From pecus, cattle, especially sheep. Varo says that
sheep were the ancient medium of barter and standard of value. Ancient
coin was marked with the image of an ox or sheep. We have the Gold
(mouton d'or) and Gold Lamb (agneau d'or) of ancient
France, so called from the figure struck on them, and worth about a
shilling. (Latin, pecuniarius, pecunia.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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