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Sestertius

(698 words)

Author(s): Klose, Dietrich (Munich)
[German version] 'Sesterce', Roman coin, abbreviated from semistertius = 'third half' = 2 1/2 asses (Varro Ling. 5,173; Volusius Maecianus 46; Prisc. De figuris numerorum 17 f.; Vitr. De arch. 3,1,42). The sestertius was introduced around 214-211 BC together with the denarius, as one quarter of the latter, which weighed 1/72 of a Roman pound and was equivalent to 10 asses in the sextantal standard, which was introduced at the same time. The sestertius was minted as a small silver coin at 1/288 of a pound = 1 scripulum . The images correspond to the denarius and …

Libella

(98 words)

Author(s): Stumpf, Gerd (Munich)
[German version] Diminutive of libra , ‘little pound’. Like the Sicilian litra , it denotes a tenth of a silver unit, from the early 2nd cent. BC the as as a tenth of the denarius and then of the sestertius . The term libella was only used in small-change calculations. Libella was used for any small coin or, in the phrase heres ex libella (Cic. Att. 7,2,3), the heir of a tenth share. Stumpf, Gerd (Munich) Bibliography M. Crawford, Coinage and Money under the Roman Republic. Italy and the Mediterranean Economy, 1985, 147f. Schrötter, s.v. L., 352.

Quadrussis

(145 words)

Author(s): Klose, Dietrich (Munich)
[German version] Value of 4 asses (As), a term conjectured in modernity but long since rejected; ancient quattussis, quadrassis; from the 1st cent. AD on, in inscriptions as quattus, quadtus for price indications (CIL IV 1679; VIII 25902, III 19; XI 5717). Whether there was a coin of that value is questionable; it would correspond to a sestertius. At best, the sesterces of Marcus Antonius' [I 9] naval prefect could be described as quadrusses because of the value indicator Δ (=4) used in addition to HS for sesterce. Indicati…

Terruncius

(133 words)

(from tres and uncia). Unit of 3 unciae , in the duodecimal system 1/4 of a Roman pound or as , probably older than the quadrans (Plin. HN 33,45;  cf. Varro Ling. 5,174). Coin in the Roman and Italian aes grave with a value indicator of 3 balls. In modern scholarship t. is used as a term for the three- uncia unit in decimal as-systems ( aes grave in Apulia, Umbria). T. in the sense of 'small sum': Plaut. Capt. 477; Cic. Att. 6,2,4; Cic. Fin. 4,29; Cic. Fam. 2,17,4. In accounting t. = 1/4 of a libella , i.e. at first 1/40 denarius , then 1/40 sestertius . Bibliography H. Chantraine, Bemerkungen zum ältes…

Quartuncia standard

(184 words)

Author(s): Klose, Dietrich (Munich)
[German version] Lowest fractional level of Roman bronze coinage, with an as of just 1/4 ounce (Uncia) = c. 6.8 g, first used in the middle of the 1st cent. BC in the bronze coins of the quaestors in Sicily, as well as in Paestum and Regium and elsewhere. However, these fractions need not always have been official. The heavy brass coinage of the fleet prefects of Marcus Antonius [I 9] can only loosely be connected to the QS [1. 86 f.; 3. 88, n. 114]. The QS can also be assumed for some local coinage in the Greek …

Tressis

(134 words)

Author(s): Klose, Dietrich (Munich)
[German version] Roman coin of value 3 asses (As) (from tres and as: Varro Ling. 5,169); as a cast coin with value indication III in the libral Roma-wheel series of aes grave (mid-3rd cent. BC [2. no. 24/1]) and in the post-semilibral Janus-prora series ( c. 215-212 BC [2. no. 41/3a]); 36-35 BC as minted coins with value indication Γ in the issues of Marcus Antonius [I 9]'s naval prefect from Sicily ( Sestertius ) and, usually without value indication, as a locally minted triassarion in the eastern parts of the Empire in the Imperial period (As). Coins from Vienna, Lugdu…

Nummus

(300 words)

Author(s): Klose, Dietrich (Munich)
[German version] Latin form of the Greek nómos ([2. vol. 2, 247], cf. Varro, Ling. 5, 173), later translated back again as the Greek noúmmos; originally it was the general word for ‘coin’ ( n. argenteus, n. aureus, cf. Varro, Ling. 4,36; habere in nummis: ‘to have it in cash’); the abbreviation N. = nummus, a heavy bronze coin from Teate and Venusia in Apulia (3rd cent. BC). Then N. mostly = sestertius, often abbreviated to N., at first with the addition ( n. sestertius, see ILS 7313; 8302) and later without, Greek noúmmos ( nomos ). The Greek noúmmos and nummus were also the other names for the…

