Solidus of the Roman Empire

Solidus of the Roman Empire

The solidus of the Roman Empire is a gold coin weighing 4.55 g, which emperor Constantine (306-337) began to mint, replacing it with aureus. Gold solidi were in circulation at first only in the western part of the Roman Empire, but by the year 324 they were used throughout the territory and remained the main monetary unit. Gold Roman solidus for several centuries has undergone changes and was in circulation until the XI century. After the fall of the Roman Empire, based on this model of the monetary system was minted a solidus of the Byzantine Empire.

Types of Solidarity of the Roman Empire

Nominal 1 solidus

Minted in 308-309, Constantine I


Minted in 308-309, Constantine I


Minted in 310-313, Constantine I the Great


Minted in 364-378, Valens II


Minted in 408-423, Honorius Augustus


Minted in 408-450, Flavius Theodosius II


Minted in 498-518, Flavius Anastasius I


Minted in 602-610, Phocas


1/2 solidus denomination

Minted in 337-361, Constantius I


Minted in 450-457, Martianus Minneius Felix Capella


Minted in 457-474, Leo I


1/3 solid denomination (tremis)

Minted in 437-462, Licinia Eudoxia


Minted in 457-474, Leo I


Design development

The portrait images on the coins of the Roman Empire are most often turned to the right, although on the coins of some periods there was a widespread turn of the head turned to the left. There were emperors who simultaneously minted coins with both right and left profiles. Part of the solids from different periods of coinage contains images of emperors in full face.

The most common type of portrait images is the image of a bust with a laurel wreath on the head, which is tied with a ribbon at the back of the head. It should be noted that on such coins this part of the portrait is most quickly erased.

The image of the head in a diadem is quite rare and is found on coins minted during the period of the late empire. Later they began to depict a pearl diadem, which consisted of a double row of points.

Often on solids and coins of another type you can find images of the imperial bust in a military helmet, confirming the role of the emperor as a military leader.

Minted and solidi with the image of two portraits at once, which indicated the joint rule of two emperors at once. Examples of such coins are solid 610-641 minted in Heraclius and Constantine, as well as solidus 654-659 minted under Constantine II and Constantine IV.

Personification on coins:

  • ABUNDANCE – abundance
  • ANNONA – yield of cereals
  • BONUS EVENTUS – favorable end of the case
  • VIRTUS – masculinity, valor
  • GENIUS – guardian spirit of people, families, groups of individuals, troops, settlements and states
  • GILARITAS – fun
  • GLORIA – fame
  • HONOS – an honor
  • INDULGENCE – condescension, mercy
  • KVIES – peace, pacification
  • CLEMENTA – condescension and mercy of the emperor
  • CONCORDIA – consent
  • CONSTANCE – constancy
  • LETETSIA – joy
  • LIBERALITAS – unselfishness, generosity
  • LIBERTAS – freedom
  • COIN – coin chasing
  • NOBILITAS – nobility, generosity
  • PAX – the world
  • PATIENT – patience
  • PERPETUITAS – eternity
  • PIETAS – loyalty to duty
  • PROVIDENCE – foresight, divine providence, the emperor’s concern for the throne and empire
  • PEDITION – shyness, chastity
  • SAUCULO FRUGIFERO – fertile age
  • SEKURITAS – public and personal security
  • SPES – hope
  • FECUNDITAS – fertility
  • FELICITAS – happiness, success
  • FIDES – loyalty
  • EQUITAS – justice
  • ETERNITAS – eternity
  • UBERTAS – fertility
  • JUSTICE – justice

Reduction of titles and positions on coins:

