Antoninianus: The Double Denarius



This article will briefly cover the Antoninianus. We will cover basic information about the Antoninianus, including its name, history, fun facts related to it, and collecting double denarius.

Antoninianus Name And Value

The antoninianus is also known as the “Double Denarius.” As its nickname states, it was worth two denarii and was based on the total amount of silver. We don’t know the proper name or what Romans called this coin during its daily use.

The name Antoninianus comes from the name of the Roman Emperor Caracalla, who introduced it. They were mainly struck between 215 CE to 293 CE.

While it was considered worth two denarii,, it usually contained less silver than if you were to hold two denarius in your hand (especially with a denarius struck earlier in the Empire).

By the late 3rd century, the Antoninianus would go on to be made of bronze, losing most of its value through the decrease of silver in the coin.

Antoninianus name collecting double denarius history
Example of a certified Double Denarius

Double Denarius History

During the reign of Emperor Gordian III, a lot of antoniniani were minted. However, we do not know precisely why the Antoninianus was struck in such great numbers under Emperor Gordian III. We know that the double denarius surpassed the original denarius in use during this time. Shortly after it gained dominance in Rome, it fell in quality through debasement.

Like most other Roman coins containing precious metals (silver and gold), debasement would always be an issue. The first antoninianus contained around 50% silver; before being removed from circulation, it only contained around 2% to 3% silver.


The Reform

Roman Emperor Diocletian would overhaul Rome’s monetary and tax system in 274 CE. By doing so, he would phase out the Antoninianus through his monetary and tax changes. The original denarius was then re-introduced alongside strict purity amounts.

Workers were not a fan of Diocletian reforms and eventually would lead a revolution in the Rome Mint. The revolt was put down, and Rome continued with Dioletian’s changes.

The steps that Diocletian took to slow the inflation crisis of the 3rd century didn’t work and forced Diocletian to use stricter measures and methods for slowing inflation. This ultimately added to the many reasons why western Rome fell.


Collecting Double Denarius

People love collecting the double denarius because of its connection to ancient Rome. Below is a link to the ancient Roman silver coins currently in stock. Check it out and see if we have an Antoninianus that’s right for your collection.

an example of a certified Double Denarius.

Published by Invest in History Co.

We specialize in high-quality gold and silver coins. Focusing on Middle East, Eastern European, and Ancient coins. We carry Roman, Greek, Parthian, Phoenician, Celtic, Byzantine, Russian, Jewish, Islamic, and many other culture's coins.

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