Roman currency debasement overlaid with cause of death for Roman Emperors.

The Money Project, from The Visual Capitalist, has a great visualization comparing the debasement of Roman currency with the cause of death & duration of reign for Roman Emperors.

Keep in mind that correlation is not causation.  The drop in average tenure and increased likelihood of being assassinated is not caused by debasing the currency alone. Instead the increased turmoil, civil war, deteriorating economy, and external pressures all combined in a massive mix of factors that led to both.

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Having described all that, here is the visualization “Roman Currency Debasement Plotted vs. Cause of Death for Roman Emperors“:

Courtesy of: The Money Project


A few things of particular note. The largest portion of debasement, going from 1.8 grams of silver per Denarius to around 0.6 grams, took place in just a few years around 250 A.D.

In the third century, an Emperor had an 84% chance of leaving office by means of assassination.

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