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COINAGE 100.00%
(1) Greek. As late as the Homeric age, cattle, especially oxen, served as a medium of exchange, as well as a standard of price [11 . xi 211, xxi 385]. We find, however, that the metals were put to the same use, their value being decided by their weight as determined by a balance. The weight, as well as the balance, was called talanton. [It is probable that the gold talanton of Homer weighed two drachmce, and was equivalent in value to an ox; see Ridgeway, in Journal Hell. Studies viii 133.] The idea of giving the metal used in exchange a form corresponding to its requirements is no doubt an early one. The date of the introduction of a coinage in the proper sense, with an official stamp to denote its value and obviate the necessity of weighing the metal, cannot now be determined. But as early as the 6th century B.C. we find a highly developed and artistic system of coining money in existence. The various Greek standards of value were all developed-in several gradations, it is true from the gold and silver standard of Asia Minor. It was not until a later time that the standard of the Persian gold money was in some cities transferred to the silver coinage. The proportion of gold to silver was commonly reckoned among the Greeks as 10: 1, so that a gold piece weighing 2 drachmoe was = 20 silver drachmoe. But in commerce the proportion assumed was 12:1, and this was the average generally observed in the Roman empire. The measure of weight most commonly current was the talent, which contained 60 minoe. Like the talent, the mina was not a real coin, but a standard of measurement. The unit of coinage was the drachma, 100 drachmas being reckoned to the mina. The drachma, again, contained 6 obols. In ancient times the commonly accepted standard was that of Aegina. The coins of the island of Aegina were stamped on one side with the figure of a tortoise, on the other side with a roughly executed incuse square. The largest silver coin was the stater or didrachmon (fig. 1), (=about 2s. 2d., the Aeginetan drachma, being =1s. 1d.). Solon abolished this standard in Attica, and introduced a lighter drachma equal to about 8d. The Attic talent (=6,000 drachmoe) was thus worth about £200, the rains, about £3 6s. 8d. The silver coins of Attica bore on the front the head of Pallas, and on the reverse the figure of an owl. The principal coin was the tetradrachmon or 4 drachmoe (fig. 2), the largest (which was only issued occasionally) the didrachmon or 10 drachmoe. The didrachmon (2 drachmoe)was in like manner issued rarely. The triobolon (3 obols), the obolos , and the hemiobolion (1/2 obol) were small silver coins; the tetartemorion (1/4 obol) the smallest of all. The Greek states always adopted a silver Currency, gold being rarely issued. The largest gold piece was the didrachmon or golden stater ( = 20 silver drachmoe). Besides this we find drachmas, triobols, obols, half-obols, quarter-obols, and even eighth obols in gold. The gold money most commonly current in Greece was, down to the Macedonian age, the royal Persian coin called Dareikos, or Daric (fig. 3). It was stamped on one side with a crowned archer, on the other with an oblong incuse. This corresponded with the gold stater of Attica and of the cities of Asia Minor. Among these should be especially mentioned the stater of Cyzicus or the Cyzicenus = 28 silver drachmoe. The earliest copper coin issued at Athens was the Chalkus =1/8 of a silver obol (440 B.C.). In the time of Alexander the Great the silver coinage stopped at the triobolos, and it therefore became necessary to represent the smaller fractions in copper. The silver money of Attica was in very general use, but the Attic standard was not adopted in Greece Proper. It spread westward, however, in quite early times. In the greater part of Sicily, and in Taren tum and Etruria, the coinage was from the first regulated in accordance with the Attic standard. But the wide diffusion of this standard was mainly due to the action of Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. The former adopted it when introducing his gold coinage (Philippus, fig. 4), the latter for his silver money (fig. 5). For even after Alexander's death this standard held its ground in the kingdoms of the Macedonian empire, except in Egypt, where the Ptolemies maintained the old coinage of the country. Macedonian influence extended the Attic currency into many other states, e.g. Epirus, the coasts of the Black Sea, and even Parthia. The largest Greek gold coin is the 20-stater piece of the Graeco-Bactrian king Eucratides, now preserved in Paris; the largest silver coins are the 10-drachma pieces of Athens, Syracuse (fig. 6) and Alexander the Great. Hellenic coins are important as giving a grand and complete idea of the development of plastic art among the Greeks. In the Greek cities of Italy and Sicily, in particular, the art of stamping coins had attained considerable importance as early as the 5th century B.C., and in the 4th century with its life-like characterisations, and with the rich variety and noble perfection of its forms, it reached the highest degree of finish. (2) Roman. As in Greece, so in Rome, oxen and sheep were originally the medium of exchange. The oldest pecuniary fines were exacted in cattle, and the Latin word for money, pecunia, is derived from pecus. In later times unwrought copper (oes rude ) given in pieces according to weight, took the place of oxen. Bars of cast copper marked on both sides with some figure (as of an ox, pig, or fowl) are said to have been introduced by king Servius Tullius, when he took in hand the regulation of weights and measures. The first demonstrable example of a coin is from the age of the decemvirs (about 450 B.C.). The unit of coinage was the as of cast copper, carrying the nominal weight of the Roman pound (libra = 12 uncioe, see fig. 7). The as (oes grave) bore the image of Janus; the coins representing its fractions were all stamped on the reverse side with the figure of a ship's prow. These were, semis, with the head of Jupiter = 1/2 as or 6 unciae; triens with tthe head of Minerva, 1/3 of an as = uncioe; quadrans, with the head of Hercules, 1/4 as = 3 uncioe; sextans, with the head of Mercury, 1/6 as = 2 uncioe ; uncia, with the head of Roma, 1/22 as. As in the course of time the copper money became lighter, the smaller fractional coins were first struck, and afterwards all the fractions. This copper currency was calculated exclusively for the home trade, so that it was easily allowed to suffer a continuous depreciation, at first to 4, then to 2, after 217 B.C. to 1 ounce, after B.C. 89 to 1/2 an ounce, and under the Empire even to 41 an ounce. In 269 B.C. a silver currency was introduced, and a mint for it set up oil the Capitoline Hill in the temple of Juno Moneta. The silver fractional coins struck according to the Athenian and Sicilian standard were the denarius, somewhat higher in value than the Attic drachma (about 91/2d., figs. 8 and 9)= 10 asses of 4 ounces; the quinarius=5 asses; and the sestertius = 2 1/2 asses. These coins were denoted by the marks X. V. and II S. (or 2 1/2) respectively (fig. 10). They all bore, on the upper side, the head of the goddess Roma with her winged helmet, and on the reverse the two Dioscuri on horseback. In later times Diana Victoria in her two-horse chariot, and Jupiter in his four-horse chariot, successively took the place of the Dioscuri. From the middle of the 1st century there was no fixed device for the reverse side. The sestertius was the equivalent of the old heavy as, which although long disused, survived as the standard of reckoning. Payments were generally made in denarii, but the amount made up in sestertii, whence the word nummus (coin) was applied par excellence to the sestertius . The reduction of the copper as to 1 uncia in 217 B.C. degraded the copper money to the position of small coin, and a silver currency drove out the copper. The denarius sank at the same time to the value of about 8 1/2d., which it maintained till the time of Nero. The denarius was reckoned as = 15 asses, the quinarius as 8, and the sestertius (about 2d.) =4. At about the same period a temporary effort was made to introduce gold coinage. This movement was not taken up again till towards the end of the Republic, when Caesar struck a large number of gold coins (aureus) equal in weight to 1/40 of the Roman pound, and in value 25 denarii or 100 sestertii (nearly 23 shillings). No regular coinage was carried on in the time of the Republic, but the necessary, money was minted as occasion required. This was done in Rome at the commission of the senate under the superintendence of certain officials entrusted with the duty. A permanent board of three persons (tres viri monetales) was at last appointed for the purpose. In the provinces money was coined by the Roman generals and governors. From the time of Augustus the emperor retained the exclusive privilege of coining gold and silver money, the copper coinage being left to the senate. The standard of the imperial coinage was the aureus of Caesar, the weight of which sank (with many variations) lower and lower as time went on, till in 312 A.D. Constantine fixed it at 1/12 of a lb. (=between 12 and 13 shillings, fig. 11). The aureus was now called solidus, and was stamped at first with the Latin mark LXXII, afterwards with the Greek OB (=72). It continued in use until the fall of the Byzantine empire. Of the silver coins of the Republic the denarius and quinarius alone held their ground under the Empire, the rest being stamped in copper. The denarius retained the value fixed 217 B.C. (about 8 1/2d.) until the time of Nero, under whom it fell in weight and purity till its value was only sixpence. During the 2nd century it sank to 3 1/2d., below the half of its former value, and the silver coinage was consequently changed into small money. Diocle- tian was the first to restore some order to the currency. After 292 A.D. he issued a coin (argenteus) of pure silver, and equal in weight to the Neronian denarius. The argenteus maintained its ground till 360 A.D., When it made way for a new system of silver coinage on the standard of the gold solidus. The copper coins bore the mark S.C. (Senatus Consulto), because issued by the senate. Under the Empire the following small coins were minted; the sestertius =4 asses; dupondius =2 asses, both of brass; the semis ( = 1/2 an as), and the quadrans =1/4 as, both of copper. These last were the smallest change. The quadrans went out of use as early as Trajan, at the beginning of the 2nd century A.D., the dupondius, as, and semis, in the middle, and the sestertius in the last half of the 3rd century, when Diocletian issued two new copper coins, one of which was called denarius.
