Roman emperors made extensive use of the coins they issued to communicate important news and key messages to their subjects.

What would modern coins look like if contemporary governing parties used them to convey their agenda?

In 84 BCE once again the link between warfare and coinage was evidenced when Sulla minted new silver and gold coins to pay his armies, a necessity repeated by Julius Caesar, who in 46 BCE, minted the largest quantity of gold coin yet seen in Rome, outproducing the state mint in the process.

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The combination of pictorial representation and a written legend provided for both the educated and illiterate public, and further reinforced the iconography and imagery and symbolism associated with the emperors.

Further examples may refer to political or military events or even anniversaries.

The inscription reads SECVRITAS REI PVBLICAE, or ‘the security of the state’.

These are but three examples of coins that promote various imperial agendas communicated through coins.

For example, an issue dating to 320-324 bears a reverse depicting a laurel wreath – a traditional crown of the Empire – with an inscription around the outside reading CAESARVM NOSTRORVM, which translates into ‘Our caesars’ or ‘Our junior emperors’.

This inscription notifies the people of the Empire that the sons of Constantine and his co-emperor Licinius were being officially named as junior emperors, and therefore heirs to the imperial throne.These units were quite large as one unit was the equivalent of 324 g. The first Roman coins were probably the small bronze ones of low value produced at Neapolis from 326 BCE and carried the legend PΩMAIΩN.The first silver coins were produced from the early 3rd century BCE and resembled contemporary Greek coins.Gone were the silver coins below the denarius to be replaced in 23 BCE by the brass (copper and zinc) orichalcum sestertius and dupondius (pl.dupondii), and the and the even smaller quadran (quarter) were now made from copper instead of bronze.Most residents of the Empire were probably illiterate, so the imagery of the coins often very simply conveys a message.