Study co-leader Dr Katrin Westner, of Goethe University in Frankfurt, Gemrany, said: "Before the war we find that the Roman coins are made of silver from the same sources as the coinage issued by Greek cities in Italy and Sicily.Cross-file under Numismatics and Technology Watch.
"In other words the lead isotope signatures of the coins correspond to those of silver ores and metallurgical products from the Aegean region.
"But the defeat of Carthage led to huge reparation payments to Rome, as well as Rome gaining high amounts of booty and ownership of the rich Spanish silver mines.
"From 209BC we see that the majority of Roman coins show geochemical signatures typical for Iberian silver.
"This massive influx of Iberian silver significantly changed Rome's economy, allowing it to become the superpower of its day.
"We know this from the histories of Livy and Polybius and others, but our work gives contemporary scientific proof of the rise of Rome.
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