Bronze is an alloy of two metals, copper and tin. It was the first metal alloy of importance to man and gives its name to the Bronze Age. This material has been used for many years to make jewelry, tools, medals, weapons, sculptures and coins, achieving greater hardness and durability than stone or copper.
Coins minted with this metal alloy played a major role in world trade. In particular, Ancient Greco-Roman coins from the 1st and 3rd century AD. they are a symbol of the resurgence of that culture. Also the Roman and Visigothic ones.
Ancient bronze coins
In its beginnings the Roman Republic did not have a monetary system, instead, they had a system of weights made with bronze, known as the Aes Rudes, a Roman Bronze coin.
These coins were large and weighed more than 300 grams. Even so, they were used until 218 BC, by which time Rome had expanded creating its empire and began to produce precious metals such as gold or silver.
When the Roman monetary system began, the first coins made with bronze, of small size and value, were designed. These were called the Bronze Ace.
They were the coins that were present in almost the entire duration of the Roman Empire. And these were not minted, but cast. In addition, they had to weigh them to know their real value. Other varieties of Aes followed, without changing their material, and a century later the Empire established a monetary system based on the weight of the new Roman pound, or aes libral: 293 grams.
When they began to be marked on the obverse, the figure was distinguishable as follows:
Aes: This coin had on both sides the portrait of Janus
Semis: It was differentiated by the head of Jupiter and an S.
Triens: It had the head of Mars or Minerva.
Cuadrans: The head of Hercules was printed on it.
Sextans: It was differentiated by the head of Mercury.
La Uncia: The portrait of Rome, personified in Bellona, who was the Goddess of War.
Its reverse never changed, it was always a ship’s bow.
Being a bronze coin, it was minted under the orders of the Senate, specifically during the mandate of Augustus, 23 BC. Several colonies were granted the right to mint this coin, although, beginning with the Antonios, it was minted directly by the monetal triumphs.
Its value was two Aes, or half Sestercio. And this was struck in bronze to distinguish it from Aes and Sestercio, which had existed since Nero. The obverse always featured a crowned imperial face, with a crown similar to that worn by the god Helios.
And its reverse could be similar or have the image of Annona, the Roman goddess of the harvest. Next to it, ears of corn, horns of plenty, commercial vessels or frequent symbols that accompanied the representation of the goddess could appear. This coin stopped being minted throughout the 3rd century AD.
The Follis was a large bronze coin, but weighing approximately 8 to 10 grams. This coin contained 4% silver in its composition. Its name comes from the term used to designate a sealed bag that contained a certain amount of coins.
In the time of Emperor Constantine I, the size of the Follis was smaller, and the quantity of silver was very small. But, in the 4th century, bronze coins were introduced, which are now known to numismatists as AE1; AE2; AE3 (fals); and AE4. The sizes of these coins vary from less than 17mm (the AE4), to more than 25mm (AE1). They were reintroduced during the reform of the Byzantium Emperor Anastasius I, who gave them different names and Greek numbers.
This coin is known because, in 1823, with the city of Pamplona besieged after the landing of “The hundred thousand sons of San Luis”, they had to carry out an effective minting during the constitutional period. A trade found from the Coronal Don Tomás Jiménez explains how three bronze artillery pieces, which were in the chamber of comptos, had been used to mint these coins. That is why it also bears the name Bronze of Canyons.
The rock of the coin gives us to understand the difficult and precarious situation they were going through in Pamplona. There is no documentation about the workshop in which it was minted. This currency facilitated transactions between the difficulties that they lived as a people.
An important archaeological discovery
On July 7, 2014, a valuable collection of bronze coins from the Roman Empire was discovered in the British city of Dovedale. The find occurred in a cave that had not been explored in two thousand years. This event was reported to local authorities and archaeological excavations began immediately.
The coins found belonged to two different civilizations and