Coin (obverse), Denarius, of Galba

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minted in Rome

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

Coin (obverse), Denarius, of Galba

This silver coin was minted in Rome by the emperor Galba in 68 or 69 AD. It is a type called a denarius, the most common Roman silver coin. This picture shows the obverse of the coin.

The obverse has the head of Galba wearing a laurel wreath and facing to the right. The legend 'IMP SER GALBA CAESAR AVG' identifies Galba and includes some of his titles. The coin has been struck off centre and is worn.

Rome needed vast numbers of coins to pay for her armies. Exact figures are lacking, but if one assumes a standing army of 150,000 men, each of whom was paid at least 225 denarii a year, this meant an annual wage bill of over 33 million denarii. Later emperors raised the wages of soldiers, and required even more.

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.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-597-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.C10471
Date: 68 - 69
Minted in 68 or 69 AD
Material: Silver; both sides slightly off-centre; worn. Inscription: Obv. IMP SER GALBA CAESAR AVG; laureate draped bust right / Rev. VICTORIA P R; Victory standing left on globe, holding wreath and palm
Dimensions: 19.00 x 19.50 mm D / Die Axis: 6.0
What: Coin Type: RIC (revised edition) 217
Coin, denarius
Subject: Queen Street Coin Collection
Who: Galba
Where: Italy, Rome
Roman Empire
Description: Silver denarius of Galba, Rome, AD 68 - 69
  • Sutherland, C.H.V. The Roman Imperial Coinage. From 31 BC to AD 69. Vol. 1, revised ed. London: Spink and Son Ltd, 1984. 
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