Carefully designed collector's item: Set of Replica Roman Coins
The Romans didn't invent coinage and payments by metal, but they inherited currency from the Greeks. These, in turn, only made use of a payment system that was much older and derived from the East Asians, presumably by the Chinese. Via the thousand year old silk road, that hit the Greek Empire and from where it reached the ancient roman cities and provinces, for example the goods, and also the currency were made from silver and gold were introduced into Italy. This was a great innovation, as it meant not only independence, but also an growing tool for self-marketing of the Roman central authorities. First, as in Greece, the city of Rome, and when Rome turned from a democracy into an Empire, for the Emperors. These reserved the right for minting gold and silver coins, and only allowed the cities in the provinces to produce bronze coins. On their own coins, the Emperor showed the face and announced to the capital and the subjects the authority upon these subjects.
You will get a mix of reproductions of
Caesar - A Denarius, an Elephant trampling a serpent on the obverse and simpulum, sprinkler, axe and priests hat on the reverse
Claudius - An Aureus, the laureate bust of Claudius on the obverse and DE BRITANN on a triumphal arch on the reverse.
Vespasian - A Denarius, Titus and Domitian
Hadrian - A Dupondius, a bust of the Emperor on the obverse and Aeternitas holding the heads of the sun and the moon on the reverse
Antoninus Pius - A reproduction As, the laureate head of Antoninus Pius on the obverse and Britannia seated on a rock on the reverse
Why Caesar and the Elephant?
The reverse of this coin of silver coins shows a right-facing elephant with the word "CAESAR" in the exergue (the area with the information where the coin was minted, for example the military unit that Caesar carried with him for printing the coinage on the spot). In fact, these coins were amongst those that were minted in the millions. With roughly over twenty million pieces it was one of the widest spread pieces during the Republican era. Perhaps, as most people date it to the year 49 BC Caesar might have used the large quantities of gold and silver from the Temple of Saturn treasury in Rome. With the elephant Caesar made the audience familiar with the famous Gallic campaign and displayed himself as the victor over the Gauls (one of the reasons why on the obverse there is also the elephant treads shown as a Gallic war trumpet). For sure, Cesar used the money, in order to make propaganda for himself and to establish his position by aligning the emperor's face with the achievements of Alexander the Great by using one of Alexanders famous signets, the elephant.
Claudius and the Aureus De Britannia
After Cesar invaded Britain, the emperor Claudius in 43 AD started a new gold currency with reference to Britannia, showing his triumphal arch inscribed DE BRITANN. Through these aurei, he commemorated the conquest of the island. Although Rome was far from occupying the entire land, it only was able to established a stronghold at the frontier from the Severn Estuary to the Wash. Moreover, the existing British rulers were retained. They now served as client-kings. Yet, Rome went further, and oppressed the people, as in the famous Boudiccan rebellion and consolidated their rule, extending it to Wales. An expression of this was the government of Julius Agricola who subjugated the native tribes in a a number of military campaigns towards the end of the first century.
Vespasian and the Denarius
This metal money of silver commemorates the Flavian dynasty. Vespasian (69–79 AD), also put on the coin those meant to follow him, Titus (79–81 AD), and Domitian (81–96 AD), so that the coinage was also a marketing tool to provide the grounds for the maintenance of the family rule. The Flavians, unlike the Julio-Claudians before them, were Italian gentry, not of Roman aristocracy, and, therefore, had to fight their way into the network of the city state. Moreover, they also had to create new stability to the city of Rome that was devastated during the previous reign of Nero (54–68 AD). He had set fire to the city. His building campaign was meant to embellish his own portrait more than that of the city. Instead, Vespasian, was geared towards the common good of the citizens. Both, as a way into the political arena, but also with a few to restoring the state. Titus made his name particularly during the campaign against the Jews during the first Jewish war. In him defeating the rebels, he achieved the symbolic victory over the Jews by demolishing the Temple and raiding their assets. In a big triumphal march, commemorated on his arch of triumph, he displayed the captive Jews and the goods being carried from Jerusalem to Rome. From the ascertained money and gold, Titus constructed and payed for the Colosseum wish, then served not only as the big arena for games, but also for the display of captured enemies thrown to the gladiators or lions.
Antoninus Pius and the As
Just as Vespasianus, A. Pius has a close relation to the Jews - as he succeeded Hadrian. He had fought the bloodiest of all wars of the Roman Empire, to turn down the second rebellion of the Jews vs. the Romans. Under the Jewish Rebel Bar Kokhba, the Romans lost more soldiers than in any other war. Hence, it was under Pius that Roman rule had to be restored in Palestine and across the Roman Empire. In an immense move, Jews were exiled from Palestine, some settled in Syria, but many also moved towards the capital, as those who were not surpportive of the rebellion in the first instance, sought shelter in the capital next to those Romans with whom they had collaborated before. Commerce, as always, went on also after this war.
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