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Area of issue

Roman Provincial coins are coins that were minted in the Roman Empire by civic authorities rather than by Imperial authorities. Often these coins were a continuation of the original currency system that existed prior to the arrival or conquest by the Romans.



Tetradrachm Volusianus- antioch AR4Drachm Prieur 704A.jpgBronze-Uranius Antoninus-Elagabal stone-SGI 4414.jpgAs Elagabalus 218-leg 3 Gallica.jpgAs Elagabalus 218-leg 3 Gallica.jpgBronze Maximinus I-Paris-Tarsos AE36 SNGFr 1587.jpg

Provincial coins were issued in bronze and silver denominations, though never gold. The majority of the coins issued by the provincial mints were of bronze. Silver coins were common in regions of the Eastern Empire (particularly Alexandria). In general the issue of silver coinage was controlled by Rome. This was because by controlling the issue of silver coins (denarius), the Roman government could control and influence events in the provinces. The coins issued by a city were mostly used by the inhabitants of that city in local transactions. When a new region was assimilated by Rome, the Romans would frequently allow the continuation of the original currency as a matter of expediency. Frequently, when a new Colony was formed it would be given authority to mint bronze coins.


Hadrian coin celebrating Achaea province.
Hadrian coin celebrating the Aegyptus province.

There were over 600 provincial mints during the Roman Imperial Era [1]. The mints were located throughout the empire, with a particular concentration in the Eastern portions of the Empire.

The mints were located in major provincial cities such as Corinth or Antioch. There are several cities which are only known by their coins, as there is no historical mention of them. Some mints issued only for that city (Viminacium), while others issued coins for a larger province (Moesia).


The denominations of most bronze coins are unknown, though there are some exceptions such as the Greek Obolus (which was originally a silver coin, but came to be issued in bronze) and Chalkous. It is believed that some were based upon proper Roman denominations such as the as and sestertius. The legends on the coins are usually written in Greek or Latin, depending of the area of issue. They most likely were only circulated at a local level as their trade value would have been small. Judging by the wear and condition of these coins it is obvious they were in circulation for a very long time. Many of the coins have a dimple or center depression not always located in the exact center. The purpose of this mark is undetermined as several plausible explanations exist.

See also

External links and references

  1. ^ David R. Sear,Greek Imperial Coins,Seaby 1982,2001


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