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sextans (sexto-), a sixth
i sescuncia (sesqvi-uncia), one and a half ounce š

uncia, an ounce
semuncia, a half-ounce

or £ sicilicus, a Sicilian farthing

ao sextula, a little sixth Of the above the sicilicus was not used till imperial times. The scriptulun or scripulum (ypáupa) was also used for th of the uncia, =z5g as. The fraction as was denoted by binæ sextulæ, or duella; ha as by dimidia sextula, or duo scripula.

The above-named parts of the as were used (as has been said) as mere duodecimal fractions, applicable without any specific concrete meaning to any unit. See below, p. 449.

Though this system had its origin at the time when money was copper, taken by weight, it survived several changes in the monetary system. It has been mentioned that when silver money was first coined the denarius was the unit, and equal to 10 asses; the sestertius to 2-asses.

Each of these asses was called libella. The half of a libella was called sembella (Varr.) or singula (Mæc.); the half of the sembella or quarter of the libella was called teruncius. Pre.. sently the denarius was made equivalent to 16 asses, and the sestertius to 4 asses.

Now in money accounts the denarius (of 16 asses) was sometimes taken as the unit; at other times the sestertius (of 4 asses). The "odd pence" (æs excurrens) required to be noted in each case. The as and each number of asses up to the denarius, the half-as and each number of half asses up to the sestertius, required a sign. For the odd pence,' when the denarius was the unit, the old duodecimal system was applied, and the sixteenths were expressed by twelfths, and combinations of twelfths, half-twelfths, and quartertwelfths. For the odd pence,' when the sestertius was the unit, the old decimal system (which was now no longer required for the denarius) was applied, and the asses and half-asses up to the sestertius were expressed by tenths (libellæ), half-tenths, and quarter-tenths.

The following were the modes of expressions used in each case.

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ODD PENCE,' when the denarius was the unit. N.B. The crossed X (for denarius) ought to be prefixed to all the signs. In this duodecimal system the half denoted by S contains 6 parts; but = %.

denarii. sign. name of sign.

explanation of name. 16 denarius


qvindeciære 1

S -) deunx sicilicus
14 qvattvordeciære

S-a dextans semuncia

+24 tredeciære S-- dodrans semuncia sicilicus

3++as I 2 duodeciære


dodrans II undeciære S-) bes sicilicus

+ 10 decus (decussis)

S -Σ septunx semuncia

立+本 9 nonus (nonussis)

semis semuncia sicilicus

8 octus (octussis)

7 septus (septussis)

quincunx sicilicus

6 sexis

triens semuncia

5 qvinqves (quinquessis ?)

qvadrans semuncia sicilicus +24+28
4 qvattrussis

3 tressis

sextans sicilicus

štas dupundius

sescuncia as (assis)

is Σ)
semuncia sicilicus

'ODD PENCE,' when the sestertius was the unit. In this decimal system the half denoted by S contains
5 parts.

name of sign.

explanation of name.
4 sestertius


IIS 33 tressis semis

S--ET octo Ubellæ singula teruncius 18+zotao 3 tressis

septem libellæ singula

dupundius semis


sex libellæ teruncius dupundius

qvinqve libellæ

as semis

ΣΤ tres libellæ singula teruncius 1 +20+20

Σ duæ libellæ singula

1o+ 를 semis

T libella teruncius

totao 1 i. e. quindecim ære, fifteen in copper. Comp. the use of pondo.


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ix. Expression of Interest of Money. Interest was denoted at first by the proportionate part of the capital, and the parts of the as were made use of for this purpose. Thus the decemviral legislation fixed legal interest at ia of the capital, fenus unciarium. This is equivalent to 85 per cent., and if Niebuhr's views be right, that this originally related to the old year of ten months, it would be equivalent to io per cent. for a year of twelve months. In 347 B.C. the rate was reduced to semunciarium fenus, i.e. La of the capital, i.e. 5 per cent. for the year of twelve months.



I per cent.

In and after Sulla's time, the more common Greek method of reckoning interest by the month came in, and the legal rate was oo of the capital per month, called centesima (sc. pars sortis), i.e. 12 per cent. for a year. Lower rates of interest were denoted by the fractional parts of the as (the centesima being taken as the as), higher rates by distributives (or a combination of distributives and fractions). The following expressions are found either in the Corpus Juris or Cicero1. Interest is expressed by the plural usuræ, in apposition to the parts of the as:

usuræ unciæ. i.e. 12 of the centesima
usuræ qvadrantes .