CHALCUS 100.00%
A Greek silver coin equivalent to four drachmoe (see COINAGE).
A Roman silver coin current from the end of the 3rd century A.D. and onwards. See COINAGE.
NUMMUS 35.28%
A special name for the commonest coin at Rome, which generally served as the unit of reckoning, the sestertius (q.v., under COINAGE).
ART 34.20%
SOLIDUS 29.22%
A Roman gold coin, introduced by the emperor Constantine about 312 A.D., which remained in use until the downfall of the Byzantine empire; its weight was 1/79 lb., its value 12s. 8 1/2d. (See further Under COINAGE.)
STATER 27.54%
The silver stater is a term applied in later times to the Athenian tetradrachm, of four silver drachmoe (= 2s. 8d. in intrinsic value). (See COINAGE.
AUREUS 25.55%
A Roman coin of the imperial period, originally weighing 1/40 of a Roman pound, and worth from the time of Julius Caesar to Nero, 25 denarii, or 100 sestertii; from 23 to 20 shillings. (See COINAGE.)
DARICUS 21.52%
A gold Persian coin, bearing the stamp of a crowned archer, current in Greece down to the Macedonian period. It was equal in value to the Attic gold stater, i.e. according to the present value of gold, 24 shillings. [See COINAGE, fig. 3.]
OBOLUS 21.15%
A weight as well as a silver coin among the Greeks = 1/6 drachma; the Attic obolus amounted in intrinsic value to 1-3d (Cp. COINAGE.) The ancient used to put this coin in the mouths of the dead, as passage-money for Charon the ferryman in the lower world.
MINA 20.35%
An old Greek weight, and a sum of coined money equal to it, the sixtieth part of a talent, like which it varied in value. The weight of the mina (=100 drachmae) was 1 1/4 lb., and the intrinsic value of the Attic mina of silver was £3 6s. 8d. (Cp. COINAGE.)
DRACHMA 19.84%
A weight and coin 6 obols, = 1/100 of a mina or 1/6000 of a talent.Before the time of Solon it = 6·03 grs., or rather more than a shilling. After Solon it maintained the same value as a weight, but as a coin (the Attic dr.) it sank to 4·366 grs., about 8d. (See COINAGE.)
TALENT 18.47%
The Greek term for (1) the highest measure of weight; (2) the designation of a sum of money consisting of a number of coins originally equal to it in legal weight and value. It was divided into 60 minoe or 6,000 drachmoe. Among the different talents in use in Greece the most widely spread was the Attic, of which 1/6000th part (drachma) weighed 57 1/2 lbs. [The intrinsic value of the metal contained in this sum of money was about £200.] (See COINAGE.)
A Roman silver coin so called because it originally contained 10 asses. In later times it = 16 asses = 4 sestertii = 1/25 of an aureus. Its original weight was 4.55 gr. (= between 9d. and 10d.), from 207 B.C. to Nero, 3-90 (about 8½d.), af ter Nero's time 341 gr., the amount of pure silver being so reduced that it was worth only about 6d. Its value subsequently sank more and more, until at the beginning of the 3rd Century A.D. it was worth only 3½d. When at the end of the 3rd century Diocletian introduced a new silver coin of full value according to the Neronian standard (the so-called argenteus), the name denarius was transferred to a small copper coin (see COINAGE, ROMAN).
A coin, during the Republic of silver, under the Empire of copper, or more usually brass= ¼ denarius, originally 2 ½ asses (whence the name), later [i.e. after 217 B.C.] six asses. It was then worth 2-1d. Under the early Empire it was worth about 2-4d. After 209 B.C., when the Romans instituted a silver coinage, the copper as was suddenly reduced to 4 oz., and the sestertius (2 ½ x 4 oz.) became equivalent to one old as of 10 oz., instead of the original pound of 12 oz. It long continued to be used as the ordinary monetary unit. During the Republic and the first 300 years of the Empire, amounts were reckoned in sesterces. Owing to the common use of milia sestertium (for milia sestertiorum), it became customary to treat sestertium as a neuter singular, and to omit milia. Sestertium thus denotes a sum, of 1,000 sesterces= (at. 2-1d. per sesterce) £8 15s. A million sesterces (£C8,750) was called originally decies centena (lit. ten times one hundred thousand) sestertium, which was shortened to decies sestertium. 100,000 sesterces had thus become a customary unit for reckoning large sums of money. (Cp. COINAGE.)
