While thinking about ancient units of measurement based on the human body, Fabio Benini wondered if there might be a body part that weighs 4.25g, i.e. half of the ancient unit of one siqlum. In this essay, he identifies this part of the body (albeit with many variations) with the foreskin that Abraham/Hammurabi cut off as a symbol of a new faith. According to tradition, this unit of measurement has a symbolic value, taking the shape of a ring worn as a bracelet or anklet. These rings had a specific weight and would have been made of precious materials. In opposition to more widely known theories according to which money originated in the Kingdom of Lydia and was later associated to Mammon, a god of the underworld who defecated gold, here Benini suggests that coins – round, holed and portable – may in fact have originated in the myths and traditions of ancient Mesopotamia.

Fabio Benini is psycologist and psychoanalyst. He is a member both of the Italian Psychoanalytical Society and of the International Psychoanalytical Association.