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AS.

(Virg. Gcorg. i. 338.) This ceremony was also called a lustratio (Yhg. Eel. v. 83), or purification ; and for a beautiful description of the holiday, and the prayers and vows made on the occasion, the reader is referred to Tibullus (ii. 1). It is, perhaps, worth while to remark that Polybius (iv. 21. § 9) uses language almost applicable to the Roman am-barvalia in speaking of the Mantineans, who, he says (specifying the occasion), made a purification, and carried victims round the city, and all the country.

There is, however, a' still greater resemblance to the rites we have been describing, in the cere­ monies of the rogation or gang week of the Latin church. These consisted of processions through the fields, accompanied with prayers (jogationes) for a blessing on the fruits of the earth, and were continued during three days in Whitsun-week. The custom was abolished at the Reformation in consequence of its a.buse, and the perambulation of the parish boundaries substituted in its place. (Hooker, Eccl. Pol. v. 61. 2 ; Wheatley, Com. Pray. v. 20.) [R. W.]

ARX (cttfpa), signified a height within the walls of a city, but which was never closed by a wall against the city in earlier times, and very seldom in later times. The same city may have had several arces, as was the case at Rome; and hence Virgil says with great propriety (Georg. ii. 535):—

" Septemque una sibi muro circumdedit arces."

As, however, there was generally one principal height in the city, the word arx came to be used as equivalent to acropolis [acropolis]. (Niebuhr, Hist of Rome, vol. iii. note 411.) At Rome, one of the summits of the Capitoline hill was specially called Arse, but which of them was so called has been a subject of great dispute among Roman topo­graphers. The opinion of the best modern writers is, that the Capitolium was on the northern summit, and the Arse on the southern. The Arx was the regular place at Rome for taking the auspices, and was hence likewise called auguraculum, according to Paulus Diaconus, though it is more probable that the Auguraculum was a place in the Arx. (Liv. i. 18, x. 7; Paul. Diac. s. v. Auguraculum; Becker, Romisch. Alterth. vol. i. p. 386, &c., vol. ii. part i. p. 313.)

AS, or Libra, a pound, the unit of weight among the Romans. [libra.]

AS, the earliest denomination of money, and the constant unit of value, in the Roman and old Italian coinages, was made of the mixed metal called aes. Like other denominations of money, it no doubt originally signified a pound weight of copper uncoined: this is expressly stated by Ti-maeus, who ascribes the first coinage of aes to Servius Tullius. (Plin. H. 2V. xxxiii. 3. s. 13, xviii. 3 ; Varro, De Re Rust. ii. 1 ; Ovid. Fast. v. 281.) According to some accounts, it was coined from the commencement of the city (Pirn; H. N. xxxiv. 1), or from the time of Numa (Epiph. Mens. et Pond.; Isidor. Etym. xvi. 18) ; and ac­cording to others, the first coinage was attributed to Janus or Saturn. (Macrob. Saturn, i. 7.) This mythical statement in fact signifies, what we know also on historical evidence, that the old states of Etmria, and of Central Italy, possessed a bronze or copper coinage from the earliest times. On the other hand, those of Southern Italy, and the coast, as far as Campania, made use of silver money. The Roman monetary system was pro-

AS.

bably derived from Etruria. (Niebuhr, ffisi. of Rome, vol. i. p. 457, 3d ed. ; Abeken, Mitte^ Italien, pp. 284, 326.)

The earliest copper coins were not struck,but cast in a mould. [forma.] In the collection of coins at the British Museum there are four ases joined to­gether, as they were taken from the mould in which many were cast at once. In most ases the edge shows where they were severed from each other.

Under the Roman empire, the right of coining silver and gold belonged only to the emperors ; but the copper coinage was left to the aerarium, which was under the jurisdiction of the senate. [Comp. nummus ; monet a.]

The as was originally of the weight of a pound of twelve ounces, whence it was called as libralis in contradistinction to the reduced ases which have now to be spoken of, and \vhich give rise to one of the most perplexing questions in the whole range of archaeology.

Pliny (H. N. xxxiii. 3. s. 13) informs us that in the time of the first Punic war (b. c. 264—241), in order to meet the expenses of the state, the full weight of a pound was diminished, and ases were struck of the same weight as the sextans (that is, two ounces, or one sixth of the ancient Aveight) ; and that thus the republic paid off its debts, gaining five parts in six : that afterwards, in the second Punic war, in the dictatorship of Q. Fabius Maxi-mus (about b.c. 217), ases of one ounce were made, and the denarius was decreed to be equal to sixteen ases, the republic thus gaming one half ; but that in .military pay the denarius was always given for ten ases : and that soon after, by the Papirian law (about b.c. 191), ases of half an ounce were made. Festus also (s. v. Seoctantarii Asses) mentions the reduction of the as to two ounces at the time of the first Punic war. There seem to have been other reductions besides those mentioned by Pliny, for there exist ases, and parts of ases, which show that this coin was made of every number of ounces from twelve down to one, besides intermediate fractions ; and there are cop­per coins of the Terentian family which show that it was depressed to ^ and even ± of its original weight. Though some of these standards may be rejected as accidental, yet on the whole they clearly prove, as Niebuhr observes (Hist, of Rome, vol. i. p. 461), that there must have been several re­ductions before the first which Pliny mentions. Niebuhr maintains further, that these various standards prove that Pliny's account of the reduc­tions of the coin is entirely incorrect, and that these reductions took place gradually from a very early period, and were caused by a rise in the value of copper in comparison with silver, so that the denarius was in the first Punic war really equal in value to only twenty ounces of copper, and in the second Punic war to sixteen ounces, in­stead of 120, which was its nominal value. He admits, however, that the times when these reduc­tions were resolved upon were chiefly those when the state was desirous of relieving the debtors ; and thinks that we might assign, with tolerable accuracy, the periods when these reductions took place. On the other hand, Bockh argues that there is no proof of any such increase in the value of copper, and on this and many other grounds his conclusion is, that all the reductions of the weight of the as, from a pound down to two ounces, took place during the first Punic war, and that they

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