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On this page: Aurum Coronarium – Aurum Lustrale – Aurum Vicesimarium – Auspex – Auspfcium

AUSPICIUM.

AURUM.

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eamc into circulation in Greece in the time of Philip, and continued in use till the subjection of Greece to the Romans. [daricus ; stater.]

roman gold money. — The standard gold coin of Rome was the aureus Hummus, or denarius aureus, which, according to Pliny (H.N. xxxiii. 3. s. 13) was first coined 62 years after the first silver coinage [argentum], that is in the year 207 b.c. The lowest denomination was the scrupulum, which was made equal to 20 sestertii. The weight of the scrupulum, as determined by Mr. Hussey (Ancient Weights and Money) was 18'06grs. In the British Museum there are gold coins of one, two, three, and four scrupula, the weights of which are 17'2, 34*5, 51*8, and 68'9 grains respectively. They bear a head of Mars on one side, and on the other an eagle standing on a thunderbolt, and beneath the inscription " roma." The first has the mark xx (20 sestertii); the second, xxxx (40 sestertii) ; the third, \J/ x (60 sestertii). Of the last we sub­join an engraving:—•

Pliny adds that afterwards aurei were coined of 40 to the pound, which weight was diminished, till under Nero (the reading of this word is doubt­ful) they were 45 to the pound. This change is supposed, from an examination of extant specimens, to have been made in the time of Julius Caesar. The estimated full weight of the aurei of 40 to the pound is 130*1 grains, of those of 45 to the pound 115*64 grains. No specimens exist which come up to the 130*1 grains ; the heaviest known is one of Pompey, which weighs 128*2 grains. The aver­age of the gold coins of Julius Caesar is fixed by Letronne at 125*66 grains, those of Nero 115*39 grains. Though the weight of the aureus was diminished, its proportion to the weight of the de­narius remained about the same, namely, as 2 : 1 (or rather, perhaps, as 2*1 : 1). Therefore since the standard weight of the denarius, under the early emperors, was 60 grains, that of the aureus should be 120. The average weight of the aurei of Augustus, in the British Museum, is 121*26 grains: and as the weight was afterwards dimi­nished, we may take the average at 120 grains. There seems to have been no intentional alloy in the Roman gold coins, but they generally contained a small portion of native silver. The average alloy is 3^. The aureus of the Roman emperors, therefore, contained ||g = *4 of a grain of alloy, and there­fore 119*6 grains of pure gold. Now a sovereign contains 113*12 grains of pure gold. Therefore the value of the aureus in terms of the sovereign is ^§ : |5 = 1-0564 = II. Is. Id. and a little more than a halfpenny. This is its value according to the present worth of gold ; but its current value in Rome was different from this, on account of the dif­ference in the worth of the metal. The aureus passed for 25 denarii; therefore, the denarius being 8|c?., it was worth 17s. %\d. The ratio of the value of gold to that of silver is given in the article argentum. The following cut represents an aureus of Augustus in the British Museum, which weighs 121

Alexander Severus coined pieces of one-half and one third of the aureus, called Semissis and tremis-sis (Lamprid. Aleoc. Sev. c. 39), after which time the aureus was called solidus.

Constantine the Great coined aurei of 72 to the pound ; at which standard the coin remained to the end of the empire. (Cod. x. tit. 70. s. 5 ; Hussey, On Ancient Weights and Money; Wurm. De Pond. &c.) [P. S.]

AURUM CORONARIUM. When a general in a Roman province had obtained a victory, it was the custom for the cities in his own provinces, and for those from the neighbouring states, to send golden crowns to him, which were carried before him in his triumph at Rome. (Liv. xxxviii. 37, xxxix. 7; Festus, s. v. Triumphales Coronae.) This practice appears to have been borrowed from the Greeks ; for Chares related, in his history of Alex­ander (ap. Athen. xii. p. 539. a.), that after the conquest of Persia, crowns were sent to Alex­ander, which amounted to the weight of 10,500 talents. The number of crowns which were sent to a Roman general was sometimes very great. Cn. Manlius had 200 crowns carried before him in the triumph which he obtained on account of his conquest of the Gauls in Asia. (Liv. xxxix. 7.) In the time of Cicero, it appears to have been usual for the cities of the provinces, instead of sending crowns on occasion of a victory, to pay money, which was called aurum coronarium. (Cic. Leg. Agr, ii. 22 ; Gell. v. 6 ; Monum. Ancyr.) This offering, which was at first voluntary, came to be regarded as a regular tribute, and seems to have been sometimes exacted by the governors of the provinces, even when no victory had been gained. By a law of Julius Caesar (Cic. in Pis. 37), it was provided that the aurum coronarium should not be given unless a triumph was decreed; but under the emperors it was presented on many other occasions, as, for instance, on the adoption of Antoninus Pius. (Capitolin. Anton. Pius, c. 4.) It continued to be collected, apparently as a part of the revenue, in the time of Valentinian and Theo-dosius.^ (Cod. 10. tit. 74.)

Servius says (ad Virg. Aen. viii. 721), that aurum coronarium was a sum of money exacted from conquered nations, in consideration of the lives of the citizens being spared ; but this state­ment does not appear to be correct.

AURUM LUSTRALE was a tax imposed by Constantine, according to Zosimus (ii. 38), upon all merchants and traders, which was payable at every lustrum, or every four years, and not at every five, as might have been expected from the original length of the lustrum. This tax was also called auri et argenti collatio or pravstatio, and thus in Greek % owreAem ^ rov xpv(r&pyvpov. (Cod. 11. tit. 1 ; Cod. Theod. 13. tit. 1.)

AURUM VICESIMARIUM. [aerarium. p. 23, b.]

AUSPEX. [augur.]

AUSPFCIUM. .[augur.]

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