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A solidus (the Latin word for solid) was originally a gold coin issued by the Romans. It was introduced by Constantine I in 309–10, and was used through the Byzantine Empire until the 10th century. The coin replaced the aureus as the main gold coin of the Roman Empire.

The name solidus had previously been used by Diocletian (284–305) for the gold coin that he introduced, which is different from the solidus introduced by Constantine. The coin was struck at a theoretical value of 1/72 of a Roman pound (about 4.5 grams). Solidi were wider and thinner than the aureus, with the exception of some dumpy issues from the Byzantine Empire. The weight and fineness of the solidus remained relatively constant throughout its long production, with few exceptions. Fractions of the solidus known as semissis (half-solidi) and tremissis (one-third solidi) were also produced.

The word soldier is ultimately derived from solidus, referring to the solidi with which soldiers were paid.

See also

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