Definition of sesterce in English:


(also sestertius)


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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Indeed, he returned 6 million sestertii seized from Pompey's legate at Corfinum in the first weeks of the war.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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)’.