Thus (§ 79) the Romans reckoned in twelfths, and the Babylonians in sixtieths; the former method supplied a basis for division by 2, 3, 4, 6 or 12, and the latter for division by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, TO, 12, 15, 20, 30, or 60.
The Romans commonly used fractions with denominator 12; these were described as unciae (ounces), being twelfths of the as (pound).
There was no native coinage, the French 5-franc piece or dollar being the standard, and all sums under that amount were obtained by cutting up those coins into all shapes and sizes, which were weighed with small weights and scales into halves, quarters, eighths, twelfths and twenty-fourths of a dollar, and even reckoned down to the seven hundred and twentieth fraction of the same amount.
In the event of its not being voted before the 31st of December, recourse is had to the system of provisional twelfths (douzimes provisaires), whereby the government is authorized by parliament to incur expenses for one, two or three months on the scale of the previous year.
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