AS 8.53%
In Latin, signifies any unit, which determines the value of fractional quantities in coins, weights and measures, or interest, inheritance and the like. The as was divided duodecimally into unciae. The names of its parts are: deunae 11/12, dex tans 5/6, dodrans 3/4, bes 2/3, septunae 7/12, semis ½, quincunae 6/12, triens 1/3, quadrans 1/4, sextans 1/6, sescuncia 1/8, uncia 1/12. In questions of inheritance, a sole heir was entitled heres ex asse, an heir to half the estate, heres ex semisse, and so on. As a coin, the copper as weighed a Roman pound (nominally 12, but practically only 10 unciae), and was worth, previously to B.C. 269, nearly 6d. In the year 217 it was reduced to 1 uncia, and in later times to ½ and ¼ uncia. In Cicero's time the as was = rather less than a halfpenny. Comp. COINAGE.
The collective name given at Rome to twenty-six officers of lower rank (magistrutus minores). They were divided into six different offices, and were originally nominated by the higher officers to be their assistants, but were subsequently chosen by the people at the comitia tributa, and it was by this appointment that they first became magistrates proper. The term included (1) Iudices decemviri (ten-men judges), or decemviri (st)litibus iudicandis (ten-men for the decision of disputed suits), originally named by the tribunes to inquire into those civil suits in which their assistance had been invoked in certain appeals from the decision of the consuls. Afterwards the decision of such cases was left to them by the consuls from the very commencement. In time their relations with the tribunes grew less close, and they became judicial magistrates, who were probably chosen in the comitia tributa, under the presidency of the proetor urbanus. Of their functions in detail, little more is known from the time of the Republic than that they decided actions for freedom, and that they made the arrangements for the trials heard before the court of the centumviri. This latter duty they lost in the last days of the Republic, but it was restored to them by Augustus. (2) Quattuorviri iuri dicundo (four men for pronouncing judgment), whose duty it was to pronounce judgment at law in the ten towns of Campania, like the proefecti iuri dicundo, who were nominated by the praetor in the other municipalities; they survived only till the time of Augustus. (3) Tresviri nocturni (three men for night-service), originally servants of the consuls, who were responsible for the peace and safety of Rome by night, especially in respect of danger by fire. When to this duty was added that of investigating criminal charges, they became regular magistrates under the title tresviri capitales. In this capacity they had. to track out escaped criminals, to examine prisoners under the authorization of the higher magistrates, to inspect the public, prison, and to superintend the carrying out of capital sentences and of corporal punishments. Hence prison-warders and executioners were placed under them. Under the Empire it was also their duty to burn offensive books. 1 (4) Tresviri monetales (three men for the mint), who had, under the Republic, the superintendence of the coinage of gold and silver, under the Empire that of the copper currency only. (5) Quattuorviri viis in urbe purgandis (four men for cleansing the streers in the city). And (6) Duoviri viis extra urbem purgandis (two for cleansing the streets outside the city), who were under the direction of the aediles. Under Augustus the duoviri last named disappeared as well as the quattuorviri iuri dicundo, and the collective name for the under - magistrates became vigintiviri (twenty men). These were chosen from the knights, and the office of the vigintivirate served as the preliminary step to the quaestorship.
