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Drachme

(592 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) | Hitzl, Konrad (Tübingen)
(δραχμή; drachmḗ). [German version] [1] Coin According to finds from the Argive Heraeum and Sparta, six small iron spits each in the value of one obol, form a ‘handful’ drachmaí (derived from δράττεσθαι), both hands encompassing 12 pieces and resulting in one didrachme. The first silver drachmai are minted in the Aeginetic standard of coinage at 6.24 g. Other standards are the so-called Phoenician at 3.63 g, the Chian-Rhodian at 3.9 g (and less), the Corinthian at 2.8 g and the Attic standard, which became dominant since th…

Argenteus

(198 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] Literally meaning ‘silver coin’ [2.7], the argenteus is a piece of silver introduced, as mentioned in the fragmentary edicts of Aphrodisias and Aezani, during the  coinage reform of Diocletian around AD 294/6. This coin was equivalent to the one in circulation with a weight of 3.0-3.3 g (1/96 of the Roman pound in silver) and thus to the Neronian denarius. The silver content amounts to 90 per cent and more [1.110]. After the price edict of AD 301, the fixed value of 50 denarii is doubled [4.94 ff.]. The argenteus is struck in six mints only (Aquileia, Carthage, Ostia…

Decempeda

(103 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] A measuring bar ten Roman feet (2.96 m) in length ( pertica), derived from Lat. decem (ten) and pes (foot), which was used in architecture and especially in land surveying. There were 12 decempeda in one actus. As a square measure, the decempeda quadrata known as scripulum iugeri formed the smallest unit to be used in surveying = 1/2888 of the iugerum (8.76 m2). Measuring bars of more than ten foot have been recorded which were not referred to as decempeda.  Actus;  Iugerum;  Measures;  Pes;  Scripulum Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography F. Hultsch, Griech. u…

Antoninianus

(448 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] The modern technical term antoninianus refers to a second silver coin introduced alongside the denarius in AD 215 by Caracalla; it was named after his cognomen Antoninus [1]. The antoninianus, with a weight of about 5g, is 1 1/2 times as heavy as the denarius, but is traded as a double denarius [3.62 f.]. The external characteristic is the emperor's aureole and empress' bust on the half moon. Minting of the antoninianus stops under Macrinus in AD 217. After a brief resumption under Elagabalus in AD 218/219, it is only produced again as the main s…

Aure­us

(927 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] Gold coins; infrequent in republican Rome in contrast to the Hellenistic Kingdoms; used to supplement (cf. Liv. 27,10,11f.) the minting of silver coins when necessary. The first gold coins, which are known as oath scene stater [4. 144 fig. 28/1; 145 fig. 29/1] -- the sacrifice of a piglet depicted on the reverse refers to the conclusion of a treaty -- are generally assumed to have been minted in 216 BC. Another interpretation,   Au  Gq  De  Sq   S Du  As  Se  Qu Au       1     2   25   50 100 200 400 800 1600 Gq       2     1 121/2   25   50 100 200 400   800 De     25 121/2     1   …

Diobolon

(124 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (διώβολον; diṓbolon). Silver coin worth two   oboloí (= 1/3 drachma, e.g., according to the Attic coinage standard of 1.4 g. The diobolon occasionally has a value marker (ΔΙΩ, ΔΙΟ, Δ). The Attic diṓbola bear a head of Athena on the obv. and an owl with two bodies on the rev. In Athens during the classical period the diobolon was the amount that had to be paid for visiting the theatre (θεωρικόν) or was paid to a participant in the popular assembly (ἐκκλησιαστικόν).  Drachma;  Coinage, standards of;  Theorikon Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography Schrötter, 143f. M. …

Bigatus

(85 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] Ancient term (Plin. HN 33,46; Fest. p. 98 and 347B; Tac. Germ. 5; Liv. 23,15,15; 34,10,4. 7) for the denarius, with a carriage depicted on the reverse carrying a deity (Diana, Hercules, Luna, Victoria i.a.). In Livy (33,23,7. 9; 34,46,12; 36,21,11), a synonym for denarius ( argentum bigatum). Current opinion has the first bigatus coins minted from 189/180, and the last around 42 BC.  Denarius Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography R. Thomsen, Early Roman Coinage. A Study of the Chronology, 1-3, 1957-61, s.v. Bigatus RRC2, 613f., 630.

