dupondii), and the and the even smaller quadran (quarter) were now made from copper instead of bronze.

The silver denarius continued as before (now valued 84 to the pound) and the gold aureii were valued at 25 denarii each and 41 to the pound (7.87 g).

Such blatant manipulation of currency did not go unnoticed by the general population who retaliated by paying their taxes using the newer coins and keeping the older more valuable ones for savings or even melting them down.

Another problem was the production of forged money, largely helped by the poor quality of the official coinage.

Hundreds of individual cities across the empire also minted their own coins and the forms of smaller denominations, in particular, were left to local authorities but in general all of these provincial varieties were convertible to Roman coin values.

It was also probable that these various coins remained within their own geographical area as empire wide circulation was not guaranteed and although Rome-minted coinage was shipped to provinces it is more than likely that it remained there.

One solution was to reduce the weight and or the metal content of coins and so increase the possible money supply.

Nero did this in 64 CE (reducing gold content by 4.5% and silver by 11%) as did Commodus, Septimius Severus and Caracalla, who produced the antoninianus which perhaps had the face value of two denarii whilst only really being worth nearer one and a half.

From Aurelian attempts were made to improve the situation with coins being stamped to indicate their metal content: XXI or KA for 5% silver and XI or IA for 10 %.

In 293 CE Diocletian continued the reforms by guaranteeing the gold content of the aurei at 60 to a pound (later renamed the solidus and which would actually outlast the empire itself), minted a new pure silver coin and a part silver bronze coin, the nummus (worth 1/7200 of a solidus).

Coins also had a function as a vehicle to spread the imagery of the ruling class as coinage was the mass media of the day and often carried likenesses of emperors and famous imperial monuments which would be the nearest most Romans ever got to see of them.. Despite their heaviness this type continued to be produced up to c. As the Romans expanded over central Italy war booty meant coins could be produced using precious metals - gold, silver, and bronze.

These units were quite large as one unit was the equivalent of 324 g. The first Roman coins were probably the small bronze ones of low value produced at Neapolis from 326 BCE and carried the legend PΩMAIΩN.

Augustus, naturally, followed suit but he also reformed the denominations of smaller coins and his new system would form the basis of Roman coinage for the next three centuries.