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SCRU´PULUM or more properly SCRIPULUM or SCRIPLUM (γράμμα), the smallest denomination of weight among the Romans. It was the 24th part of the UNCIA or the 288th of the LIBRA and therefore about 18 grains English, which is about the average weight of the scrupular aurei still in existence. [AURUM]

As a square measure, it was the smallest division of the jugerum, which contained 288 scrupula. [JUGERUM] Pliny (Plin. Nat. 2.48) uses the word to denote small divisions of a degree. It was in fact to be applicable, according to the use of the As and its parts, to the 288th part of any unit.

Though the scrupulum was the smallest weight in common use, we find divisions of it sometimes mentioned, as the obolus = 1/2 of a scruple, the semi-obolus= 1/2 of an obolus, and the siliqua= 1/3 of an obolus,=1/6 of a scruple, which is thus shown to have been originally the weight of a certain number of seeds. (Carmen de Pond. 5.8-13:--

Semioboli duplum est obolus, quem pondere duplo
Gramma vocant, scriplum nostri dixere priores.
Semina sex alii siliquis latitantia curvis
Attribuunt scriplo, lentisve grana bis octo,
Aut totidem speltas numerant, tristesve lupinos
Bis duo.

[PONDERA p. 455.]


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