Debased Denarius and the Devaluated Dollar

January 3, 2023

During the 73 years between Marcus Aurelius’s reign ending in 180 CE and the beginning of the reign of Emperor Gallienus, the denarius silver coin was periodically debased – by mixing in a cheaper base metal, like lead – from 75% silver to only 5%.

Over the past 73 years, the US Dollar also lost over 91% purchasing power through persistent debasement. Currency devaluation is hardly a new phenomenon.

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