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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Measures of Value, etc.

633. The Sestertius was probably introduced at a time when the as had been so far reduced that the value of the new coin (2 1/2 asses) was equivalent to the original value of the as. Hence, the Sestertius (usually abbreviated to HS or HS) came to be used as the unit of value, and nummus, coin, often means simply sēstertius. As the reduction of the standard went on, the sestertius became equivalent to 4 asses. Gold was introduced later, the aureus being equal to 100 sesterces. The approximate value of these coins is seen in the following table:—

    2 1/2 asses = 1 sēstertius or nummus, value nearly 5 cents (2 1/2 d.).

    10 asses or 4 sēstertiī = 1 dēnarius. value nearly 20 cents (10 d.).

    1000 sēstertiī = 1 sēstertium ... value nearly $50.00 (£10).

Note— The word sēstertius is a shortened form of sēmis-tertius, the third one, a half. The abbreviation HS or HS = duo et sēmis, two and a half.

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