Aes (currency)

Aes , as (from Greek , eis, one or from Latin aes, bronze ) are the coins used by the Romans in ancient times.


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  • aes rude
  • aes signatum
  • 3 years grave
  • 4 Sources

aes rude

Aes rude

Ancient Rome did not have its own coins than the aces and their diversities, the oldest did not have a mark or stamp but were cast, these are known by numismatists and historians with the name of aes rude (in Latin, “from raw bronze “)

aes signatum

Aes signatum

With the passage of time, other pieces with a dry twig mark called aes signatum (Latin, “stamped bronze”) emerged. They are more perfect than aes grave extending up to two and a half centuries before the end of the Republic. In different ways, weight and magnitude, so it was necessary to use a balance to adjust it when marketing it.

is serious

Aes grave

King Servio Tulio in the middle of the 6th century BC established a monetary system based on the Libral Ace (weight of a Roman pound of 293 grams) which is called aes grave (heavy bronze). Large square pieces of bronze, seventeen centimeters long by nine wide, with the figure of an animal or a symbol, without a value mark, weighing between one kilo and 1,690 grams. This system was made up of five divisors of the Libral Ace, the coins were in the form of a disc and in the form of a converse. Each had a special or distinctive figure on the obverse with a uniform back and with the mark of its monetary value on both sides. The reverse figure in all of them consists of a ship’s bow and those on the front are distinguished as follows:

  • The ace, for the double side of Janus and the number I as a sign of value
  • The semis or half aces, for the head of Jupiter and an S
  • The triens or third of the ace, equivalent to four ounces for the head of Mars or Minerva and four globulillos as a sign of value
  • The quadruple or quarter of the ace for the head of Hercules and three globules indicating the value of three ounces
  • The sextans, by the head of Mercury and two globules, two ounce indicators
  • The uncia or twelfth part of the ace, for the head of Rome personified or Belona (goddess of war) and a globulillo.

Apparently the Romans copied the ace of the Etruscans but that of the Etruscans had less relief and simpler shapes. In 286 BC it was reduced to half its weight constituting the semi-balance system and in 268, coinciding with the first issue of silver coins , it was reduced to the weight of a sextant . The reduction of its value was so much that this type of piece came to disappear when the Empire began. When the ace dropped in 286 BC the ace had its multiples issuing the following pieces

  • The dupondio, with the head of Minerva on the obverse and the sign II
  • The tripondio, with the head of the personification of Rome and the sign III
  • The decapondium, with the same obverse as the previous one and the X sign to indicate its value of 10 aces
  • Also a multiple of the ace was the Roman talent or centupondium of weight of 100 aces but it was not real currency, but only nominal.


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