Front Page Titles (by Subject) Currency in the Pastoral State. - Money and the Mechanism of Exchange
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Currency in the Pastoral State. - William Stanley Jevons, Money and the Mechanism of Exchange 
Money and the Mechanism of Exchange (New York: D. Appleton and Co. 1876).
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Currency in the Pastoral State.
In the next higher stage of civilization, the pastoral state, sheep and cattle naturally form the most valuable and negotiable kind of property. They are easily transferable, convey themselves about, and can be kept for many years, so that they readily perform some of the functions of money.
We have abundance of evidence, traditional, written, and etymological, to show this. In the Homeric poems oxen are distinctly and repeatedly mentioned as the commodity in terms of which other objects are valued. The arms of Diomed are stated to be worth nine oxen, and are compared with those of Glaucos, worth one hundred. The tripod, the first prize for wrestlers in the 23rd Iliad, was valued at twelve oxen, and a woman captive, skilled in industry, at four.4 It is peculiarly interesting to find oxen thus used as the common measure of value, because from other passages it is probable, as already mentioned, that the precious metals, though as yet uncoined, were used as a store of value, and occasionally as a medium of exchange. The several functions of money were thus clearly performed by different commodities at this early period.
In several languages the name for money is identical with that of some kind of cattle or domesticated animal. It is generally allowed that pecunia, the Latin word for money, is derived from pecus, cattle. From the Agamemnon of Æschylus we learn that the figure of an ox was the sign first impressed upon coins, and the same is said to have been the case with the earliest issues of the Roman As. Numismatic researches fail to bear out these traditions, which were probably invented to explain the connection between the name of the coin and the animal. A corresponding connection between these notions may be detected in much more modern languages. Our common expression for the payment of a sum of money is fee, which is nothing but the Anglo-Saxon feoh, meaning alike money and cattle, a word cognate with the German vieh, which still bears only the original meaning of cattle. As I am informed by my friend, Professor Theodores, the same connection of ideas is manifested in the Greek word for property, which means alike possession, flock, or cattle, and is referred by Grimm to an original verb or , to feed cattle. It is even supposed by Grimm that the same root reappears in the Teutonic and Scandinavian languages, in the Gothic, skatts, the modern High German schatz, the Anglo-Saxon, scät or sceat, the ancient Norsk skat, all meaning wealth, property, treasure, tax, or tribute, especially in the shape of cattle. This theory is confirmed by the fact that the Frisian equivalent, sket, has retained the original meaning of cattle to the present day. In the Norsk, Anglo-Saxon, and English, scat or scot has been specialized to denote tax or tribute.
In the ancient German codes of law, fines and penalties are actually defined in terms of live-stock. In the Zend Avesta, as Professor Theodores further informs me, the scale of rewards to be paid to physicians is carefully stated, and in every case the fee consists in some sort of cattle. The fifth and sixth lectures in Sir H. S. Maine's most interesting work on "The Early History of Institutions," which has just been published, are full of curious information showing the importance of live-stock in a primitive state of society. Being counted by the head, the kine was called capitale, whence the economical term capital, the law term chattel, and our common name cattle.
In countries where slaves form one of the most common and valuable possessions, it is quite natural that they should serve as the medium of exchange like cattle. Pausanias mentions their use in this way, and in Central Africa and some other places where slavery still flourishes, they are the medium of exchange along with cattle and ivory tusks. According to Earl's account of New Guinea, there is in that island a large traffic in slaves, and a slave forms the unit of value. Even in England slaves are believed to have been exchanged at one time in the manner of money.
[4.]Gladstone, "Juventus Mundi," p. 534.