During the Later Empire, the monetary documentation can be placed within the antipodes of textual sources, which are the form of expression of a social class, politically and ideologically defined: the senatorial class (problem of historicity of the Historia Augusta, fake literature produced at the end of the 4th century by a member of the senatorial circles that were henceforth deprived of all real political roles).

The problem is complicated by the nature of the available textual sources themselves, which are either later (from the 4th to the 12th centuries), and/or succinct (epitomai, breviaries), and/or biased (Historia Augusta).

In effect, the reliable Greek sources which enlightened the previous period, Cassius Dio and Herodian, draw to a close in the decade AD 230; Aurelius Victor’s Caesares and Eutropius’s Breviary date from the decade AD 360. The Historia Augusta dates back from the last decade of the 4th century. Our understanding of this period of polymorphic crisis passes by these writers and the bias that their own time imposes on their historical vision: coinage is a privileged means of rectifying these distortions.