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used by itself as equivalent to Sestertius, the Nummus Sestertius having been emphatically the Nummus or coin of account from the time when a silver currency was introduced. Thus the statement
- Populo trecenos NUMMOS viritim divisit—denotes that each indivi. dual received 300 Sestertii.
It must be carefully observed, that wherever the word Sestertium is found in the pure text of any classical writer, it is invariably to be regarded as the contracted genitive plural for Sestertiorum. In the writers of the Empire, Sestertia is used in the plural to denote a sum of one thousand Sesterii.
The Sestertius having been originally equivalent to two Asses and a-half, although it subsequently became equivalent to four Asses, (p. 212), was represented in writing by the symbol IIS, that is, two units and a half (S denoting Semis), a line being drawn through the figures (thus He) to mark that they were to be taken together.
Comparison of Roman with English Money.—According to accurate calculations, the value of the silver Sestertius at the close of the Republic may be fixed at twopence sterling. After the reign of Augustus we cannot reckon the Sestertius higher than 1 d. from the age of Tiberius down to Septimius Severus. Taking the higher value, the following table may be useful in converting sums from Roman into English currency: £
£ $. d. 1 Sestertius
= 0 0 2 10,000 Sestertii = 83 6 8 10 Sestertii
833 6 8 100 = 0 16 8 1,000,000
8333 6 8 1000 = 8 6 8 10,000,000
83333 6 8 VII. INTEREST OF MONEY. The principal was termed Caput or Sors; the interest Fenus or Usura (generally Usurae). The rates of interest most frequently mentioned are the Fenus Unciarium and the Usurae Centesimae.
Fenus Unciarium.—The capital being regarded as the As or unit, and the interest being calculated by the year, then Fenus Unciarium, or uncial interest, would be one-twelfth part of the capital, that is, 8} per cent. per annum. But if we suppose, with Niebuhr, that this rate was introduced while the year of ten months was still observed, then 8} per cent. for a year of ten months will be exactly 10 per cent. for a year of twelve months.
Usurae Centesimae.--Towards the close of the Republic, we hear for the first time of Usurae Centesimae, which must signify interest amounting to 100th part of the capital, or 1 per cent. But this was probably introduced with the Greek fashion of paying interest monthly, so that Usurae Centesimae was 1 per cent. per month, or 12 per cent. per annum.
PRIVATE LIFE OF THE ROMANS.
I. CUSTOMS CONNECTED WITH PARTICULAR EPOCHS OF LIFE.
Infancy. -As soon as a child was born it was laid down at the feet of the father, who, if prepared to acknowledge it (agnoscere), lifted it from the ground (a terrâ levabat), and thus declared that he was willing to rear it (alere) as his own. Hence the expressions Tollere s. Suscipere liberos signify to bring up or educate children. Infanticide was not prohibited by law.
Boys on the ninth, and girls on the eighth day after birth underwent a religious purification (lustratio), and on this day (Dies lustricus) the former received their Praenomen (nomen accipiebant). Boys, until they attained to manhood, and girls, until they were married, wore a I'oga Praetexta, i. e., a cloak with a narrow scarlet border, and from the necks of boys was suspended a hollow disc called Bulla, made of gold, silver, or, in the case of the poor, of leather, containing a charm or amulet against the fascination of the Evil Eye. The Toga Praetexta and the Bulla were both of Etruscan origin, and hence the latter is called Etruscum aurum by Juvenal.
Education.—Elementary schools (Ludus literarius-Ludi literarum) for both girls and boys, existed from a very early epoch, in the immediate vicinity of the Forum. For several centuries the instruction communicated was confined to reading, writing, and arithmetic. Before the close of the Republic, a familiar knowledge of Greek was considered indispensable to every one in the upper ranks. In the age of Cicero, and for some centuries afterwards, the following was a complete course:--1. Reading, writing, and arithmetic taught by the Ludi Magister s. Literator. 2. A critical knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages, taught by the Grammaticus B. Grammatistes. 3. Composition and oratory, taught by the Rhetor Latinus, to which some added, 4. A course of moral and metaphysical philosophy; to obtain the last it was not unusual to resort to Athens. Persons of easy fortune had frequently domestic tutors called Paedagogi, answering in many respects to what we now term nursery governesses, while men of great wealth sometimes hired distinguished Grammatistae, Rhetores, and Philosophi.
Holidays were given regularly on the Quinquatria and Saturnalia.
The former being regarded as the commencement of the scholastic year, a gratuity termed Minerval was presented by the pupil to his preceptor.
Mode of Teaching.–Children were tempted to learn their alpabet (elementa velint ut discere prima) by encouraging them to play with ivory letters (eburneae literarum formae); they were taught to write upon waxen tablets (tabulae ceratae-cerae), on which was a traced copy (puerile praescriptum-praeformatae literae); arithmetic was communicated through the calculating board (abacus) and counters, (calculi), while the memory was strengthened by the master repeating aloud passages from some popular author, which were taken down and committed to memory. Such lessons were termed Dictata. The children of the rich were escorted to school not only by Paedagogi, but also by slaves called Capsarii, who carried in boxes (Capsae) the books, writing tables, and bags with counters (Loculi) of their young masters.
Entrance upon Manhood.—When the education of a youth was completed, and he was regarded as fit to enter upon the business of life, he threw off the Toga Praetecta and assumed a plain gown termed T'oga Virilis s. Toga Pura s. Toga Liberior.
The age at which the Toga Virilis was assumed is a matter of doubt. Some scholars have named the completion of the fourteenth year, others of the fifteenth, others of the sixteenth as the stated period.
