Hi Caleb:

Your comments prompt a lot of ideas.

I’ll rephrase your calculations:

Sestertuis = 1/4th denarii = $20

Denarii = 1/25 aureus = 4 sestertius = $80

Aureus = 1/3.5 ounce gold = 25 denarii = $2,000

Gold = 3.5 aureus = $7,000

Will roll the rest of this into a new discussion.

This is fun!

Jim

If my understanding of scarcity is correct I believe that gold per person mined would have to come into the calculations. My calculations where based on an article I read years ago that placed a denari and roughly 80$ and sestertius at 20$ so in that respect my calculation will be a little off from your estimates of there value. And from then it’s pretty simple, 1 aureus=25 denari, 80×25=2000

An aureus weighed 8 grams in 49bc which roughly comes out to 3.5 aureus to an ounce. 2000×3.5=7000. My base prices might be off here but my logic seems to be sound. With this in mind you can calculate it compensating for different prices of denari. I’m glad I could add something to the discussion as I greatly enjoy talking about all things Roman especially intelligent discussions

Hi Caleb:

Thanks so much for sharing. The relative amount of gold per capita that had been excavated is a new way of looking at things. Cool!

Just want to make sure I understand your point – you calculate that an ounce of gold in circa 49 BC would be equivalent to $7,000 in today’s currency?

If you have a moment, could you show your work of getting from an aureus to US$?

For other readers, you can find more info on the aureus gold coin here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aureus. That article says it was 1/40th of a roman pound and a sestertius was set at 1/100th of an aureus. Article has good info on the inflation in Rome in the 300s.

Caleb, thanks for stretching my brain!

Jim

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