Money and Power: The Disappearance of Autonomous Silver Issues in the Roman Province of Asia

Lucia Francesca Carbone


The standardization process of Asian civic silver coinage that took place during the
Augustan Age finds its origins in the attitude that the Roman administration adopted towards civic
issues right from the institution of the Provincia Asia in the 120s BC. Through our study of Asian
autonomous silver issues, we will demonstrate that Romans were much more involved in the silver
coinages of the Asian cities than any previous power dominating the area, as is suggested by the
Roman names present on these issues and the evident decrease in the number of cities issuing them
after the Roman province of Asia was instituted. Another element hinting at Roman intervention is
the fact that the circulation of autonomous silver issues was limited to Caria and Rhodes, regions
which were bestowed freedom and special privileges after the First Mithridatic War and maintained
these privileges even afterwards. Asian autonomous issues only became fully integrated into the
local monetary system during Augustan times through their linkage to the denarius and the
cistophorus standards, but this process had already started during the course of the 2nd century BC.
After a brief introduction of Augustan policy towards Asian non-autonomous silver coinage, this
paper will provide a survey of the changes in the production and circulation of Asian autonomous
silver issues under Roman dominion up to the Augustan Age, and will show how these changes
were deeply intertwined with a gradual increase in Roman political control over the province of
Asia from the beginning of the Roman period.

Texte intégral :



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