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[165] In the ease of this public money, O judges, there are three kinds of thefts. In the first place, he put it out among the companies from which it had been drawn at twenty-four per cent interest; 1 in the second place, he paid actually nothing at all for corn to very many of the cities; lastly, if he did pay any city, he deducted as large a sum as ever he chose. He paid no one whatever as much as was due to him.

1 Towards the close of the republic the interest of money became due on the first of every month; therefore centesimae usurae, which seems to have been reckoned the ordinary rate of interest at Rome, was a payment of the hundredth part of the debt every month, or twelve hundredths, or, as we say, twelve per cent every year; binae centesimae were twice as much. Niebuhr is of opinion that the monthly rate of the centesimae was of foreign origin, and first adopted at Rome in the time of Sulla. The old yearly rate established by the Twelve Tables was unciarium foenus, a little over eight per-cent a year. See Smith, Dict Ant. p. 525, v. Interest.

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), FENUS
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