for martin armstrong
Limes denarius (Lim-ace) or frontier coins, were bonze versions of silver denarii minted from official dies. They may be another example of coins being issued out of necessity due to a shortage of silver in the border regions. It has also been suggested that they may also be officially sanctioned emissions for use in regions where political unrest makes it dangerous to ship large amounts of silver. Others have suggested that they were used to pay barbarians on the fringes of the empire for local labor.
The most likely reason for your problem is that history repeats itself because human nature and your decision process will lead to the same conclusion regardless of the century. It is therefore also possible that these were military scripts paid to soldiers at the front just as was done during World War I and World War II to pay locals. They would have reduced the need for large amounts of precious metals on the front line or holding paper US dollars that might have been sized up by the enemy in battle.
These Roman bronze denarius issues could have served the troops at the front and been redeemable for good coinage when they returned to the stable regions. Whatever the reason, many of these coins exist. They have often been seen as possibly “necessity coins” issued during periods of silver scarcity. Some examples may still have traces of very fine silver wash. It seems that they were probably military scripts since the same practice took place in modern warfare.
A “Limes Denarius” was struck from official dies. Therefore, these official issues of AE denarii use the same dies as those intended for the silver denarii. However, there are also some that appear to have been cast using molds typical of clay smiths, and may on occasion have been cast in moulds. Opponents may have counterfeited this military version of the denarius.
There are no written accounts of this practice within the official monetary system. However, if the troops are paid with real money and lose a battle, the opponent will take the money they had and use it to finance their operations. If the soldiers only have a military script, then there is no financial benefit to the opponent if he defeats your troops.
Leave a Reply