Ducat, a gold coin, which has been long in circulation in a large part of Europe. The first ducats are said to have been struck in the 12th century in Sicily by Roger II., and to have received their name from the device inscribed upon them: Sit tibi, Christe, datus, quern tu regis, iste ducatus. A little later ducats of various kinds became current in Italy, and especially in Venice; and they spread thence through Switzerland, the Germanic states, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Spain, and Russia. In Spain, however, at present, the ducat is only a money of exchange. In Germany the ducats, being made in 1559 a legal coin of the empire, soon displaced the gold florins, and generally bore the likeness of the sovereign princes. The ducats of Austria and Holland are the only ones which have acquired a very extensive circulation. Those of Holland are the most widely spread, bearing an emblem of a knight armed cap-a-pie. This emblem was for a short time exchanged for the likeness of King Louis of Holland. The value of the ducat varies somewhat in different countries, but it is about 2 1/4 American dollars.
There are also silver ducats in France and Spain, having half this value. (See Coins.)