The monetary situation at the end of the Roman Republic was somewhat chaotic. It was characterized, in particular, by the issuance of base metal coins, which led to a loss of confidence in the value of the currency, denounced by Cicero in particular.

Thanks to his political position, Julius Caesar was progressively able to establish himself as the sole money issuer: minting coins became his almost exclusive prerogative. He got hold of Rome’s gold reserves, and minted a new coin with this precious metal (the aureus), which he then used to finance his spending (in particular to pay his legions); all of his currencies played a part in his propaganda (victories, trophies, accessories representing his religious functions, etc). He managed to get the Senate to vote a senatus consultum to enable him to be represented on his coins a few months before his death (prior to that, portraits were not allowed).

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Published on 27 September 2010. Updated on 08 March 2022