  • COS ITER (CONSVL ITERVM) – “Consul for the second time”
  • COS ITER ET TER (CONSVL ITERVM ET TERTIVM) – “second and third time consul”
  • DIC, DIC PER (DICTATOR, DICTATOR PERPETVVS) – “dictator, permanent dictator”
  • DN, D NOST (DOMINVS NOSTER) – “our master”
  • DV, DIV, DIVO (DIVVS) – “Divine”
  • FEL (FELIX), PF, P FEL (PIVS FELIX) – “happy”, “pious”
  • F (FILIVS), N (NEPOS), PRON (PRONEPOS) – “son”, “grandson”, “great-grandson”
  • GERM (Germanicvs), DAC (Dacicvs), PARP, PARTH (Parthicvs), AFR (Africanvs), ARAB (Arabicvs), ARM (Armeniacvs), BRIT (Britannicvs), SARM (Sarmathicvs) – “German, Dacian, Parthian”
  • VICTOR – “winner”
  • I, IM, IMP (IMPERATOR) – “emperor”
  • IMP ITER (IMPERATOR ITERIVM) – “emperor for the second time”
  • INV (INVICTVS) – “invincible”
  • MAX (MAXIMVS) – “the greatest, the greatest”
  • N (NEPOS) – “grandson”
  • NC, NOB C, NOB CAES (NOBLE CAESAR) – means the emperor’s successor
  • N, NOST (NOSTER) – “our”
  • P (PIVS) – “pious”
  • P P (PATER PATRIAE) – “father of the fatherland”
  • PERP (PERPETVVS) – “eternal”
  • PONT MAX, P M (PONTIFEX MAXIMVS) – “the great pontiff, high priest, head of the college of pontiffs”

The characters of ancient mythology on the coins of the Roman Empire:

Roman mythology is inextricably linked with Greek, which is reflected in the symbolic images of obverse when minting coins:

  • Apollo is the son of Zeus
  • Venus is the goddess of the gardens
  • Vesta is the goddess of the sacred hearth
  • Victoria is the goddess of victory
  • Hercules is a personification of strength and heroism
  • Isis is the goddess of heaven and love
  • Cupid is the god of love and friendship
  • Mars is the god of war
  • Neptune is the god of the water element
  • Pluto is the god of the underworld
  • Roma is the personification of Rome
  • Romulus is founder of Rome
  • Salt is the sun god
  • Tellus is the goddess of the earth
  • Phoenix is a symbol of rebirth
  • Fortune is the goddess of happiness, success
  • Juno is the goddess of matrimony, motherhood
  • Jupiter is the god of sky, thunderstorm, light
  • Janus is the god of the beginning

The cost of the solidarity of the Roman Empire and which Mint produced the coins

Denomination and the year of issue

Name of the coin


Price ($ USD)

1 solidus 361-363

Julius II


2 611,29

1 solidus 364-378

Valens II


1 000-1 200

1 solidus 395-423

Honorius Augustus


1 200-1 500

1 solidus 498-518

Flavius Anastasius I


1 800-2 200

1 solidus 527-565

Iustinianus I



1 solidus 602-610




1 solidus 610-641

Heraclius и Constantine



1 solidus 641-668

Constantine II



1 solidus 654-659

Constantine II and Constantine IV



1 solidus 668-685

Constantine IV


1 000- 1 200

Each Mint, which produced gold and silver coins of the Roman Empire – and by the end of its existence there were about 25, had its own distinctive brand. The solids were mainly minted in Constantinople (present Istanbul) and in Mediolanum (present Milan):

  • Mint in Milan – MED, MDPS, MDOB, MD;
  • Mint in Constantinople – CONOB, CONSP, CONS, CON, CP, C.

Interesting Facts

  • In 379-395 Theodosius’ solid was equal to 7,200 nummini, and with this money it was possible to buy 30-40 wheat modifications, and under Theodoric for 60 gold wheat it was already possible to buy 60 wheat modifications. It is also known that the salary of the cavalryman per day was 180 nummini, that is, in recalculation for a month and a half, he received 1 gold solid.
  • “Solidus” in translation from English means “stable, authentic”, and “sold” in translation from English – “sold”, hence “soldier” – “soldier”. In German, “sold” is “army pay”, whence came the word “soldat” consonant with Russian.
  • In addition to the nominal value of 1 solidus, multiple nominal solidities were minted to the anniversary of the reign of the current emperor or to victory: 1/2 solidus (sevens), 1/3 solidus (tremis or triens) and 5/1 solidus, which were called medallions, but they were not in circulation .
Share Post:


No commens yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *