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How Much is a Denarius Worth? 

It is difficult to settle on just one number to represent the value of a denarius. The Roman Republic issued the denarius for more than 400 years, and in that time, there were wild fluctuations in value.  

To make things perplexing, the Roman Republic did not record detailed economic information over the centuries, even regarding the basic denomination of the Roman currency.  

As of the time of this writing, the 0.12 ounce silver content of a denarius is worth about $3.02.  

Due to its age, the numismatic value of a denarius can be worth magnitudes of its precious metal content, around $50 on the lower end. 

The denarius was introduced in 211 B.C.E. amidst the Second Punic War. It was issued until the rule of Emperor Gordian III (238-244 A.D.), when it was replaced by the antoninianus.  

What Could a Denarius Buy in Ancient Rome? 

Using information from archeological excavations of Pompeii, we can see what the denarius was worth on August 24 of A.D. 79. 

Product Price 
Wine by the glass 0.1 denarii 
Loaf of bread 0.2 denarii 
1 kilogram of butter 0.8 denarii 
Modius (8.73 liters) of grain 3 denarii 
Tunic cleaning 1 denarius 
New tunic 4 denarii 

What Would a Denarius Be Worth in Today’s Equivalent of Dollars? 

While the value of a denarius fluctuated, one Biblical reference to the coin suggests that at the time, it was worth one day’s labor, or about $50 in today’s money. 

This comes from the Parable in the Book of Matthew 20:2, where a landowner agrees to pay a day’s wages or a denarii to workers in a vineyard. 

What Was the Difference Between a Denarius and an Aureus? 

Whereas the denarius was the base unit for Roman Empire, the aureus was a gold coin worth 25 denarii. The value of an aureus was more stable than that of the denarius due to its gold content. 

Where did the Word Denarius Come From? 

The denarius was worth ten copper or bronze asses, also known as assarius, and its name reflects that as deni was the Latin word for ‘containing ten’ or ‘tenner.’ It weighed 1/72 of a Roman pound of silver and had a purity between 95 and 98%. 

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Step 1:

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Step 2:

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Step 4:

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