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piov\ from v6/jLos, because it was a medium of exchange established by custom and law,, current coin (Demosth. adv. Timocr. p. 805 ; Aristoph. Nub. 246 ; Aristot. Eth. v. 8). These last terms, num-mus and numisma, were transferred into the Latin language through the Greeks of Sicily and southern Italy, who applied the word v6uos (or, as it is also written, vovuuos), not only to money in general, but specifically to the chief silver coin of their system ; and thus, in Latin, the word is used both in the specific sense, as equivalent to sestertius [sestertius], and in the generic meaning of any sort of money. (Varro, L. L. v. 37. § 173, ed. M tiller ; Pollux, ix. 79 ; Miiller, Etrusk. vol. i. p. 315 ; Bockh, Metrol. Untersucft. p. 310 ; Eckhel, Prolegom. General, c. 1 ; and the Greek and Latin Lexicons.) Some writers give the ridiculous derivation of numus from Nurna, who, they say, first coined money : here the process has been, first, to fancy the connection of the words, and then to invent the fact to account for it. (Suid. s. v. 'Acr-q-dpia ; Isid. Orig. xvi. 17.) The word moneta, from which, through the French, we get our word money, was a surname of Juno, in whose temple the standards of weight, measure, and money were preserved : the epithet itself seems to correspond in meaning and derivation (from moneo) to the name of the Greek deity mj^/aoo-w/ij. [moneta.]
II. Origin of Money. — Aristotle (Polit. i. 3) defines vofjucr^a as ffrotxeiov ical irepas rys a\-7^ayr\<s, and traces its invention to the early felt necessity of a common medium of exchange, to obviate the inconveniences of barter. At first, he tells us, it consisted of masses of metal and other convenient substance, determined by size and weight, and, lastly, with marks stamped upon them, to save the trouble of always weighing them. It is unnecessary to quote other authorities in confirmation of this statement. (Eckhel, Prolog, c. 2.) The things which arc essential to money ar<^the material and the stamp—the former giving it the reality of value, the latter its assurance. In the early state of commerce, described in the Homeric poems and other ancient works, when the transfer of commodities was effected by means of quantities of unstamped gold, silver, or copper, which were determined by weight, money, properly speaking, did not exist. On the other hand, a mere stamp, on a material of little intrinsic value, does not make it money, but a mere token of credit, which is sometimes loosely and inaccurately called money. This sort of so-called money was sometimes, though rarely, employed by the ancients, and that chiefly by the barbarous nations ; the civilised states preferred the subterfuge of debasing their coinage to any attempt to introduce the element of credit avowedly into their monetary system. They had nothing like our paper money or bills of exchange.
III. Materials of ancient Money. — The conditions which any material used for money must of necessity answer are obviously the following: — it must exist in sufficient abundance ; it must be of intrinsic, that is, universally acknowledged value, and, as nearly as possible, of uniform value ; it must be capable of resisting wear and corrosion ; it must be portable, easily divisible, and not difficult to work into those sizes and to mark with those stamps, which determine and certify its quantity and quality. These conditions are best fulfilled by the metals gold, silver, and copper,
which therefore have formed, either separately or in combination with each other, the materials of nearly every system of money which has ever existed. The history of their use by the Greeks and Romans will be noticed presently ; but it is necessary first to say a few words respecting some other substances, which were anciently employed for money.
Iron was used by the Lacedaemonians and B}r-zantines, probably on account of the abundance of the metal in Laconia and on the shores of the Euxine. (Pollux vii. 106 ; besides numerous other testimonies.) Aristotle, who in the passage already quoted, mentions iron and silver as examples of the materials of money, tells us elsewhere (Oecon. ii. 2) that the people of Clazomenae had iron money ; and there are some obscure testimonies respecting the use of iron money in the earliest age of Rome (Suid. s. v. 5Acr<r<x/>ja). Not a specimen of iron money is now extant, a fact easily accounted for by the liability of the metal to rust. (Eckhel, Proleg. 6.)
Tin was coined by Dionysius at Syracuse (Aristot. Oecon. ii. 2 ; Pollux, ix. 79) ; but this is the only notice of such money, except a law in the Digest, which refers merely to spurious coins. (48. tit. 10.) No specimens are extant. (See further, Eckhel, I. c.)
Leaden money is not unfrequently mentioned by the poets, and not a few coins or medals of it are preserved ; but it is doubtful whether they were true money. (Eckhel, Lc.}
Leather, wood, and shells are also referred to as materials of money ; but such monies could only have been tokens, not true coin. Leather money is said to have been used by the Carthaginians, Spartans, and Romans. (Eckhel, L c.)
IV. Distinction betiveen ancient Money and Medals. — It is no longer necessary to examine the paradoxical assertion of Sebastian Erizzo, that all the ancient coins which have come down to us are mere medals, and were never current money. (See Eckhel, Proleg. c. 5.) But the question is very important, whether any among them were mere medals, and if so, how they are to be distinguished from the coins which were used as money. This question is fully discussed by Eckhel (/. c.), who lays down the following as the chief criteria for distinguishing between them.
When we find a continuous^series of coins, having the same, or nearly the same weight, stamp, and style of workmanship (allowing for the decline or improvement of the art) ; or when we find a multitude of specimens of the same coins, and that too in different places ; when the stamp upon a coin expresses its weight or its denomination ; in these cases there can be no doubt that the coins, if genuine, were real money. These tests are answered by the general series of Roman copper, silver, and gold coins ; by most of those of the Greek states ; by the gold and silver coins of Philip, Alexander, and his successors ; and by the cistop/tori of proconsular Asia. On the other hand, those appear to be medals, and not coins, which very much exceed in size the ordinary coins, such as the celebrated and beautiful gold medals of JLysimachus, many gold medals of the Roman Empire, and some silver medals which occur only under the later emperors. The question of the copper or bronze medals is more difficult to decide by this test, on account of the large size of the