Relative values of cattle & currency

From: Jon Thorvaldson (
Date: Wed 21 May 1997 - 13:59:05 EEST

Hello everybody!
        Apropos trade values, I got thist list of relative values from
=46ergus Kelly's book 'A guide to early Irish law':

Units of Currency
(With usual value in relation to one milch cow)

ounce of silver 1
scruple of silver 1/24
s=E9t ('standard object of value') 1/2
female slave (or equivalent) 3
milch cow 1
in-calf cow 2/3
three-year-old dry heifer 1/2
two-year old heifer 1/3
yearling heifer 1/4
yearling bullock 1/8

(gold was too uncommon to be used as currency)

These values are from Irish law texts from the 7th to 8th centuries.
Ireland was then completely rural (the norse founded the first towns in
Ireland) and cattle was the basis of wealth. IMO, comparable to the
Orlanthi hillmen of Sartar.

I can recommend the book. It's very scolarly, but very interesting.

        Jon Thorvaldson
        S-75258 Uppsala


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