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2020-10-20 Other articles >

Vespasian's silver denarius (69-79 ad)

Not only - 'money doesn't smell'


Emperor Vespasian, who was at the head of Ancient Rome in the first century ad, is associated in everyday consciousness with the textbook phrase said to his son Titus, the future Emperor: 'Money does not smell.' But this phrase, and the introduction of fees for visiting latrines that gave rise to it, is not the only thing that interests descendants of this Roman Emperor from the Flavian dynasty.

The grandson of a peasant and the son of a horseman, Vespasian was not born to be the ruler of Rome, but he was – the first Roman Emperor not from the aristocracy.
Vespasian made a career not in the corridors of power, but as a military man – aedile and praetor under Caligula, commander of the Legion under Claudius. Then – retirement, then work as a proconsul in Africa, and in 66 ad – commander of the army in Judea.
69 ad – Vespasian is proclaimed Emperor of Rome. What would you expect from a military man in the position of Emperor – an increase in the military budget, an increase in the size of the army?

By no means, the opposite is true: when Vespasian came to power, he reduced the military expenditures of the Empire, and began with his immediate entourage – the Praetorian guard was reduced by half, and the costs of maintaining the Imperial court itself were cut.
In financial matters, the new Emperor showed unaristocratic savvy. According to contemporaries, he sometimes specifically promoted corrupt officials to high positions in order to give them the opportunity to profit unfairly, and then grabbed the thieves by the hand and seized the loot they had stolen to the state budget.

And Vespasian spent budget money so, it is not a shame to remember it now: he built temples and Roman baths (baths), roads and those paid latrines. It was during his time that the construction of the first permanent place for Gladiator fights in Rome, later known as Colosseum amphitheater.
When Vespasian was informed of the proposal to erect a magnificent and expensive statue for him at the expense of public money, they received in response the Emperor's outstretched palm with the words: 'Put it up immediately - here's the pedestal!'

After becoming Emperor, Vespasian drastically reduced the number of mints in the Empire: this made the coin business easier to control. In modern terms, the Emperor demonstrated the skills of an effective Manager in all his endeavors.

My denarius with the portrait of Vespasian weighs 3.32 grams, its size is 17 mm x 18 mm. In the 1940 years since it was minted at the mint of Rome, it has acquired a smooth patina of a noble hue, which undoubtedly adorns this ancient silver coin with a portrait of a man whose aphorisms are still in use.

Серебряный денарий Веспасиана (69-79 гг. н.э.)

Денарий, Веспасиан, Древний Рим

Country : Римская империя
Value : денарий
Year : 69-79
Mint :
Circulation :
Material : Серебро
Weight : 3.32
Diameter :
Alexander R.

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