Publication details

The End of Pax Romana : How Roman Emperors Faced Risks and Changes on Coins

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Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Range of data testifies that Pax Romana, i.e., the period of the relative stability and prosperity of the Roman Empire (ca 27 BCE-180 CE), was followed by turbulent times eventually resulting in the so-called crisis of the 3rd century CE. Decreasing intensity of Roman mining attested by ice cores from Greenland, the decline in the fineness and weight of silver in the Roman Denarii, or the steep fall of Latin military diplomas are representative proxies for the downward turn in prosperity after the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The question explored in this paper is then how Roman emperors dealt with political instability and socio-environmental issues such as the Antonine Plague on coins. Roman coins represented a suitable medium for conveying ideological messages by Roman Emperors. Quantitative temporal analysis of attributes of specific deities or personified virtues depicted on Roman coins has the potential to reveal iconographic trends that, when compared with the proxies for the development of Roman prosperity, can help us understand what Roman emperors communicated to the population in times of change and crisis. Preliminary results show that iconographic trends on coins connected to values such as peace or security changed after the Pax Romana and reveal the Roman coinage was a relevant tool for mitigating or enhancing specific sentiments in the population.
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