Assarion

(280 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (ἀσσάριον; assárion). Greek term for the Latin as [4], with 16 assaria corresponding to 1 denarius [2. 32]; attested epigraphically and from stamps. In the course of the Imperial period and until the cessation of bronze coining in c. AD 275 the bronze assarion develops alongside the chalkos and the obolos to become the most important coin of the Greek East, meeting the need for small coinage in that region. Conversion of the three bronze denominations was variously implemented; in Chios for example 1 obolos = 2 assaria = 8 chalkoi [1. 192, n. 8]. There are denominations of 1/…

Brass

(746 words)

Author(s): Riederer, Josef (Berlin)
[German version] I. Definition Brass (ἑρυθρὸς χαλκός/ erythròs chalkós, ‘red ore’, ὀρείχαλκος/ oreíchalkos; Lat. orichalcum) is an alloy of  copper and zinc. As the percentage of zinc in ancient brass varied greatly (between 1-28%), modern literature includes information on whether the brass in question had a low (1-5%), medium (5-10%), high (10-20%) or very high (above 20%) zinc content. Since metalworkers in antiquity used copper alloys which in addition to zinc, contained  tin and  lead in addition to zinc…

Paduans

(189 words)

Author(s): Klose, Dietrich (Munich)
[German version] Paduans were imitations of large Roman bronze coins (sestertia and medaillons), dating from the 16th cent. AD. Padua was one of the manufacturing centres, hence their name . Some are exact copies, others variations from the original and others completely made-up (e.g. sestertia of Otho). The best known paduans are those by the Paduan goldsmith and medallist Giovanni Cavino (1500-1570). Fifty four of his coin punches are preserved in the Cabinet des Médailles in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris [4.111-124]. It has been a matter of debate since Cavino’s …

Contorniati

(300 words)

Author(s): Stumpf, Gerd (Munich)
[German version] Modern technical term for antique medallions, minted or cast mainly in the Rome mint but possibly in private workshops also, with a highly beaten edge (Italian contorno) and a deep-cut groove, mostly of brass, less commonly from bronze, with an average diameter of 40 mm. The symbols on the reverse, frequently a palm branch and the monogram PE [2. Part 2, 242-306], are for the most part engraved later, sometimes inserted with silver in niello technique. C. date to the 4th and 5th cents. AD [2. Part 2, 7ff.; 4]. On the obverse of the contorniati are to be found the likene…

Scripulum

(258 words)

Author(s): Klose, Dietrich (Munich)
[German version] (also scrupulum, 'little stone', from scrupus; Greek γράμμα/ grámma, cf. English 'scruple'). Roman unit of weight of 1/24 uncia = 1/288 libra [1] ('pound') = 1·137 g. The scripulum is probably the unit used for a number of central-Italian and Etruscan gold and silver coins. In Rome, the quadrigatus , the gold oath-scene coins which accompanied it and the earliest denarius with the associated Mars/eagle gold issue were based on the scripulum. The quadrigatus corresponded to 6 scripula, the denarius to 4, and the sestertius to 1 scripulum. Because of the popularity o…

Denarius

(630 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] Standard Roman silver coin, worth 10 asses ─ hence the ancient term ‘tenner’ ─, later 16 asses. Named δηνάριον ( dēnárion) in Greek. After the breakdown of the gold system during the Second Punic War, the denarius was introduced between 214 and 211 BC, together with the fractional pieces quinarius (1/2 denarius) and sestertius (1/4 denarius), as the new prime monetary unit (with a value marking of X or ) to replace the quadrigatus. With a weight of 4 scrupula ( c. 4.55 gm = 1/72 of a Roman pound of 327.45 gm) the denarius corresponded to 10 sextantal asses and departed from …

Senatus consultum

(910 words)

Author(s): Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne) | Klose, Dietrich (Munich)
[German version] [1] A formal resolution of the Roman Senate (SC; sometimes senatus sententia: ILS 18; 35a; 8208; informally also senatus decretum, e.g. Cic. Mil. 87; Cic. Sest. 32, or in archaic form senati decretum: Sall. Cat. 30,3 and passim). The formal resolution by which the Roman Senate pronounced advice or instructions at the request ( consulere) of magistrates; while not binding legally, it was in practice: in the Imperial Period, to some extent it even acquired force of law (Gai. Inst. 1,4; Pompon. Dig. 1,2,12; cf. [3. 432]). An SC that was…

