Coin (obverse), Denarius, of Quintus Sicinius

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minted in Rome

Postcard of Coin (obverse), Denarius, of Quintus Sicinius.
© National Museums Scotland

Coin (obverse), Denarius, of Quintus Sicinius

This silver coin was minted in Rome by Quintus Sicinius in 49 BC. It is a type called a denarius, the most common Roman silver coin. This picture shows the obverse of the coin.

The obverse depicts Fortuna populi Romani, the goddess of Fortune of the Roman people, wearing a diadem. She is identified by the legend 'FORT' written downwards in front of her and 'P.R' written upwards behind her.

The main use of coin was to pay Rome's soldiers. In the 1st century BC, the wages of a legion were around 1,500,000 denarii, and more when Caesar raised the pay. With around 30 legions in active service in the Empire, this required huge sources of silver.

The Roman currency system included the denarius (plural: denarii), a small silver coin, as the most common coin in circulation. Classical historians regularly say that in the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire the daily wage for a laborer was one denarius. The denarius was first struck in 211 BC during the Roman Republic, valued at 10 asses, giving the denarius its name which translates to "containing ten". In 118 BC it was re-tariffed at 16 asses, to reflect the decrease in size of the As. The As was a bronze or copper coin. The denarius continued to be the main coin of the empire until it was replaced by the antoninianus in the middle of the 3rd century AD.

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Online ID: 000-100-078-677-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  A.1915.153
Date: 49 BC
Material: Silver. Inscription: Obv. Head of Fortuna populi Romani r., wearing diadem; before, FORT downwards; behind, P.R upwards / Rev. Palm-branch tied with fillet and winged caduceus, in saltire; above, wreath; below, Q. SICINIVS; on either side, III VIR
Dimensions: 18.00 mm D / Die Axis: 7.5
What: Coin, denarius
Subject: Ancient Coin Collection
Who: Fortuna Populi Romani
Q. Sicinius
Where: Italy, Rome
Description: Silver denarius of the Roman Republic, Rome, 49 BC
  • Crawford, M.H. Roman Republican Coinage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976. 
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