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tainly a change of value, ordered in order to harmonize the value of the bronze with that of the silver coinage which at that time made its first appearance in Rome.
The slow and gradual diminutions which continually took place on account of the official reductions are to be attributed to that universal economic law of the decrease of monetary values met with in all ages, nations, and lands. The medieval monetary systems afford good illustrations of this law.
140. THE MULTIPLES OF THE AS. About that time when the As was reduced to the weighi of about 100 grammes some pieces were issued as multiples of the As, a fact which excludes the idea that the reduction was introduced through distress; and so we have :
141. The DUPONDIUS, with the head of Minerva (or Roma) and the sign 11 (two Asses).
142. The TRIPONDIUS, with the same head and the sign III (three asses).
Fig. 13 B. – Decussis (Rev.). 143. The DECUSSIS, always with the same head and the sign X (ten Asses).
144. The heavy Asses were always cast as were also their subdivisions. At a certain time although casting was used for the larger coins (Asses and Semisses) striking was introduced for the smaller coinage and at last when the uncial As was introduced striking was altogether substituted for casting.
145. THE SUBDIVISIONS OF THE AS. Among the subdivisions of the As some are met with differing to those common to all the series, for instance.
These pieces however may be regarded as exceptional.
146. The ROMAN TALENT (money of account corresponded to one hundred Libral Asses, hence kg. 32.740 was divided into 60 mini of 545 grammes each and was generally called centupondium.
147. The SUCCESSIVE WEIGHTS OF THE AS.
We here give a table of the weights of the Asses in the different periods based upon what has been said in this chapter (S 132139).
THE PRIMITIVE LIBRAL AS
Weight of the Latin libra 272 grammes.
(From the year 450 B.C.)
12 ounces or a pound. ... ...
THE SEMILIBRAL AS
Weight of the Roman half-pound 327 grammes.
2 ounces or á of a pound... grammes 54.500 I ounce
27.250 of an ounce
18.166 13.625 9.083 4.541
an ounce................. grammes 13.625 SEMUS h of an ounce
3.406 SEXTANS =
2.270 UNCIA =
1.135 148. QUADRILATERAL PIECES. We must now proceed to consider those bronze quadrilateral pieces which resemble a little brick and have been called quadrusses and quincusses according as by their weight they were considered worth four or five Asses.
For a long time they were considered to belong to a period earlier than that of the lenticular As; now however either because the art shewn on them does not appear to be archaic, or because the designs found upon them must be attributed to a more recent period, we must consider them as most probably contemporaneous with the Decussis Tripondius and Dupondius.
On them we see represented symbols and allusions to antique objects of exchange or to the victories of the Roman armies, to sacrifices, augurs, or the attributes of the deities. Thus we find on them figures of a bull, a hog, an elephant, the sacred chickens, a sword, a thunderbolt, a trident, a tripod, an eagle and other such embleins.