The Function of Gold Coinage in the Monetary Economy of the Roman Empire
This chapter examines the function of gold coins in the Roman Empire. Using evidence of Duncan-Jones's demonstration that gold coins show markedly less weight loss than silver coins, it is argued that the former were often used as a slowly circulating store of value. However, gold coins were widely used to make actual payments. The chapter reconstructs the story of how the 3rd-century monetary system collapsed, to be succeeded by the new system founded on the regular use of the gold solidus and its fractions.
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