Getting Started with Roman Coins - Monetary Reform of Constans and Constantius II in 348 AD

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Monetary Reform of Constantine I after 310 AD
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Getting Started with Roman Coins
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Constans and his brother, Constantius II, reformed the bronze coinage in 348 AD by replacing the Follis with several new denominations. The “Maiorina” was struck to two weight standards (heavy and light), and half and quarter versions were also struck. None of these seemed to last long. The Half Maiorina lasted until 351 AD, the Light Maiorina to 352 AD and the Heavy Maiorina to 353 AD. The Quarter Maiorina (2.4-2.6g) became the “Reduced Maiorina” in by 357 AD where it had fallen in weight to 1.9g. By 363 AD it was gone, replaced by the Centenionalis and Half Centenionalis.

MetalDenominationValue (Solidus)Weight
GoldSolidus14.5g
Semissis½2.25g
1 ½ Scripulum3/81.68g
SilverHeavy Miliarense1/14 (or 1/15)5.4g
Light Miliarense1/184.5g
Siliqua1/243.37g
BillonHeavy Maiorina5.2g with 3% silver
Light Maiorina4.3g with 1.5 % silver
Half Maiorina2.3g with 0.4% silver
BronzeQuarter Maiorina2.5g

These names are modern inventions and we don’t know what the Romans called these coins. “Pecunia Maiorina” just means “large coins” and was mentioned in an edict of 354 AD where they were demonetised (they had been replaced with smaller coins and the mint wanted the larger silver rich coins back). In terms of weight, size and material, the Maiorina coins are similar to the AE1-4 coins that came before and after. They aren’t called Maiorina in “RIC VIII”. Their distinguishing feature is that they were marked “FEL TEMP REPARATIO” which basically means “good times are back again”.

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