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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


II. From the Abolition of the Monarchy in Rome to the Union of Italy

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

CHAPTER VIII - Law, Religion, Military System, Economic Condition, Nationality


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Page 42

The common monetary unit was the piece of ten -asses- (which were no longer of a pound, but reduced to the third of a pound), the -denarius-, which weighed in copper 3 1/3 and in silver 1/72, of a Roman pound, a trifle more than the Attic --drachma--. At first copper money still predominated in the coinage; and it is probable that the earliest silver -denarius- was coined chiefly for Lower Italy and for intercourse with other lands.

As the victory of the Romans over Pyrrhus and Tarentum and the Roman embassy to Alexandria could not but engage the thoughts of the contemporary Greek statesman, so the sagacious Greek merchant might well ponder as he looked on these new Roman drachmae. Their flat, unartistic, and monotonous stamping appeared poor and insignificant by the side of the marvellously beautiful contemporary coins of Pyrrhus and the Siceliots; nevertheless they were by no means, like the barbarian coins of antiquity, slavishly imitated and unequal in weight and alloy, but, on the contrary, worthy from the first by their independent and conscientious execution to be placed on a level with any Greek coin.

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