as, assis, m. (nom. assis, Don. ad Ter. Phorm. 1, 1, 9, and Schol. ad Pers. 2, 59; old form assārĭus, ii, m.; and in the gen. plur. assariūm, Varr. L. L. 8, § 71 Müll.; Charis. p. 58 P.) [εἷς, Dor. αἴς, Tarent. ἄς, Hinter].
- I. In gen., unity, a unit; as a standard for different coins, weight, measure, etc. (in Vitr. 3, 1, p. 61 Rode, perfectus numerus, the perfect number, fundamental number), acc. to the duodecimal system, divided into 12 parts, or uncias, with the following particular designations: uncia = 1s./12 duodecima (sc. pars) sextans = 2/12 = 1s./6 sexta quadrans = 3/12 = 1s./4 quarta, also teruncius or triuncis triens = 4/12 = 1s./3 tertia or quincunx = 5s./12 sextans cum quadrante semissis s. semis = 6/12 = 1s./2 dimidia septunx = 7s./12 quadrans cum triente bessis s. bes = 8/12 = 2/3, for beis s. binae partes assis. dodrans = 9/12 = 3s./4 terni quadrantes dextans s. decunx = 10/12 = 5s./6 quini sextantes deunx = 11s./12 undecim unciaeThe uncia was again divided into smaller parts: semuncia = 1/2 uncia = 1/24 assis. duella = 1/3 uncia = 1/36 assis. sicilicus (-um) = 1/4 uncia = 1/48 assis. sextula = 1/6 uncia = 1/72 assis. drachma = 1/8 uncia = 1/96 assis. hemisecla = 1/12 uncia = 1/144 assis. scripulum = 1/24 uncia = 1/288 assis.The multiples of the as received the following designations: dupondius = 2 asses. tripondius s. tressis = 3 asses. (quadressis) = 4 asses. quinquessis = 5 asses. sexis (only in the connection decussissexis in Vitr. 1. c.) = 6 asses. septissis = 7 asses. octussis = 8 asses. nonussis (novissis?) = 9 asses. decussis = 10 asses. bicessis = 20 asses. tricessis = 30 asses, and so on to centussis = 100 asses. (Cf. Varr. L. L. 5, § 169 sq. Müll.)
- II. Esp.
- 1. As a copper coin, the as was, acc. to the ancient custom of weighing money, originally a pound (asses librales or aes grave), of the value of about 8 8d./89, or 16 2/3 cents, and was uncoined (aes rude) until Servius Tullius stamped it with the figures of animals (hence pecunia, from pecus); cf. Varr. R. R. 2, 1, 9; Plin. 33, 3, 13, § 42 sqq. In the first Punic war, on account of the scarcity of money, the as was reduced to a sixth part of its original weight, i. e. two ounces; hence asses sextantarii (of the value of about 1 103d./297, or 2.8 cents), and the state gained five sixths. In the second Punic war, and the dictatorship of Fabius, the as was again reduced one half, to one ounce; hence asses unciales, about equal to 200d./297, or 1.4 cents. Finally, the Lex Papiria (A.U.C. 563, B.C. 191) reduced the as to half an ounce; hence asses semiunciales = 100d./297, or 7.9 1/3 mills, which continued as a standard even under the emperors. In all these reductions, however, the names of coins remained, independent of the weight of the as: uncia, sextans, quadrans, etc.; cf. Grotef. Gr. II. p. 253 sq.
From the small value of the as after the last reduction, the following phrases arose: quod non opus est, asse carum est, Cato ap. Sen. Ep. 94: Quod (sc. pondus auri) si comminuas, vilem redigatur ad assem, Hor. S. 1, 1, 43: viatica ad assem Perdiderat, to the last farthing, id. Ep. 2, 2, 27: ad assem impendium reddere, Plin. Ep. 1, 15: rumores Omnes unius aestimemus assis, Cat. 5, 3: Non assis facis? id. 42, 13.
- 2. The proverbs,
- a. Assem habeas, assem valeas, your worth is estimated by your possessions, Petr. 77, 6: crumena plena assium, Gell. 20, 1.
- b. Assem elephanto dare, to give something (as a petition, and the like) with trembling to a superior (a metaphor derived from trained elephants, which, after playing their parts, were accustomed to take pay for themselves, which was given them with fear by the multitude; cf. Plin. 8, 5, 5, § 14), Augustus ap. Quint. 6, 3, 59, and Macr. S. 2, 4; Varr. ap. Non. p. 531, 10 sq.
- B. In inheritances and other money matters, where a division was made, the as, with its parts, was used to designate the portions. Thus haeres ex asse, sole heir; haeres ex semisse, he who receives one half of the inheritance; haeres ex dodrante, he who receives three fourths; and so, haeres ex besse, triente, quadrante, sextante, etc.; ex semiunciā, ex sextulā, ex duabus sextulis, etc., Dig. 28, 5, 50; 34, 9, 2; Suet. Caes. 83; Cic. Caecin. 6 et saep.: Nerva constituit, ut tu ex triente socius esses, ego ex besse, Dig. 17, 2, 76: bessem fundi emere ab aliquo, ib. 26, 21, 2, § 39: quadrans et semissis fundi, ib. 6, 1, 8 al.; hence, in assem, in asse, or ex asse, in all, entirely, completely, Dig. 36, 45: vendere fundum in assem, ib. 20, 6, 9; so Col. 3, 3, 8 and 9: in asse, id. 2, 12, 7: sic in asse flunt octo menses et dies decem, id. 2, 12, 7: ex asse aut ex parte possidere, Dig. 2, 8, 15; Sid. Ep. 2, 1; 6, 12; 8, 6 al.
- C. As a measure of extent.
- a. An acre, acc. to the same divisions as above, from scripulum to the as, Col. 5, 1, 9 sq.: proscindere semissem, iterare assem, Plin. 18, 19, 49, § 178.
- b. A foot, Col. 5, 3.
- D. Of weight, a pound, acc. to the same division; cf. Fann. Pond. 41: In haec solide sexta face assis eat, Ov. Med. Fac. 60.
Note: Mathematicians (v. Vitr. l. c.) called the number 6 perfectus numerus (since 1 + 2 + 3 = 6), and formed, accordingly, the following terminology: 1 = sextans, as a dice-number . unio. 2 = triens . . . . . . . . . . binio. 3 = semissis . . . . . . . . . . ternio. 4 = bessis (διμοιρος) . . . . . quaternio. 5 = quintarius . . . . . . . quinio. 6 = perfectus numerus . . . . senio. 7 = ἔφεκτος, sex adjecto asse = 6 + 1. 8 = adtertiarius, sex adjectā tertiā = 6 + 2 (ἐπίτριτος). 9 = sesquialter, sex adjectā dimidiā = 6 + 3 (ἡμιόλιος). 10 = bes alter, sex duabus partibus additis = 6 + 4 (ἐπιδίμοιρος). 11 = adquintarius, sex quinque partibus additis = 6 + 5 (ἐπιπεντάμοιρος). 12 = duplio (διπλασίων).