Originally posted by crimsongod21
you know to be honest i have never really thought about why that symbol is used. i wish the origin story was still around now that i think about it.
Originally posted by darrman
except for the fact we use a SINGLE slash, in our $ ------- i wonder why?
this NEEDS to be solved..
What is the origin of the dollar sign ($)?
Many suggestions have been made about the origin of the dollar symbol $, one of the commonest being that it derives from the figure 8, representing the Spanish 'piece of eight'. However, it actually comes from a handwritten 'ps', an abbreviation for 'peso' in old Spanish-American books. The $ symbol first occurs in the 1770s, in manuscript documents of English-Americans who had business dealings with Spanish-Americans, and it starts to appear in print after 1800.
Originally posted by Lazarus Short
I think I know this one. The U.S. Constitution specifies "Spanish Milled Dollars" as acceptable currency. I understand that they circulated in the United States as late as the War Between the States. As you may or may not know, a Spanish Milled Dollar is the Eight Reales coin, I have one, reading on the obverse "1781 Carolus III Dei Gratia [by the Grace of God]"; on the reverse it reads "8R P.R. Hispan Etind Rex." This coin is covered in chop marks, so it circulated in the Oriental trade - in fact, these coins were used in trade in most of the world in that era. Of interest here is the reverse, which is stamped with the coat of arms of Spain surmounted by a crown, and flanked by two columns twined with ribbons. I believe the two columns represent Jachin and Boaz, just as in Solomon's temple or your local Masonic hall. The ribbons form an "S" shape as they drape each column, and there are words on the ribbons, but the coin is too worn for me to read them. Eliminate the coat of arms, move the columns together, combine the ribbons, and you get a dollar sign.
BTW, I did know that Sears used to sells cars from their catalog. I have a reprint.
Another thing has become lost in just a few hundred years: the origin of "America." Forget that Italian map-maker - I know who America is really named after.edit on 10-5-2012 by Lazarus Short because: lah-de-dah
The staff considered as a symbol and attribute of the Greek god Hermes and the Roman god Mercury. It is generally represented as having two serpents twined around it in opposite directions, their heads confronting each other.
It is probable that the staves carried by heralds and public criers gave rise to this fable, the fluttering ribbons or fillets tied to the end of the staff, or the green wreaths or boughs which were tied around it, giving the suggestion of living serpents.
Several different fables were invented by late Greek writers to account for the serpents in a miraculous way. One fable tells that Apollo gave his staff to Mercury in consideration of his resigning to him the honor of inventing the lyre. As Mercury entered Arcadia with his wand in his hand, he saw two serpents fighting together; he threw the staff between them, and they immediately wound themselves around it in friendly union. The caduceus is Mercury's peculiar mark of distinction. With this he conducted the shades to the lower world, and from it received the name of Caducifer; yet we find it on ancient coins in the hands of Bacchus, Hercules, Ceres, Venus, and Anubis.
Among the moderns it serves principally as a symbol of commerce. The U.S. Army Medical Corps has adopted it as its emblem.
- The Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 5, Pages 135-136
The English name for the Roman god Mercurius who, with winged hat and sandals, was messenger of the gods and divinity of the market place and commerce. He was originally a Greek God, Hermes.
- The Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 18, Page 667
One of the gods of the ancient Greeks identified by the Romans with their own god Mercurius (Mercury).
The name probably means "he of the stone heap," and the origins of his cult lie in the magical practices connected with the stone heaps which the pre-Homeric Greeks, like other primitive peoples, erected on mountaintops, boundary points, and crossroads. These sites were made sacred by the taboos on contact with the inhospitable outside world and with strangers. Hence the spirit residing in the stone heap, originally represented by a phallic upright stone, became the patron of the activities which took men beyond the boundary into the wasteland: shepherding, hunting, traveling, embassies, trade.
His connection with magic set the tone for his personality in myth: he was regarded both as a trickster and as a culture-hero, these being the dark and light sides of the magician.
With the development of urban life in Greece some of the activities connected with Hermes were transferred from the perimeter to the center of the city-state: Hermes, as the god of trade, became the god of agora (city market); as the god of ways he presided over city streets and doorways.
In this urbanized context the stone-heap symbol was replaced by the herm- a square-cut block of stone, surmounted by an anthropomorphic head of the god, and ornamented with the phallus, the square-cut shape and the phallus being vestiges of his primitive origins.
This one part of his cult was in the wastelands, while the other was in the market place. This split is reflected in mythology: on the one hand he is the god who was born in the mountains of Arcadia, the companion of the nymphs and other deities of the wilds; on the other hand he is the friend of shopkeepers, portrayed by Aristophanes as the very type of "city slicker" or "man of the agora."
When in the Homeric epics the spirit world of primitive Greek religion was transformed into a hierarchy of anthropomorphic deities articulated on the model of the patriarchal household and the Mycenaean kingship, Hermes was subordinated to Zeus, the father and king, as his servant and more specifically as his messenger and herald. Hence in Greek poetry, drama and art he is characteristically depicted with the broad-brimmed hat and stout sandals of the traveler.
At the same time his primitive personality as magician, trickster and culture-hero was not obliterated. In Greek art his magical powers are suggested by wings attached to his sandals or cap, and by the magic wand, or herald's staff (Latin caduceus) in his hand.
Numerous myths describe his aptitude for trickery, notably Homeric Hymn to Hermes, which tells how Hermes, on the very day of his birth, stole the cattle of Apollo, his them cunningly, and did not give them up until he had struck a shrewd bargain with Apollo, gaining for himself recognition as a god of cattle on par with Apollo.
In ritual, too, he was invoked both as "the Trickster" and also as "the Giver of Good" (that is, the culture-hero). Both as magician and as messenger he was qualified to control the souls of the dead and guide them to Hades, and so he became known as the "Conductor of Souls." He also has a role in the art (and tricks) of love, and hence a connection with Aphrodite-- a connection which gave rise to the figure of Hermaphroditus.
Hermes' functional connection, as culture-hero, with craftsmanship and trade made him the patron deity of the merchants and craftsmen, whose struggle for equality with the aristocracy looms large in early Greek history. This struggle is projected into the mythical conflict between Hermes and Apollo (the aristocrat of Olympus) in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes.
When the Greek middle class gained access to higher culture, they attributed to their patron deity Hermes cultural functions which had previously been monopolized by Apollo. Hermes became a god of music, rhetoric, and gymnastic, and in art he lost the appearance of a working man and became (like Apollo) an ideal type of cultured young gentleman, as in the famous Hermes of Praxiteles.
Under the name of Mercury the Roman appropriated the Greek conception of Hermes without making any substantial additions.
- The Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 14, Pages 131-132