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The Hispano-Roman As: From Iberia to Hispania

Room 18, showcase 9 As of Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza). Caligula, AD 38–39. Bronze. Pulse para ampliar As of Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza). Caligula, AD 38–39. Bronze.

As official documents, coins struck from the mid-first century on faithfully reflect the peninsula’s transformation into a Roman province and the legal and territorial reorganisation effected by Augustus, the first emperor. Old mints disappeared, new ones were established, and production changed to bring local issues in line with the Roman system.

Latin became the language of choice, and the old images gave way to new designs, imperial portraits and the names of the magistrates who governed coloniae and municipia. While elements of indigenous culture, such as the rider figure or Phoenician script, endured in some of the older cities’ issues, newly founded settlements chose images that held great meaning for the Roman population, like a yoke of oxen ploughing the first furrow of the city.

These issues were bronze coins intended for local use, to meet daily needs, but in some cases they also travelled great distances in the hands of workers and, above all, the legionaries who defended the empire’s borders.

Local coins were struck for a short time, barely a century. After the mid-first century AD, the people of Hispania relied entirely on Rome to supply currency.

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