Note 027
From Chapter 44 of the Decline & Fall

Dionysius, with Arbuthnot, and most of the moderns, (except Eisenschmidt de Ponderibus, etc., p. 137 - 140,) represent the 100,000 asses by 10,000 Attic drachmae, or somewhat more than 300 pounds sterling. But their calculation can apply only to the latter times, when the as was diminished to 1-24th of its ancient weight: nor can I believe that in the first ages, however destitute of the precious metals, a single ounce of silver could have been exchanged for seventy pounds of copper or brass. A more simple and rational method is to value the copper itself according to the present rate, and, after comparing the mint and the market price, the Roman and avoirdupois weight, the primitive as or Roman pound of copper may be appreciated at one English shilling, and the 100,000 asses of the first class amounted to 5000 pounds sterling. It will appear from the same reckoning, that an ox was sold at Rome for five pounds, a sheep for ten shillings, and a quarter of wheat for one pound ten shillings, (Festus, p. 330, edit. Dacier. Plin. Hist. Natur. xviii. 4.) : nor do I see any reason to reject these consequences, which moderate our ideas of the poverty of the first Romans.

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