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Gratidianus and monetary reform

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Neptune and Cupid on the Roman denarius
Neptune and Cupid on the Roman denarius

Marcus Gratidianus was a Roman politician born around 125 BCE. In 85 BCE he held the office of praetor. During this period, Rome struggled with an economic crisis caused by civil wars. It manifested itself, inter alia, in the destabilization of the exchange rate of silver coins (denarii) to bronze coins (asses).

In order to avert the crisis, the current praetors jointly developed a draft edict establishing a new and fixed exchange rate for coins. The praetors planned to issue the edict jointly, but Gratidianus deceived his associates and published it himself. Thanks to this, he was recognized as the sole author of the reform. According to some accounts, the Romans were so grateful to Gratidianus that they worshipped him in street chapels.

Gratidianus himself could not enjoy his success for long. In 82 BCE, after Sulla entered Rome, he was murdered.

Author: Kacper Walczak (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)
  • Pliniusz Starszy, Historia Naturalna
  • H.H. Scullard, From the Gracchi to Nero: A History of Rome from 133 B.C. to A.D. 68

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