the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
is the rendering in the Auth. Vers. for two Roman coins of different values. (See MONEY).
1. The assarius (Graecized ἀσσάριον, Matthew 10:29; Luke 12:6), properly a small as, assarium, but in the time of our Lord used as the Gr. equivalent of the Lat. as. In the texts cited it is put (like our term "a copper") for any trifling amount. The Vulg. in Matthew 10:29 renders it by as, and in Luke 12:6, puts dipondius for two assaria, the dipondius or dupondius being equal to two ases. The ἀσσάριον is therefore either the Roman as, or the more common equivalent in Palestine in the Graeco- Roman series, or perhaps both. The rendering of the Vulg. in Luke 12:6 makes it probable that a single coin is intended by two assaria, and this opinion is strengthened by the occurrence, on coins of Chios, struck during the imperial period, but without the heads of emperors, and therefore of the Greek autonomous class, of the words ACCAPION, ACCAPIA AYO, ACCAPIA TPIA. The half assarion of the same island has also been found, yet it is of the same size as the full assarion (Akerman, Numismatic Ilustrations of the New Testament, page 7).
The proper as was a copper coin, the Roman unit of value for small sums, equal to a tenth of the denarius or drachma, i.e., 1½ cents (Smith's Dict. of Class. Antiq. s.v. As). (See PENNY).
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