This book takes a fresh look at the development and use of coinage in the Roman world, from the third century BC to the break-up of the Empire in the fifth century AD. The emphasis is upon interpretation of the coins rather than description of types, focusing on both how and why they circulated, and how they can illuminate the historical and economic background.
An introduction to the beginnings of the Roman coinage is followed by the two main sections, covering the denarius system of 200 BC to AD 250 and the coinage of the late Empire of AD 250 to 400. Individual chapters describe the organization and control of the coinage, the monetary history of each period, the relationship of coinage and inflation, and the use of designs as imperial propaganda or symbols of Christianity. A particular feature is the integration of the coinage of the eastern provinces into the discussion of the Empire as a whole. A final section describes the end of Roman coinage with the disintegration of the Empire in the fifth century AD.