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NUMMUS.

ancient copper money of Rome. (See Eckhel, L c. p. xv.) Another test of a medal is its being of an unusual or very elaborate device or workman­ship. Respecting the occasions on which medals appear to have been struck, see Eckhel, L c. pp. xvi—xviii.

V. Tests of .the genuineness of ancient Coins. — As this work is intended for the general classical student, and makes no pretension to be a perfectly adequate guide for the special study of each branch of antiquity, and as this branch of numismatic science, although of primary importance for one who wishes to examine the ancient coins them­selves, is yet one of the most intricate, and is com­paratively unimportant for the mere explanation of the Greek and Roman writers, it must suffice to refer to the chief writers, quoted at the end of this article, with only the observation that the abun­dance of ancient false money and modern forged coins is one chief cause of the great difficulties of the subject.

VI. History of Greek and Roman Coins. — It has already been observed that the general defini­tion of money is a certain weight of metal of a certain value, that is, of a certain fineness ; the weight and the fineness being attested by a stamp upon the coin. The latter condition was not in­troduced until the first had long been acted upon ; and, on the other hand, there are many occasions on which the stamp upon a coin is altogether neg­lected, and it passes current merely according to its real weight and fineness : one interesting example of this has been noticed under As, p. 140. The primitive stage in the invention of money is illus­trated by various passages in the historical books of the Old Testament, and in Homer. Coined money is never once mentioned in the Homeric poems ; but the instrument of all the traffic re­ferred to in them is either simple barter, or quan­tities of gold, silver, and copper. Gold alone is referred to as measured by a definite weight, the tcl\o.vtov, which in Homer appears to be quite a different quantity from the common talent of the historical period. This word was originally a generic term for weight, and signified a pair of scales, and any tiling weighed out, as well as a defi­nite weight. The same is true of the Latin word libra: the original meaning of the equivalent word as was merely unity, or a unit, whether of weight or of anything else. The other principal Greek word, fJiva, which is later than the Homeric poems, is, undoubtedly, of Oriental origin, and probably means anything divided, apportioned, or deter­mined, akin to the Hebrew maneh, and to fJivoLo^ai, monere, moneta, &c. These words concur with all the other information we have upon the subject, and with the very necessity of the case, to prove that every system of money is founded upon a pre­viously existing system of iveight. It is, however, of the utmost importance to observe, that a word denoting a certain weight does not, of necessit}r, when applied to money, indicate a quantity of metal of the same weight. For, first, the word talent or pound may be applied to an equivalent value of gold, silver, or copper, although, in weight, its meaning must be restricted to one of these metals: secondly, there may be, in the formation of a monetary system, an intentional deviation from the existing standard of weight, while the names of that standard are preserved : and, lastly, the progressive deterioration, to which history informs

NUMMUS.

us that most coinages have been subjected, destroys the meaning of the terms of weight, which are still applied to the coins. Examples of the first cause of disagreement occur of necessity in every monetary system which contains more than one metal ; of the second, an interesting illustration will be found in the Attic weights and money ; and of the third, we have a striking instance in the progressive diminution of the Roman as. [As.] Still, however, where we have no historical evi­dence of such discrepancies between the weights and monies of a people, especially in early periods, we assume their correspondence. If we did not, the attempt to reconstruct any ancient system of weight and money, and to express it in terms of our own, would be hopeless, as there would be no basis whatever for the investigation. Unless then we know anything to the contrary, we assume a talent of money to mean a talenfs iveigJd of the metal, which was chiefly used for money, namely, among the Greeks, silver ; and, conversely, that the weight of the silver coins, which make up the value of a talent, gives us the amount of talent-

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In order that what follows may be better un­derstood, we give here the chief denominations of weight and money among the Greeks and Romans. Among all the Greeks, the unit was the talent, which was thus divided (comp. pondera and the tables): —

1 Talent* contained 60 Minae.* 1 Mina „ 100 Drachmae. 1 Drachma „ 6 Oboli. In this system we have a combination of the deci­ mal and duodecimal systems.

Among the Romans, the unit of weight and money was the As or libra, which was divided on the duodecimal system, its twelfth part being called uncia, and the intermediate parts being named according to the number of unciae they con­tained, or according to the fractional part of the As which each was. In some parts of Italy, how­ever, (namel}7", Central Italy, north of the Apen­nines,) the decimal division of the As was used, the uncia being its tenth part. (Comp. As, pon­dera, uncia, and the Tables.)

i. History of Greek Money. — The invention of coined money among the Greeks is ascribed by tradition to two sources, not to mention the merely

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mythical stories of its origin (Pollux, ix. 83). Ac­cording to one account, the Lydians were the first of mankind Avho coined and used gold and silver money (Herod, i. 94 ; Xenoph. ap. Poll. I. c.). The other aud prevailing tradition is, that Pheidon, king of Argos, first coined both copper and silver money at Aegina, and first established a system of weights and measures. (Herod, vi. 127 ; Ephor. ap. Strab. viii. p. 376 ; A el. V. H. xii. 10 ; Poll. 1. c.; Mann. Par. 45, 46 ; Grote, History of Greece, vol. ii. p. 424 : the date of Pheidon, according to the Parian Marble, is b.c. 895 ; but Grote, Clinton, Bockh, and Miiller all agree in placing him about the middle of the eighth century, between 783 or 770 and 744 or 730, b. c. ; see Grote, /. c, p. 419.) These traditions are not altogether in­consistent ; only we must understand the former as implying nothing more than that a system of money existed in Asia Minor in very early times ;

* These were not coined, but were monies of account. '

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