Roman Republican Coins in the British Museum

E Ghey, I Leins (eds) - descriptions and chronology after MH Crawford

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A guide to types

This section is intended as an overview and quick guide to identifying the main types, designs and denominations of Roman Republican coins. The images given are examples only, and designs will vary. Links are provided to other coins of similar types.

1. The pre-denarius coinage, to c. 206 BC

1. Early cast bronze


Aes grave (cast coinage)
The denominations of these large cast coins are the same as those in the struck bronze coinage. The designs used on the different denominations were not standardised at this time. Some feature different views (for example inside and outside) of the same object on the obverse and reverse.


As


Semis


Triens


Quadrans


Sextans


Uncia


Semuncia


2. Early struck coinage

a. Silver didrachms and drachms

Common designs include:

Head of Mars and horse’s head

Head of Apollo and horse


b. Quadrigati

These feature a janiform head of the Dioscuri on the obverse and Jupiter in a quadriga (four-horse chariot) on the reverse. The reverse inscription may be incuse or contained within a linear frame.

Three quadrigati are shown, indicating variations in design and inscription:

More coins of the quadrigatus type

 

The gold stater and half stater in this series both feature an oath-taking scene:


c. Bronze litra and double litra

The main designs on this coinage are:

Head of Mars and horse’s head, or horse


d. The semi-libral struck bronze series 217-215 BC

This series was relatively short-lived and was replaced by the more standardised designs of the anonymous bronzes shown in Section 2. The designs of the different denominations are shown below.

Sextans

Uncia

Semuncia

Quartuncia


e. Mint marks

Coins from the mint of Sicily feature a corn-ear as mintmark:

Coins from the Mint of Luceria are marked with a letter L in Oscan script: