The modius was a Roman measure, of wheat for instance, or for any dry or solid commodity. It contained the third part of an amphora, and four of these measures of grain per month was the ordinary allowance given to slaves. On Roman coins the modius with stalks of grain and sometimes poppy, hanging or rising from it, indicates the fertility of the empire and the Imperial liberality and providence in procuring, and in bestowing grain to the people.
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On Roman coins we see the modius represented with corn-ears, and sometimes a poppy hanging or rising from it-- and having reference to distributions of wheat to the people, by various Emperors, such as Nerva, Vespasian, M. Aurelius, and Domitian. On a denarius of Nerva, with the legend COS IIII , there is a modius with six ears of corn. The modius is also the sign of the AEdileship on coins of the Papia and other families, and is represented full of wheat, between two ears of corn, as the symbol and attribute of Abundantia and of Annona (see the words). The coins of Nero, and from that Emperor down to Gallienus, furnish frequent examples of this figure as indicating the fruits of fertility, whether domestic or foreign; and the Imperial liberality and providence in procuring, and in bestowing them on the people.----See Spica.