Uncia

(537 words)

Author(s): Stumpf, Gerd (Munich)
[German version] (Greek-Siculan ὀγκία/ onkía; cognate to unus: Varro Ling. 5,171, in the sense of 'unit'). 1/12 of the twelve-part whole, the as , as a unit of (1) measurement (length, area, capacity, time) (2) weight and (3) coinage. (1) Unit of measurement of a) Length: 1 uncia = 1/12 of the pes = 24.67 mm of the pes Romanus, defined as an as [1. 654 f.]. By contrast, in the system of the Oscan foot, still used in Italy until the Imperial age, 1  uncia = ca. 23 mm [1. 658]. b) Area: 1 uncia = 1/12 of the iugerum representing the as (= 2400 square foot = 210.3 m2 [1. 658 f.]). c) Capacity measure: 1 un…

Value, marks of

(672 words)

Author(s): Leschhorn, Wolfgang (Erlangen)
[German version] Marks of value are rare on Greek coins, as the various denominations were commonly differentiated not only by type of metal, size and weight, but mostly by different images on the coins. Only occasionally does one find explicit indications or designations of values in the form of abbreviations comprising the first letter or letters of the denomination (e.g. Ο for obolos : Metapontum, 5th cent. BC [1. no. 1503]; Δ for dióbolos: Corinth, 5th cent. BC; cf. the index in [2]). Marks of value without any indication of denomination are more frequently found in Ital…

Aure­us

(927 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] Gold coins; infrequent in republican Rome in contrast to the Hellenistic Kingdoms; used to supplement (cf. Liv. 27,10,11f.) the minting of silver coins when necessary. The first gold coins, which are known as oath scene stater [4. 144 fig. 28/1; 145 fig. 29/1] -- the sacrifice of a piglet depicted on the reverse refers to the conclusion of a treaty -- are generally assumed to have been minted in 216 BC. Another interpretation,   Au  Gq  De  Sq   S Du  As  Se  Qu Au       1     2   25   50 100 200 400 800 1600 Gq       2     1 121/2   25   50 100 200 400   800 De     25 121/2     1   …

Coins, debasement of

(1,083 words)

Author(s): von Kaenel, Hans-Markus (Frankfurt/Main)
[German version] ‘Debasement of of coins’ refers to the manipulation of the valid coinage standard by the minting authority, usually the reduction of the precious metal content or quality and/or overall weight (gross weight) of a coin.Thus, debasement of coins meant that, from a certain amount of precious metal, a larger number of coins was minted than was provided for by the coinage standard. Debasement of coins is to be distinguished from  counterfeiting of coins and from short-term monetary emergency measures (cf. for example Ps.-Aristot. Oec. 2,2,16, 134…

Wages

(1,443 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Andreau, Jean (Paris) | Kuchenbuch, Ludolf (Hagen)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East There is evidence of wages as recompense for work done by labourers hired for limited periods in Mesopotamia from the mid 3rd millennium BC to the late Babylonian period (2nd half of 1st millennium BC), in Hittite Anatolia (2nd half of 2nd millennium BC) and in Egypt (from the Old Kingdom on). In Mesopotamia, the institutional households (Palace; Temple) of the Ur III period in particular (21st cent. BC) supplemented their own labour force (which received rations …

Nomos

(2,285 words)

Author(s): Siewert, Peter (Vienna) | Ameling, Walter (Jena) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin) | Robbins, Emmet (Toronto) | Klose, Dietrich (Munich)
[German version] [1] Nomos, nomoi (ὁ νόμος/ ho nómos, pl. οἱ νόμοι/ hoi nómoi). Siewert, Peter (Vienna) [German version] A. General In Greek, nómos (pl. nómoi) refers to customary conduct or a behavioural norm observed by members of a community; depending on the context it can be translated with ‘custom’, ‘habit’, ‘practice’, ‘rule’, ‘order’, ‘institution’, ‘constitution’, ‘law’ etc. (cf. [1. 20-54; 2. 14-19]). The size of the communities where a nómos applied could vary considerably: from married couples and families to cult and settlement communities, from cit…
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