Roman Republican currency
Coinage came late to the Roman Republic compared with the rest of the Mediterranean, especially Greece and Asia Minor where coins were invented in the 7th century BC. The currency of central Italy was influenced by its natural resources, with bronze being abundant (the Etruscans were famous metal workers in bronze and iron) and silver ore being scarce. The coinage of the Roman Republic started with a few silver coins apparently devised for trade with the Greek colonies in Southern Italy, and heavy cast bronze pieces for use in Central Italy. During the Second Punic war a flexible system of coins in bronze, silver and (occasionally) gold was created. This system was dominated by the silver denarius, a denomination which remained in circulation for 450 years. The coins of the republic (especially the denarii) are of particular interest because they were produced by ""mint magistrates"", junior officials who choose the designs and legends. This resulted in the production of coins advertising the officials' families for political purposes; most of the messages on these coins can still be understood today.