Aureus: Difference between revisions

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The '''''aureus''''' (<small>{{abbr|pl.|plural}}</small> '''''aurei''''', 'golden', used as a noun) was a [[gold coin]] of [[ancient Rome]] originally valued at 25 pure silver ''[[denarius|denarii]]''. The ''aureus'' was regularly issued from the 1st century BC to the beginning of the 4th century AD, when it was replaced by the ''[[solidus (coin)|solidus]]''. The ''aureus'' was about the same size as the ''denarius'', but heavier due to the higher [[density]] of [[gold]] (as opposed to that of [[silver]]).
Before the time of [[Julius Caesar]] the ''aureus'' was struck infrequently, probably because gold was seen as a mark of un-Roman luxury.{{Citation needed}} Caesar struck the coin more often, and standardized the weight at <math>\tfrac{1}{40}</math> of a [[Roman pound]] (about 8 [[gram]]s). [[Augustus]] (r. 29 BC – 14 AD) tariffed the value of the ''[[sestertius]]'' as <math>\tfrac{1}{100}</math> of an ''aureus''.
The mass of the ''aureus'' was decreased to <math>\tfrac{1}{45}</math> of a pound (7.3 g) during the reign of [[Nero]] (r. 54–68). At about the same time the purity of the silver coinage was also slightly decreased.
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