Roman Coins And Its Impact On Public Opinion

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The most commonplace of objects, we hardly give coins a thought as they pass through our hands day by day. Across the ages, however, coins have been deliberately employed for the purpose of delivering political messages and conveying and reinforcing images of power. Even today, empty even the most committed Australian republican’s wallet and you will most likely find a coin decorated with the image of the queen. You might say she is our most constant companion. Surviving Roman coinage is plentiful and examples exist which date from the Republic in third century BCE right through to Byzantine times. The authors of antiquity have left very little information about the coins they would have handled on a regular basis and so our understanding…show more content…
So how did they shape the perceptions of the people, including the illiterate plebeian’s, in their favour? How did they transmit their power to the furthest reaches of their territory and achieve, maintain and promote an atmosphere of peace, prosperity and good governance when Rome was in conflict? While written works, such as the pro-Roman writings of Livy, were used as propaganda, the influence of these writings was restricted to the literate and largely to those who could read Latin. Coined money on the other hand, which permitted and fostered unlimited economic communication would be seen and handled by people of all social ranks across the empire. Coined money came to Rome from Greece, the first society with a markedly monetized economy. While the Roman’s employed coins during the early Republican period, minted in bronze as a means of state payment (of which the army was the main recipient), these coins were not uniform across their territory and are relatively rare. By 289 BCE coinage was controlled by the Senate and pieces clearly recognizable as coins in bronze, silver and gold, began appearing in Rome. These coins were stamped with motifs and symbols that were relevant and of interest to the Roman state, however, the purpose of this marking was primarily to distinguish coin value, i.e. the denarius coin was marked by the “Roma” head and the as by Janus. It wasn’t until the late Republic era that this system of
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