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Pecunia


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Pecunia.   Money was by the Latins called Pecunia, either because it was in the course of commercial exchanges employed in lieu of pecudes (cattle), or because the images on the earliest coins chiefly related to some sort of pecus, as a bull, a sheep, a ram, a horse, a goat, a sow or other animals.
  A writer in the French Transactions philosophiques (tom. i. 2nde partie, p. 299) observes, "The first riches of mankind were their flocks and herds, especially their oxen. The first money in Italy was called pecunia or pecus, and the most ancient pieces of money had the figure of an ox stamped on one of its sides.  The Greeks from the time of Homer, calculated their wealth by the number of oxen to which it was equivalent as we learn from that celebrated poet.  He tells us that the armor of King Glaucus was worth a hundred oxen while that of Diomede for which it was exchanged, was not valued at more than nine.  The figure of an ox which appears on the earliest money, seems in Etruria to have been converted into the symbol of the head of that animal and united with that of Janus who it is said, was the first who introduced money into Italy".

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