Money, (Heb. כֶּסֶף, ke'seph, silver, as often rendered, Chald. כּסִף, kesaph’, Gr. ἀργυρίον, silver, or a piece of silver, as often rendered; also κέρμα, coin, i.q. νόμισμα, lit. a standard of valuation; χαλκός, brass, as sometimes rendered: and χρῆμα, lit. whatever is used in exchange). In the present article we shall confine our attention to the consideration of the subject in general, leaving the discussion of particular coins for the special head of NUMINSATICS SEE NUMINSATICS . The value of the coins is a relative thing, depending, with respect to the several pieces and kinds of metal, in part upon the ascertained weight (i.e., intrinsic value, for which SEE METROLOGY ), and in part upon the interchange of the mintage of various ages and countries prevalent in Palestine (i.e., current value; SEE COIN ); but, in point of fact. still more upon the depreciation of the precious metals as a standard of value in comparison with purchasable articles, arising from the fluctuating balance of supply and demand (i.e., mercantile value). In the. following discussion we give a general view of this extensive subject, referring to other articles for subsidiary points.
I. Non-metallic Currency. — Different commodities have been used as money in the primitive state of society in all countries. Those nations which subsist by the chase, such as the ancient Russians and the greater part of the North American Indians, use the skins of the animals killed in hunting as money (Storch. Traite d'Economie Politique, tome 1). In a pastoral state of society cattle are chiefly used as money.. Thus, according to Homer, the armor of Diomede cost nine oxen, and that of Glaucus one hundred (Iliad, 6:235). The etymology of the Latin word pecunia, signifying money, and of all its derivatives, affords sufficient evidence that cattle (pecus) were the first money of the Romans. They were also used as money by the Germans, whose laws fix the amount of penalties for particular offences to be paid in cattle (Storch, 1.c.). In agricultural countries corn would be used in remote ages as money, and even at the present day it is not unusual to stipulate for corn rents and wages. Various commodities have been and are still used in different countries. Smith mentions salt as the common money of Abyssinia (Wealth of Nations, 1:4). A species of cyprsea, called the cowry, gathered on the shores of the Maldive Islands, and of which 6400 constitute a rupee, is used in making small payments throughout India, and is the, only money of certain districts in Africa. Dried fish forms the money of Iceland and Newfoundland; sugar of some of the West India Islands; and among the first settlers in America corn and tobacco were used as money (Holmes’s American Annals). Smith mentions that at the time of the publication of the Wealth of Nations there was a village in Scotland where it was customary for a workman to carry nails as money to the baker’s shop or the alehouse (1:4).
II. Bullion as a Circulating Medium. —
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Author: McClintock and Strong Cyclopedia
Bible reference(s): 1 Chronicles 21:25, 1 Chronicles 29:7, 1 Kings 20:39, 1 Samuel 2:36, 1 Samuel 9:7, 2 Kings 12:4, 2 Kings 5:5, 2 Samuel 18:12, 2 Samuel 24:24, Deuteronomy 14:26, Deuteronomy 2:6, Exodus 12:35, Exodus 22:17, Exodus 30:13, Exodus 38:26, Ezekiel 16:36, Ezra 2:69, Ezra 8:27, Genesis 13:2, Genesis 20:16, Genesis 23:18, Genesis 24:35, Genesis 31:50, Genesis 37:28, Genesis 42:35, Genesis 43:21, Genesis 46:6, Genesis 47:13, Jeremiah 32:9, Joshua 7:21, Judges 16:5, Judges 17:2, Leviticus 27:3, Leviticus 5:15, Matthew 17:24, Matthew 22:15, Nehemiah 5:15, Nehemiah 8:18, Numbers 3:45, Psalms 68:30
Source: John McClintock and James Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature.
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