Silver denarius showing Juno Moneta

Rome, 46 BC

The origins of the word 'money'

The origins of the modern English words 'money' and 'mint' lie in ancient Rome. In the period of the Roman Republic, from about 300 BC onwards, coins were made near the temple of the goddess Juno Moneta. It was located on the Capitol (the modern Campidoglio), the citadel of Rome. The goddess's name, Moneta ('Warner' or 'Reminder') eventually came to refer to the place where the coins were made, the 'mint', and to its product, 'money', both of which derive ultimately from the Latin word moneta.

This coin shows an image of Juno Moneta on the front; her name is written vertically on the left. On the back of the coin are depicted tools associated with metalworking: in the centre an anvil, on the left a pair of tongs and on the right a hammer. Above the anvil is an uncertain object decorated with a wreath. It may be the smith's cap worn by Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and metalworking. Alternatively, the tools shown may be those of an ancient Roman coin-maker, if we interpret the 'cap' as an upper die about to be struck by the hammer onto a blank held by the tongs. The coin was made by the moneyer Titus Carisius.

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More information

Bibliography

M.H. Crawford, Roman republican coinage (Cambridge University Press, 1974)

A.M. Burnett, Coinage in the Roman world (London, Seaby, 1987)

Dimensions

Diameter: 19.000 mm
Weight: 4.147 g

Museum number

CM R.8937 (BMCRR Rome 4058)

CGR159231

Location

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