Last modified on December 29, 2017, at 17:18


A denarius bearing the head of Augustus (27 BC-14 AD)

A denarius was a Roman silver coin, originally equivalent to ten asses (a brass Roman coin), hence their name which translates as "containing ten". The consular denarius bore on one side a head of Rome, and an X or a star, to denote the value in asses, and a chariot with either two or four horses. At a later period the casts of different deities were on the obverse, and these were finally superseded by the heads of the Caesars. Many specimens of this coin have been preserved.[1] During Jesus' earthly ministry, agricultural laborers received a denarius for a day's work (Matthew 20:2). This is why the denarius is used in Revelation 6:6 to denote the extreme conditions where a quart of wheat or three quarts of barley would cost a full day's wage; a laborer "might be able to obtain a bare subsistence by his daily labor; but a man could not, in such cases, provide for a family".[2]


  1. Barnes, Albert Barnes' New Testament Notes Christian Classics Ethereal Library Accessed July 5, 2007
  2. Clarke, Adam, Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible Grand Rapids: Baker Book House (1967)