Demarateion

(192 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] Famous silver coin from Syracuse with a weight of 10 Attic drachmas or 50 litrai (42.3 gm). After the victory of Gelon I over the Carthaginians at Himera in 480 BC, the latter donated to his wife Demarete, who had pleaded for lenient treatment on their behalf, a gold crown worth 100 talents in gratitude (Diod. Sic. 10,26,3). Shortly after 480/479 BC the coins were minted from the proceeds and 18 copies are known to us today. The obverse shows a chariot driver on a quadriga, the horses of which …

Dekalitron

(94 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (δεκάλιτρον; dekálitron) Exceptionally in Sicily, the Corinthian stater is associated not with the Euboean stater, later equated with the Attic didrachmon and divided accordingly, but with the litron system specific to the island, ten silver litra being equal to one stater (= 8.73 g according to the Attic standard). The dekalitron, also minted in silver, corresponds to the value of ten pounds of copper (109.15 g weight), and to a proportion of 1:250.  Didrachmon;  Stater Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography F. Hultsch, Griech. und röm. Metrologie, …

Evarchidas

(55 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (Εὐαρχίδας; Euarchídas). Syracusan coin-engraver, who at the end of the 5th cent. BC signed tetradrachmas together with Phrygillos.  Tetradrachmon Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography L. Forrer, Biographical Dictionary of Medallists 2, s.v. E., 1904, 50-51 L. Tudeer, Die Tetradrachmenprägung von Syrakus in der Periode der signierenden Künstler, in: ZfN 30, 1913, 1-292, esp. 36ff., 228.

Ingots

(684 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) | Pingel, Volker (Bochum)
[German version] I. Eastern Mediterranean, Greece, and Rome Unworked metal of various weights cast into various shapes which has served since the Bronze Age as raw material for further processing or as a pre-monetary method of payment. From earliest times gold, silver, and electrum occur in the eastern Mediterranean as crude lumps, small round ingots (perhaps crucible remnants), and round or shaped bars with division notches. Alloyed bronze, tin, and particularly copper appear as crude lumps, round ingo…

Amma

(97 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (ἄμμα; ámma). According to Hero of Alexandria, amma is the Greek term for a probably Egyptian measure of length which was derived from the string or the rope (ἄμμα). It is equivalent to 40 Egyptian cubits, namely c. 21 m (1 cubit = about 52.5 cm).  Hero;  Measures;  Pechys Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography F. Hultsch, Griech. und röm. Metrologie, 21882 Id., s. v. Amma, RE I 2, 1841 W. Helck, s. v. Maße und Gewichte, LÄ 3, 1199-1214 O. A. W. Dilke, Mathematik, Maße und Gewichte in der Ant., 1991 E. Roik, Das Längenmaßsystem im Alten Ägypten, 1993, 6-25.

Choinix

(172 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (χοῖνιξ; choînix). Greek term for a dry measure, especially for grain. Depending on the region, a choinix amounted to 1.01 l (Attica), 1.1 l (Aegina) or 1.52 l (Boeotia, Laconia). Under the Ptolemies, a choinix was equivalent to 0.82 l. The measure was based on the idea of the daily ration for a man. As a rule four kotylai (in late Egypt three) amounted to one choinix, whilst eight choinikes made a hekteus and 48 choinikes one medimnos (= 48.48 l or a maximum 72.96 l). According to Viedebantt the choinix amounted to 0.906 l. Nissen gives the Attic choinix in the time of …

Owls (coins)

