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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Biblical & Judean Coins (Moderators: Salem Alshdaifat, Aarmale)  |  Topic: Assarion 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Assarion  (Read 4325 times)
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« on: February 27, 2007, 08:48:19 am »

One of the coins mentioned in the Bible is the Assarion. "Are not two sparrows sold for an assarion?" Matt. 10:29. Assarion is either a diminutive form of as or the Greek translation of as?. So I'm trying to figure out if it's the same, or a coin of similar size and value, or truly diminutive and a much smaller coin. I have an assarion of Septimius Severus, a whole lot smaller than the big asses of the early emperors (no pun intended), but I don't know if that's simply what the as devolved into, or the two are unrelated. Online sites claim values for the assarion ranging from 1/16 of a denarius to 2 lepta, from an as to a prutah or a quadrans. Can anybody clear up my confusion?

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Howard Cole
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2007, 02:14:47 pm »

Here is what James B. Lovetter wrote about the Assarion in Biblical Related Coins:

Farthing or Assarion was a coins small in size and value mentioned three time in the New Testament.
MATTHEW 5:26-- " . . . paid the utmost farthing."
MATTHEW 10:29 "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing . . . "
LUKE 12:6 "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthing . . ."
The COIN:  the assarion of Chios (island and city of the same name) off the coast of Ionia.  some feel it could have been the Roman quadrans.

Here is what Hendin says about it in Guide to Biblical Coins, Fourth Edition:

The farthing is another denomination mentioned in the King James version: of course, it was a common English denomination in the seventeenth century.  The Greek words translated as farthing were assarion (Matthew 10:29; Luke 12:6) and kodrantes (Matthew 5:26; Mark 12:42).  We suspect that this was a quadrans, even though some have suggested it to be the equivalent of the Roman as.  The bronze coins struck at Antioch were abundant, and commonly circulated in the Holy Land.

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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2007, 03:38:08 pm »

The KJV, if we must discuss the Bible in terms of a 400-year-old rehash of Tyndale, renders 'denarius' as 'penny', as in the notorious 'tribute penny'. A farthing is a quarter of a penny, and was the smallest coin in circulation in England at the time, though smaller units of value were in use for accounting purposes. I don't think we can assume that 'assarion' and 'kodrantes' are necessarily the same thing, merely that they were both assumed to be significantly less than a denarius. We certainly can't assume that either Tyndale or his later editors knew what an assarion was!

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John K
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2007, 01:48:15 pm »

This is also a topic that I am curious about.  Here are my views.  First, I suggest we disregard the word FARTHING because it is a merely a word used by translators, it is not found in the original text and I think it confuses the issue.

There is no doubt that in the Roman monetary system a QUADRANS is one fourth of an AS.

However the words we are talking about are Greek.  It is my understanding the Greek word KODRANTES is referring to the Roman QUADRANS.   And that that the Greek word ASSARION is the referring to the Roman AS.

If this is true, then the KODRANTES is one fourth of an ASSARION – therefore not the same size.  It is also my understanding that the AS coin grew smaller over time.

I hope this helps your own thoughts on this matter...

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