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Uncia (ounce), a brass coin, the twelfth part of a Roman pound, or As [AS]. The issue of an As of a Roman pound of 12 unicae, or the as libralis, took place in the time of the Decemvirs, 451 BC, but the existing As rarely weigh more than 10 unicae. Later the As fell successively from 10 unicae to four, or perhaps this reduction was suddenly accomplished about the time of the first Punic War, 268 BC. In 217 BC the As was reduced to one unica by the Les Flaminia. At last in 89 BC or thereabouts, under the Lex Papiria, the As fell to a semiuncia (half-ounce). The uncia was rarely struck after the reduction of the As. The expression heres ex uncia denoted the heir to a tenth or twelfth part of an estate. The mark of value of the uncia was (a dash-like symbol -); of the semunica S. Among the pieces struck a Paestrum there occurs the Seacuncia (semisqueunica -S) equal the the eighth of an As.
The principal types of the earliest uncia, semuncia, and aes grave of Italy are:
- Knuckle bone
- Grain of barley
- Ear of corn
- Head of Apollo or Diana
- The Dioscuri
- Boar's head
- Axe with two edges (double axe or bipennis)
- Thunderbolt (fulmen)
- Gaulish head
- Prow of a ship
- Two-handled vase
- Sacrificial knife
The ordinary kind of uncia is: Obverse: Helmeted head left, - behind. Reverse: Prow of a vessel to right, - below; bronze.
The following are types other than "prow of a ship" issued at Rome after the suppression of the as liberalis in 268 BC:
1st Period, 268-224 BC
- Obv: Helmeted female head, - behind. Rev: A cornucopiae (rare); bronze
- Obv: Female head with Phrygian helmet terminating in the beak of a bird. Rev: One of the Dioscuri galloping; bronze
The semuncia S has on the obverse the heads of the Dioscuri, and on the reverse two horses galloping, two stars above.
- Obv: Female head right, - behind. Rev: SAR (Saranus), elephant to left.
The moneyer may have been M. Atilius Serranus, or perhaps another of the same family.
- Obv: Female head. Rev: A CAE within a wreath; bronze.
No mark of value on this uncia. Coins with this legend are usually attributed to Caecina gens, but also probable is A. Caecilius.
2nd Period, 154-134 BC:
Obv: Helmeted female head right, - behind. Rev: L H TVB within a laurel wreath; in the exergue ROMA; bronze
3rd Period, 134-114 BC
Obv: Helmeted female head right, - behind. Rev: Q METE (in monogram) within a laureal wreath; in the exergue ROMA; bronze.
This Metellus is probably one of three from the Caecilia gens, who was consul in 123, 109, and 98 BC.
4th Period, 114-104 BC
- Obv: L PHILIPPVS, laureate head of Saturn; sometimes a sickle behind. Rev: Dog walking to right, - above; sometimes a prow of a vessel, dog and - above; bronze
- Obv: Helmeted bust of Minerva (?), - behind. Rev: Q LVTATI within an oak wreath; bronze
- Obv: Helmeted female head right, - behind. Rev: C FON, Mars in a quadriga to right; in the exergue ROMA; - above; bronze.
- Obv: CN DOMI, diademed head of Venus right, - behind. Rev: Q CVRTI M SILA, a lyre; bronze.
5th Period, 104-84 BC
- Obv: Helmeted female head right, - behind. Rev: M HERENNI ROMA, two cornuacopiae; bronze.
- Obv: Helmeted female head right, - behind. Rev: MAN FONT ROMA, a quadriga; bronze.
- Obv: SCAVEVA, helmeted head of Pallas (?) right. Rev: M AVF (in monogram), Centaur right; bronze.