(159 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] The first coins with an owl as motif were minted in Athens from c. 575 BC on as incusum quadratum in electrum and silver [1. table 1], later (from c. 525 BC on) as a reverse motif with an obverse image of Athena in the Attic standard of coinage [1. table 2; 2. 44ff.]. Minting in bronze with this motif, beginning in the 3rd cent. BC, replaced the silver coins from 78/7 BC onward [3. 42] and ended in the middle of the 2nd cent. AD [1. table 88]. Elektron; Incusum quadratum; Coinage, standards of Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography 1 J.N. Svoronos, B. Pick, Corpus of the a…

Aes rude

(319 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] Raw copper or raw ore which is available as whole or broken bars, plates or as regulus, but most of all as rough lumps ( raudera, aes infectum; Fest. 321/322) [1]. Sometimes bearing small grooved or punched marks, it is used as a means of exchange alongside cattle ( pecus   pecunia ) in the barter economies of central and southern Italy as well as Sicily in the early 1st millennium up to the end of the 4th cent. BC [1.280 f.; 4.15; 7.228 f.]. The amount to be paid is weighed on scales. The mancipatio, i.a., is regarded as the oldest evidence, where the libripens had to weigh the co…

Calibration

(652 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] In Greece, the authority over calibration as well as the control over official measures and weights lay in the hands of the agoranómoi, although from the mid 4th cent. BC at the latest there is evidence that assistant officials called metronómoi were in charge of these affairs. Fireproof moulds for weights were kept in the office of the market official or the scale master ( zygostátēs). Weights were poured from bronze or lead under official supervision and then were handed over to shops and to the authorities. The weights came in varying shapes…

Denarius

(630 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] Standard Roman silver coin, worth 10 asses ─ hence the ancient term ‘tenner’ ─, later 16 asses. Named δηνάριον ( dēnárion) in Greek. After the breakdown of the gold system during the Second Punic War, the denarius was introduced between 214 and 211 BC, together with the fractional pieces quinarius (1/2 denarius) and sestertius (1/4 denarius), as the new prime monetary unit (with a value marking of X or ) to replace the quadrigatus. With a weight of 4 scrupula ( c. 4.55 gm = 1/72 of a Roman pound of 327.45 gm) the denarius corresponded to 10 sextantal asses and departed from …

Dodekadrachmon

(86 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (only adjective δωδεκάδραχμος; dōdekádrachmos). Silver twelve drachmas coin that was minted in northern Greece in the Attic standard and in Ptolemaic Egypt and in Carthaginian Sicily with a weight of 44,3-45,5 g.  Drachma;  Coinage, standards of Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography Schrötter, 150 M. N. Tod, Epigraphical Notes on Greek Coinage, in: NC 6.20, 1960, 1-24 G. K. Jenkins, Coins of Punic Sicily, in: SNR 57, 1978, 5-68, especially 36ff. J. M. Jones, A dictionary of Ancient Greek coins, 1986, 81 O. Mørkholm, Early Hellenistic coinage, 1991, 106.

Dodrans

(112 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] In the Roman system of weights and measures the dodrans denotes 3/4 (9/12) of the whole unit (the whole dempto quadrante). The dodrans was used in measuring length ( pes) and surface area ( iugerum), in laws of inheritance and obligations and in calculating time. Based on the Roman pound ( libra: 327,45 gm), it weighed 245,59 gm [1. 150]. The dodrans appeared as a coin under M. Metellus in 127 BC (bust of Vulcanus/Prora), as also a year later under C. Cassius, together with the Bes, minted in bronze with the value marking S [2. 288; 290].  Bes;  Iugerum;  Libra;  Pes Mlasowsk…

Aroura

(130 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (ἄρουρα; ároura). Actually denoting ‘earth’ or ‘agricultural land’, aroura is the Greek term for the Egyptian Sett (arable land). As a measure of area, the aroura represents a square with sides of 100 cubits (each measuring 52.5 cm), thus 2,756 m2. The measure originates in the pharaonic period (attested since the 4th dynasty), and continues in use under the Ptolemies and the Romans in Egypt as a measure of land area. In Roman Palestine the aroura corresponds to two Roman iugeraiugum , 5,046 m2). The aroura is subdivided down to 1/4,096.  Iugerum;  …
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