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The unit of value in the Roman and Old Italian coinages, and made of copper or bronze. (See Aes.) It was originally a pound of copper (aes grave), of the value of 16 2/3 cents, and was uncoined (aes rude). Servius Tullius stamped upon it the figures of animals (hence the term pecunia, from pecus). In the First Punic War, money being scarce, the as was reduced to one sixth of its original weight, and to a value of 2.8 cents. In the Second Punic War it was again reduced, so as to weigh but one ounce, having a value of 1.4 cents. The Lex Papiria (B.C. 191) still further reduced the as to half an ounce in weight, and a value of 7.9 1/3 mills, which continued the standard weight and value even under the Empire. For a fuller account, see the article Numismatics (Roman).

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