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Handbook of Ancient Greek & Roman Coins


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I've had two of these books for a while. They are nice intro books for those just getting into ancients and there's a few tables anyone can reference (such as denominations and rulers).

 

To win, post the best answer to the following

 

The minor denominations of the early Roman Imperial Period were Sestertius (4 to a denarius), Dupondius (8 to a denarius) and As (16 to a denarius).

 

Even though the Dupondius was worth twice as much as an As the coins often weighed the same. Why?

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Dupondis was billon and the As was bronze.

You are on the right track.

In the event of a tie I may choose the more elaborate explanation :ninja:

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The Dupondius were made of Orichalchum (80% copper, 20% zinc).

 

The As were copper so they were easier to make, which is why they are the same size as the larger denomination Dupondius.

 

*shrugs*

 

Ding, Ding, Ding. We have a winner

:ninja:

 

Both the Sestertius and Dupondius were made of orichalcum in early Imperial times. This was a naturally occurring for of brass (copper and zinc). The ancients never new zinc as a stand alone metal, the refining techniques would not exist for another 1500 years. Orichalcum was thus values more than plain copper. As the easy sources of the natural alloy were exhausted Roman coinage starts seeing less zinc and more tin and eventually the minor coinage completely changes over to bronze rather than brass.

 

PM me your address Burks, and the book will be on its way.

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Ding, Ding, Ding.  We have a winner 

:ninja:

 

Both the Sestertius and Dupondius were made of orichalcum in early Imperial times. This was a naturally occurring for of brass (copper and zinc). The ancients never new zinc as a stand alone metal, the refining techniques would not exist for another 1500 years. Orichalcum was thus values more than plain copper. As the easy sources of the natural alloy were exhausted Roman coinage starts seeing less zinc and more tin and eventually the minor coinage completely changes over to bronze rather than brass.

 

PM me your address Burks, and the book will be on its way.

 

Wow, I didn't know that! I knew about hte dupondii being brass, but I wasn't aware that zinc was a premium metal at the time.

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Wow, I didn't know that! I knew about hte dupondii being brass, but I wasn't aware that zinc was a premium metal at the time.

That didn't strike me either until just recently. I was looking at some Nero dupondii and some were described as either orichalcum dupondius or copper as. Then I thought, even at 20% zinc the dupondius should be noticeably heavier, unless....

 

:ninja: Orichalcum was twice as valuable as copper

 

It's funny, you do all this reading but it sometimes takes a special prompt to get the data to click.

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