(ORDO NEWS) — A chemical analysis of the composition of denarii revealed to scientists the depth of the financial crisis in Rome, which Mark Tullius Cicero wrote about. And he allowed historians to put an end to a long-standing scientific dispute, writes the Naked Science portal.
Researchers from several scientific centers in the UK conducted a chemical analysis of ancient Roman denarii and came to the conclusion that coins that were minted from pure silver until 90 BC, five years later, were already 10% copper.
Historians believe that the Romans, accustomed to trusting the currency of their country, at the moment when the composition of the coins ceased to be pure, and, at the suggestion of the state, lost confidence in the denarius. This discovery also made it possible for the first time to confirm Cicero’s evidence of the financial crisis of 86 BC.
According to scientists, the decline in the real value of the denarii was a necessary measure for the politicians of Rome, since the country was in a debt hole.
Previously, only on the basis of the evidence of Cicero, it was generally accepted in the scientific world that in 86 BC only a slight devaluation of the denarius took place in Rome.
However, now that scientists have been able to figure out that denarii were only 90% silver, it becomes clear that the scale of the problem was much more serious.
It is also known that shortly after 86 BC, thanks to the intervention of the famous politician of Rome, Mark Maria Gratidian, the real value of the denarii was restored and they were again minted from pure silver.
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