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We must not neglect to mention one other very remarkable fact relative to copper. The Servilian family, so illustrious in our annals, nourishes with gold and silver a copper triens,1 which devours them both. The origin and nature of this coin is to me incomprehensible;2 but I will quote the very words of the story, as given by old Messala3 himself—"The family of the Servilii is in possession of a sacred triens, to which they offer every year a sacrifice, with the greatest care and magnificence; the triens itself, they say, appears sometimes to increase in size and sometimes to diminish; changes which indicate the coming advancement or decadence of the family."

1 A Roman coin, equal to the third part of the "as."—B.

2 We most fully coincide with Pliny in this sentiment, but we are constrained to differ from him in giving credit to the alleged fact, as he appears to have done.—B.

3 See the list of authors at the end of this Book.

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