From Art to Artifact:  Making Sense of Roman Coins

Denarius of M. Junius Brutus

Map of the Mediterranean Sea and surrounding lands showing the distribution of the hoards in which the denarius was found.


A hoard is a store of wealth -- in this case coins -- that was hidden by someone who meant to recover it and, for any number of reasons, was unable to do so. Coins found in hoards are useful for two reasons. First, they help to identify the extent of the distribution of the coin. And second, they are useful as a dating tool: the coins must have been hidden after they were made. They can be compared to other hoards with common material to establish the relative order in which the coins were minted.

The hoards that contained this denarius are located in modern Romania, France, and northern and central Italy. The information from these hoards (and other hoards with comparable coins) has led to the dating of this coin at 54 BCE.