By the middle of the fourth century B.C., Rome was becoming an increasingly prominent force with its Italian neighbors, but its local monetary system was quite primitive, with the most important medium of exchange consisting of cast bronze ingots that were traded by weight. In order to facilitate commerce with the cities in Magna Graecia, Rome needed to develop coins. These first Roman coins are of the fabric and style of Greek coins, and are some of the most beautiful of all Roman coins. During the third century B.C. these Romano-Campanian coins evolved from a trade currency to ultimately supplant the local cast bronzes and serve as the basis for the more mature Roman coinage that developed during the Second Punic War. This presentation will survey the first century of Roman struck coins from the foedus aequum with Neapolis at the beginning of the Second Samnite war in 326 B.C. to the beginning of the Second Punic War in 225 B.C., and put these Romano-Campanian coins in context with the local aes rude and aes grave that were used contemporaneously in central Italy.
Presenter: Scott Rottinghaus