Ancient Roman Silver Antoninianii

Struck in 215 AD, this silver coin takes its name from the emperor at the time, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, better known as Caracalla (198-217). It was valued at two denarii, but weighing only 1.5 denarii caused the currency later to suffer inflation and ultimate debasement during Aurelian’s reign (270-275). This corresponded to a decline in the silver content of all silver coinages during the period. The antoninianus was conspicuous for its imperial portrait: the emperor boasted a radiate crown, supposedly indicative of the coin’s value relative to that of the denarius, on which the emperor bore a laurel wreath.


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