Exploring Money

Book 23 of Homer's Iliad describes the funeral games that take place after the funeral pyre of Akhilleus' friend Patroklos. In describing one of the contests, Homer writes,

"The winner was to acquire a fire-straddling tripod valued at twelve oxen by the Akhaians. As for the loser, in their midst Akhilleus placed a woman versatile at crafts, whose value was four oxen."

What function or functions of money were oxen playing in this passage?

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