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Value in modern terms[edit]

I arrived here from the Commodus page. Commodus paid himself 1m sestertii for appearing in the colloseum, obviously a fortune. Yet I'm having trouble working out the value of a single sestertius in modern terms. One sestertius is worth 1/4 denarius, which was about the daily wage for an unskilled labourer, but what would it have bought in terms of, eg. loaves of bread, food, wine, clothes, accomodation, ...? Richard W.M. Jones 18:40, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

There is a linl on the Roman provincial coins page to detail this, I prefer to think in third world turms instead of first world. Enlil Ninlil 07:21, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Crumbs, complicated! Thanks though, that page [1] was very interesting. Richard W.M. Jones 08:57, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

According to Tacitus a Roman soldier would have been paid 10 As a day at the beginning of the first century. There are 16 As in one Denarius. A loaf of bread could be purchased in those days for about two As. 2001:984:209E:1:28DB:1EB3:A651:F900 (talk) 02:46, 6 November 2014 (UTC)


The article currently states that sesterce is pronounced "ses-ter-see", but I have always heard it pronounced "SES-terse", and indeed, the OED recommends /'sɛstɜːs/, so I am at least putting up a {{fact}} for now. --Iustinus 22:45, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes I've just looked the OED up and you're right. That was just how my Latin teacher always pronounced it, probably a back-formation from the plural.GSTQ 06:02, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

It's very unlikely that a Latin teacher would have pronounced it the English way. Since it is a Latin word, it should be pronounced in a latin way. The "u" for instance is to be pronounced as "ou" like in the English word "you." Since the name suggests that a certain amount of thirds is meant the emphasis should lay on "ter." Ses-TER-ti-us. The "e" in ses and ter should be pronounced as in the English word "well" and the i should be pronounced as in the English word "wee." So, the pronunciation is: ses-TER-tee-ous. (there is much debate about how the t before an i should be pronounced. Some say it should be pronounced as ts, others just as a t.

In plural the last "ii," sestertii, should be pronounced as a double "ee." Ses-TER-tee-ee. 2001:984:209E:1:28DB:1EB3:A651:F900 (talk) 02:43, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

Derivation of name[edit]

The name sestertius is a combination of semis, meaning half, and tres, meaning three, which when combined with an adjectival termination means three with the last equal half resulting in two and a half, the coin's original value in asses.

This is not very clear and rather wordy. I thought that the derivation of the name was more like half before three in common with other Latin forms:

  • IV (roman numeral) - one before five
  • IX (roman numeral) - one before ten
  • nineteen - undeviginti (one before twenty)
  • eleven twelfths - deunx (not sure of derivation but looks similar)

I'm not sure how best to reword it but the current wording is rather confusing. --B.d.mills 04:37, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Removing duplicated links and a size query[edit]

Following WP:CONTEXT style guidelines, I've removed some links showing overlinking. Generally, only one is needed in the body of the text.

Also -- I'm not clear on the convention -- is the only coin photo that is not life size the one specifically mentioning a size?

Alpha Ralpha Boulevard (talk) 21:29, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Nero sesterius photo[edit]

Nero sestertius illustrated in article does not look genuine (especially rv). (talk) 19:47, 25 February 2013 (UTC)


Where does the abbreviation IIS / HS come from? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:22, 13 May 2015 (UTC)