Definition of sesterce in English:


(also sestertius)

nounPlural sesterces, Plural sestertii

  • An ancient Roman coin and monetary unit equal to one quarter of a denarius.

    • ‘In ancient Rome, people in the forum were hired for a few sesterces to strut in front of the senate and shout ‘traitor’, ‘liar’, ‘criminal’ at a senator designated by their sponsor.’
    • ‘On Tiridates, though it would seem hardly within belief, he spent eight hundred thousand sesterces a day, and on his departure presented him with more than a hundred millions.’
    • ‘Indeed, he returned 6 million sestertii seized from Pompey's legate at Corfinum in the first weeks of the war.’
    • ‘There was, of course, one more thing that may be worth a few sesterces, but I would not part with the ring for the world.’
    • ‘Those were the good old days, the glory days of butchery and brutality, before those millions of sesterces from the east flooded Rome with luxury and indolence.’


From Latin sestertius (nummus) ‘(coin) that is two and a half (asses)’.