Friday, 12 December 2014

Ovelia modiale, nou nascut

Ballachulish has given birth to a new Ripollesa lamb, born yesterday :

I've named her Ovelia Modiale in honour of my brother-out-of-law, Jonathan Jarrett whose paper* on the use of cows, sheep and possibly pigs as monetary units in 10th century Catalonia is a must read. Our tiny new lamb (3.8kg at birth, so small) probably is not yet worth a modius of grain, but I'll love her all the same.

Unfortunately when I explained to the residents at the Croft that we were calling her "Ovelia Modiale" they all, er, laughed. So she's to be called "Oli" for short. 

Difficult to imagine this animal currency really working. Here's an early manuscript from Catalonia, cerca 975 AD: 

Shopkeeper: Thank you ma'am. That will be three Bovo soldare and half an Ovelia modiale.
Customer: Half an Ovelia modiale? Not sure I've got the change. Just a moment while I fetch an axe...

Bloody business, shopping.

*Bovo Soldare: A Sacred Cow of Spanish Economic History Re-evaluated, in Naismith, Rory, Martin Allen, and Elina Screen, eds. Early Medieval Monetary History: Studies in Memory of Mark Blackburn. Studies in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland. Farnham, Surrey, UK ; Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2014.

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