Marriage Ceremonies.--Betrothment.—The consent of the father or legal guardian of the woman was indispensable, and if this was gained, the person who sought her in marriage then put the formal question Spondesne? to which the reply was Spondeo. After this the parties, as fully engaged, were called respectively Sponsuz and Sponsa. The ceremonial of the betrothment was termed Sponsalia, and was usually celebrated by a festival, and on this occasion the Sponsus frequently presented a ring, the Annulus pronubus, to his Sponsa, who offered him some gift in return. The proposals and negotiation were named Conditio, and hence this word is used in the general sense of a matrimonial alliance, as in the phrase Conditionem filiae quaerendam esse (Liv. iii., 45).
Marriage Day.—Popular prejudice forbade any marriage to be solemnized in May-İsense malas Maio nubere vulgus ait (Ovid, Fast. V., 490), but we are quite ignorant of the origin of this superstition.
Dress of the Bride.—The bride (Nova Nupta) was attired in an under garment named Regilla or Tunica Recta, fastened round the waist by a woollen girdle (cingulum factum ex lana ovis). Her hair was divided into six locks (senis crinibus nubentes ornantur), which were parted with the point of an instrument called hasta coelibaris,
either really a spear or some article of the toilet in the form of a spear. On her head was placed a yellow net (Reticulum luteum,) and a veil of the same colour (Flammeum), while her feet were covered with yellow shoes (Socci lutei).
Nuptial Procession, &c.—The bride was invariably conducted (ducere s. deducere nubenten), on the evening of the marriage day, from the home of her parents, to her new home, in a procession (Pompa nuptialis), attended by flute-players (Tibicines), who also chanted the nuptial song called Hymenaeus by the Greeks, and Thalassio by the Romans, which must not be confounded with the Epithalamium, which was sung at the door of the nuptial chamber after the bride had retired to rest. The lady was escorted by three boys, of whom two supported her, one on each side, while the third marched before, bearing a blazing torch; other torch-bearers were likewise included in the procession, and hence the words Faces, Taedae, are perpetually employed in reference to marriage. A fourth youth, called Camillus, carried an open basket (cumerus) containing a distaff, a spindle, and other implements of housewife toil (nubentis utensilia). The bride wreathed sacred fillets of white wool (vittae) round the door posts, and anointed the latter with oil or lard (axungia),—whence some derive the word Uxor-after which she was carefully lifted over the threshold, to avoid the possibility of an ill-omened stumble. She was received by the husband, whom she addressed in the solemn words, Ubi tu Caius ego Caia, and was presented by him with fire and water. then partook of the Coena Nuptialis, at the close of which nuts
scattered among the guests, and the bride was then escorted to her nuptial chamber (thalamus nuptialis) by her Pronubae, who corresponded to our bridesmaids. In the annexed cut, taken from the celebrated painting known as the Aldobrandini Marriage, we see the bride with the flammeum on her head, seated on a couch, probably the Lectus genialis, with a Pronuba by her side.
On the day after the marriage, the new mistress of the house entered
her duties by offering sacrifice on the domestic altar, and in the afternoon an entertainment was given by the bridegroom, which was called Repotia.
The verb Nubere signifies properly to veil, and therefore refers to the act of the woman in contracting a marriage; on the other hand Ducere denotes the leading home the bride, and is confined to the man; thus we say, Nubere viro and Ducere uxorem, never Nubere uxori or Ducere virum.
-As soon as life was extinct, those who surrounded the couch of the deceased raised a shout of woe (clamor supremus), and hence conclamata corpora signify bodies in which no trace of life remains, as in the expression-Conclamata et desperala corpora. Notice of the death was immediately sent to the temple of Venus Libitina, where a register was kept and a fee paid (Auctumnusque gravis Libitinae quaestus acerbae, Hor., S. ii., vi. 19), and where undertakers, hence called Libitinarii, were constantly in attendance to provide all things necessary for interment. By one of these, a slave, called Pollinctor, was forthwith despatched, by whom the corpse was washed with hot water, anointed, dressed in the garb which it had worn on ceremonial occasions when alive, and laid out upon a couch (Lectus funebris) in the Atrium, with its feet towards the door. In performing these offices, the Pollinctor was said curare corpus ad sepulturam. A cypress tree or a pine was then placed before the house.
Many funerals, especially those of a private or humble description, took place by night, and hence torches are frequently mentioned. The procession was marshalled by a sort of master of ceremonies called Designator, who was aided by assistants, Lictores, attired in mourning-dum ficus prima calorque = Designatorem decorat lictoribus atris (Hor., Epp. i., vii. 61.) First came the musicians, Tibicines, Cornicines, and Tubicines; then the Praeficae, hired female mourners, chanting dirges, while others shrieked aloud, beat their breasts, and tore their hair; then dancers, dressed as satyrs; then actors (Mimi), with the Archimimus, who mimicked the appearance and language of the dead man; then the Imagines of illustrious ancestors. The body itself followed, extended upon the Lectus funebris, which was spread upon a frame (Feretrum or Capulus). The bier was followed by all the family and friends, attired in black (atrati), the liberated freedmen with the pileus on their heads.
The Pompa defiled into the forum, and, in the case of persons of distinction, halted beneath the Rostra, when some one ascended the platform, and delivered a panegyrical harangue (Laudatio funebris—Solemnis laudatio).
The laws of the XII. Tables forbade burial or cremation in the city (Hominem in urbe ne sepelito neve urito). Inhumation was practised in the earlier ages; but towards the close of the Republic, and during the first four centuries of the Empire, the body was usually consumed by fire and the ashes consigned to the tomb in an