i.e. sons of Zeus, the horsetamer Castor, and Polydeuces (Lat. Pollux) the master of the art of boxing. In Homer they are represented as the sons of Leda and Tyndareos, and called in consequence Tyndaridae, as dying in the time between the rape of Helen and the Trojan War, and as buried in their father-city Lacedaemon. But even under the earth they were alive. Honoured of Zeus, they live and die on alternate days and enjoy the prerogatives of godhead. In the later story sometimes both, sometimes only Polydeuces is the descendant of Zeus. (See LEDA.) They undertake an expedition to Attica, where they set free their sister Helena, whom Theseus has carried off. They take part in the expedition of the Argonauts. (See AMYCUS.) Castor, who had been born mortal, falls in a contest with Idas and Lynceus, the sons of their paternal uncle Aphareus. The fight arose, according to one version, in a quarrel over some cattle which they had carried off; according to another, it was about the rape of two daughters of another uncle Leucippus, Phoebe and Hilaira, who were betrothed to the sons of Aphareus. On his brother's death Polydeuces, the immortal son of Zeus, prays his father to let him die too. Zeus permits him to spend alternately one day among the gods his peers, the other in the lower world with his beloved brother. According to another story Zeus, in reward for their brotherly love, sets them in the sky as the constellation of the Twins, or the morning and evening star. They are the ideal types of bravery and dexterity in fight. Thus they are the tutelary gods of warlike youth, often sharing in their contests, and honoured as the inventors of military dances and melodies. The ancient symbol of the twin gods at Lacedaemon was two parallel beams, joined by cross-pieces, which the Spartans took with them into war. They were worshipped at Sparta and Olympia with Heracles and other heroes. At Athen too they were honoured as gods under the name of Anakes (Lords Protectors). At sea, as in war, they lend their aid to men. The storm-tossed mariner sees the sign of their beneficent presence in the flame at the mast-head. He prays, and vows to them the sacrifice of a white lamb, and the storm soon ceases. (See HELENA.) The rites of hospitality are also under their protection. They are generally represented with their horses Xanthus and Cyllarus, as in the celebrated colossal group of Monte Cavallo in Rome. Their characteristic emblem is an oval helmet crowned with a star. The worship of Castor and Pollux was from early times current among the tribes of Italy. They enjoyed especial honours in Tusculum and Rome. In the latter city a considerable temple was built to them near the Forum (414 B.C.) in gratitude for their appearance and assistance at the battle of the Lake Regillus twelve years before. In this building, generally called simply the temple of Castor, the senate of ten held its sittings. It was in their honour, too, that the solemn review of the Roman equites was held on the 15th July. The names of Castor and Pollux, like that of Hercules, were often in use as familiar expletives, but the name of Castor was invoked by women only. They were worshipped as gods of the sea, particularly in Ostia, the harbour town of Rome. Their image is to be seen stamped on the reverse of the oldest Roman silver coins. (See COINAGE.)
At the time of Solon the Athenian State was almost falling to pieces in consequence of dissensions between the parties into which the population was divided. Of these the Diacrii, the inhabitants of the northern mountainous region of Attica, the poorest and most oppressed section of the population, demanded that the privileges of the nobility, which had till then obtained, should be utterly set aside. Another party, prepared to be contented by moderate concessions, was composed of the Parali, the inhabitants of the stretch of coast called Paralia. The third was formed by the nobles, called Pedieis or Pediaci, because their property lay for the most part in the pedion, the level and most fruitful part of the country. Solon, who enjoyed the confidence of all parties on account of his tried insight and sound judgment, was chosen archon by a compromise, with full power to put an end to the difficulties, and to restore peace by means of legislation. One of the primary measures of Solon was the Seisachtheia (disburdening ordinance). This gave an immediate relief by cancelling all debts, public and private. At the same time he made it illegal for the future to secure debts upon the person of the debtor (Aristotle, Constitution of Athens, 6]. He also altered the standard of coinage [and of weights and measures, by introducing the Euboic standard in place of the Pheidonian or Aeginetan, ib. 10]. 100 new drachmae were thus made to contain the same amount of silver as 73 old drachmae. He further instituted a timocracy (q.v.), by which the exclusive rights which the nobles had till then possessed were set aside, and those who did not belong to the nobility received a share in the rights of citizens, according to a scale determined by their property and their corresponaing services to the State. For this purpose he divided the population into four classes, founded on the possession of land. (1) Pentacosiomedimni, who had at least 500 medimni (750 bushels) of corn or metretoe of wine or oil as yearly income. (2) Hippeis, or knights, with at least 300 medimni. (3) Zeugitoe (possessors of a yoke of oxen), with at least 150 medimni. (4) Thetes (workers for wages), with less than 150 medimni of yearly income. Solon's legislation only granted to the first three of these four classes a vote in the election of responsible officers, and only to the first class the power of election to the highest offices; as, for instance, that of archon. The fourth class was excluded from all official positions, but possessed the right of voting in the general public assemblies which chose officials and passed laws. They bad also the right of taking part in the trials by jury which Solon had instituted. The first three classes were bound to serve as hoplites; the cavalry was raised out of the first two, while the fourth class was only employed as light-armed troops or on the fleet, and apparently for pay. The others served without pay. The holders of office in the State were also unpaid. Solon established as the chief consultative body the Council of the Four Hundred (see BOULE), in which only the first three classes took part, and as chief administrative body the Areopagus (q.v.) which was to be filled up by those who had been archons. Besides this, he promulgated a code of laws embracing the whole of public and private life, the salutary effects of which lasted long after the end of his constitution. [According to Aristotle's Constitution of Athens, 4, a Council of 401 members was part of Dracon's constitution (about 621 B.C.). The members were selected by lot from the whole body of citizens. Solon (who was archon in 594) reduced the Council to 400, one hundred from each of the four tribes; and extended in some particulars the powers already possessed by the Areopagus, (ib. 8).]
Type: Standard
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