The denarius was a small silver coin used by the Roman Empire and Roman Republic. The denarius weighed about 3 to 4.5 grams. It was the main coin of Ancient Rome. It became the most common coin produced for circulation but was slowly debased in weight and silver content. The coin was then sometimes made of copper and painted silver in color. During the Empire the front side usually had a picture of the emperor on it.
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Starting with Nero in AD 64, the Romans continuously debased their silver coins until, by the end of the 3rd century AD, hardly any silver was left.
Denarius Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.