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Headword: *ke/rma
Adler number: kappa,1413
Translated headword: coin
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] the smallest [sc. denominations].[1]
For under the Emperor Justinian, whereas money-changers would give lenders 210 obols (known as follis) for a gold stater,[2] he contrived profit for himself, and ordered that only 180 obols should be given per stater, taking off a sixth of the value of the gold.
Greek Original:
*ke/rma: ta\ lepto/tata. e)pi\ ga\r *)ioustinianou= tou= basile/ws, tw=n a)rguramoibw=n pro/teron i# kai\ s1# o)bolou/s, ou(\s fo/leis kalou=sin, u(pe\r e(no\s stath=ros xrusou= proi/+esqai toi=s cumba/llousin ei)wqo/twn, au)to\s e)pitexnw/menos ke/rdh oi)kei=a p# kai\ r# mo/nous u(pe\r tou= stath=ros di/dosqai tou\s o)bolou\s dieta/cato, xrusou= e(/kthn a)potemo/menos moi=ran.
This material, substantially repeated in omicron 8, is taken from Procopius, Secret History 25.12. Procopius attributes the change to the emperors, rather than just Justinian. Procopius' maths is sounder than the Suda's: "thus taking off a seventh of the value of each gold nomisma from everyone."
[1] (The headword is neuter singular, the gloss neuter plural.) cf. kappa 1414.
[2] The follis was introduced in coinage reforms in around 294, and again in 494 (see phi 564 and web address 1). The solidus was the basic gold coin of the Byzantine empire between the fourth and the tenth centuries, although it is usually referred to in Greek as no/misma; stater was a more generic term for a standard gold coin, used in antiquity: see sigma 1008, sigma 1009. Procopius of course tries to stick to Classical terminology, describing folles as obols.
LSJ s.v. fo/llis gives an exchange rate of 288 folles to 1 solidus; but that was the 445 AD rate of nummus to solidus, before the 494 introduction of the follis. The exchange rate of follis to solidus went from 420:1 in 494, to 210:1 in 512, to 180:1 in 539. (Harl 1996:193).
Kenneth W. Harl. 1996. Coinage in the Roman Economy, 300 BC to AD 700. Johns Hopkins University Press
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; chronology; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; economics; historiography; history; trade and manufacture
Translated by: Nick Nicholas on 5 November 2008@19:26:42.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (added cross-references and keywords, set status) on 6 November 2008@01:04:49.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 6 November 2008@03:17:47.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking) on 19 February 2013@05:44:13.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 6 August 2019@19:32:29.
Catharine Roth (removed link) on 6 August 2019@19:34:18.


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