease in weight of the as. The denarius continued to be the main coin of the empire until it was replaced by the antoninianus in the middle of the 3rd century. The last issuance for this coin seems to be bronze coins issued by Aurelian between 270 and 275 AD, and in the first years of the reign of Diocletian.


The siliqua is the modern name given to small, thin, Roman silver coins produced from 4th century and later.

The term siliqua comes from the siliqua graeca, the seed of the carob tree, which in the Roman weight system is equivalent to 1/6 of a scruple (1/1728 of a Roman pound or about 0.19 gram).

The term has been applied to the various silver coins on the premise that the coins represented that were valued at 1/24 of the gold solidus (which weighed 1/72nd of a Roman pound) and therefore represented a siliqua of gold in value. Since gold was worth about 14 times as much as silver in ancient Rome, such a silver coin would have a theoretical weight of 2.7 grams.

There is little historical evidence to support this. This has not prevented the term from being applied to silver coins issued by Constantine, which initially weighed 3.4 grams, or the later silver coin of Constantius II, which weighed about 2.2 grams and 18mm, and is sometimes called a "light" or "reduced" siliqua to differentiate it.

The term is one of convenience as no name for these coins is indicated by contemporary sources. Thin silver coins to the 7th century which weigh about 2 to 3 grams are known as siliqua by numismatic convention.


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