Aurelian’s monetary reform: between debasement and public trust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coin debasement in the third-century CE is traditionally seen as a main cause for the collapse of Rome’s long-lasting monetary system. The article stresses the significance of public trust in the currency for the stability of the Roman monetary order and investigates the relation between public trust and coin debasement. Essential for understanding this relation is Aurelian’s monetary reform of 274, with its grave consequences on coin value. The article offers an economic model which explains why Aurelian’s monetary reform was the coordinating event that triggered the decline in public trust, eventually leading to the end of the existing monetary order.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-40
Number of pages40
StatePublished - 2011


  • Monetary history
  • third-century debasement
  • Aurelian
  • coin value
  • trust in the currency
  • Economic model


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