= 3
usúræ trientes or ter-

tia centesimæ pars
usuræ qvincunces .

usuræ semisses or di-
midia centesimæ

usuræ besses or bes

usura deunces
usuræ centesimæ
binæ centesima

= 24
ternæ centesimæ

= 36 qvaternæ centesimæ .

= 48 qvinæ (centesimæ)

= 60






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But the singular is sometimes found, e.g. fenus ex triente factum erat bessibus (C. Att. IV. 15). Interest rose from { to s, i.e. per month, 4 per cent. to 8 per cent. per year.

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1 Marquardt, Röm. Alterth. Th. III. Abth. 2, p. 50.


Measures of Weighti. The as and its divisions and multiples have been already given, viii.

The Greek system ålso was used in the imperial times, the unit being a denarius, called from the Greek drachma, of which the libra (= as) contained until Nero's time 84 (so in Celsus and Pliny), afterwards 96. This latter drachma was divided into three scriptula, the scriptulum=two oboli, the obolus = three siliquæ.

If the libra be taken as equal to 5053-2 Engl. grains (so Böckh., Mommsen, Hultsch), it will be about } pound Troy (5760 grains). Hence the denarius or drachma (before Nero's time) was=60:16 grains, i.e. nearly an Engl. drachm (60 grains). After Nero's time the drachma was = 52.6 grains and the siliqua 2-9 grains.

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The unit of one system was a finger-breadth, digitus ; four finger-breadths made a palm, palmus ; and four palms, a foot, pes ; a foot and a palm was palmipes; a foot and a half (sesquipes) was a forearm, cubitus. The ulna was taken as a third of a man's height, perhaps the length of the whole arm.

But the foot was also divided into twelve parts, and for these the names of the fractions of an as were used. Two feet was similarly called dupondius; 2 feet was pes sestertius.

In land-surveying, the rod, pertica, contained ten feet, hence called decempeda. The actus (i.e. the furrow made at one drawing (driving) of the plough oxen) measured 12 rods.

The unit of distance was not the single step (gradus, 21 feet) but the passus, Š feet, i.e. thé distance from the point where the same foot is taken up to the point where it is put down. A thousand paces, mille passus, gives the origin of a mile. The Greek stadium was also used and taken at [ of a mile (i.e. our furlong).

The pes=11•6 Eng. inches or .97 Eng. foot; mille passus = 4850 Eng. feet or 919 Eng. mile. The pertica=9 feet 8.5 inches.

In SS x.-xiii. I have chiefly followed Hultsch’s Griech. u. Röm. Metrologie (1862). See also his Metrologici Scriptores, Vol. II.

The English equivalents are usually from the tables appended to Smith's Dict. Antiqq.

xii. Measures of Surface. The pes qvadratus (square foot), as contrasted with the pes porrectus (foot in length), was the unit. But in land-measurement a higher unit was taken, the scripulum (Varro), decempeda qvadrata (Pallad.), i.e. the square rod.

The actus qvadratus, often simply actus, contained 144 square rods, perticæ ; a double actus was a jugerum; a double jugerum formed an heredium; 100 heredia formed a centuria; 4 centuriæ formed a saltus (Varr. R. R. 110).

The fractions of the jugerum were denoted by the parts of an as, the sicilicus also being used for ; the sextula for ai the scripulum for (of the sextula, i.e. for) zse of the jugerum.

The pes qvadratus = .94 Engl. sq. feet: the actus qvadratus = 1 rood 9 perches 231 sq. feet: the jugerum=2 roods 19 perches 189-9 square feet, i.e. almost of an acre; an heredium was nearly an acre and a quarter.

xiii. Measures of Capacity.

The unit of liquid measure was the qvadrantal, which was defined as vas pedis qvadrati, i.e. as containing a square foot of wine. The name in and after Cicero's time was superseded by that of amphora (ầudopeús). The amphora contained two urnæ, the urna four congii ; the congius six sextarii; the sextarius two heminæ ; the hemîna two qvartarii; the qvartarius two acetabula. A culeus contained 20 amphoræ.

The duodecimal system was applied to the sextarius, a twelfth of which was a cyathus = uncia. The triens = 4 cyathi, qvadrans =3 cyathi, sextans = 2 cyathi, &c., are spoken of. (See also Mart. 11, 36; 12, 28.)

The unit of dry measure was the modius, which contained two semodii or 16 sextarii. The divisions of the sextarius (hemina, &c). were the same as of liquid measure.

The sextarius was = '96 pint Engl. Hence the amphora was about=5 gall. 6 pints Engl. ; the modius=gall. 7*36 pints Engl.

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