Beyond language, sausages, architecture, and textiles,

lies the DNA of currency, or the name of the unit of currency at least, usually based on weight at its origin, silver or gold, once cattle became too cumbersome. Thus the Spanish word for weight, ‘peso’, yields modern-day Philippine pesos and the same with much of Latin America except where they adopted names with nationalistic overtones, such as sucres, bolivianos, colones, and cordobas, etc. Meanwhile Spain itself kept the concept in a diminutive form with pesetas, perhaps to distinguish itself from those same banana republics. The British are still using pounds, as do a handful of other countries under that influence in Africa and the Middle East. This is just like a Roman pound, libra, then the Italian lira and Romanian leu. Like banana republics, the French needed a franc to prop up their egos, bolstered especially when Belgians and Swiss and half of Africa followed suit, all of dubious worth now, with Europeans united by currency itself, not just the name. After the demise of the franc, the widest name of currency in modern use derives from the tiny Bohemian silver-mining town of Joachimstaler, living on in the dollars of the US and most of the English-speaking world and such pretenders as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Brunei, and Singapore. Joachimstaler was also formerly famous for its radioactive thermal baths. Yep. That business has slowed down a bit these days. Stranger than fiction and in true DNA quantum-leap mutation fashion, the lowly pre-Islamic Roman denarius, now as dinar, and its cousins dirham and riyal live on as the currency of a dozen countries in North Africa and the Mideast. This is not to mention the reales of the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world, nor el dinero itself. Scandinavians also pay tribute to their royalty with crowns as currency as Portuguese do with their escudo. Rupees and rupiah cross borders and oceans in India and Indonesia, even more so if you hypothesize a connection in rubles. Germans left their mark and Greeks their drachma. If there’s no better way to put a value on the world and its many and varied things, then let it be money, regardless of the language.

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