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Cyathus

(133 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] A jug or drinking vessel that, derived from Greek κύαθος, is especially a Roman measure of capacity for dry goods and liquids of 45.6 ml. The cyathus amounts to 1/12 of the sextarius (= 0,55 l). The number of cyathi drunk is counted as a multiple of uncia, e.g. four cyathi are called trientes (= 1/3 of the sextarius) or 11 cyathi are called deunx. According to a Roman custom popular at banquets, people had to drink as many cyathi as the number of letters in the name of the one to be honoured. Larger goblets were also used that were a multiple of the cyathus.  Deun…

Danake

(105 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (δανάκη; danákē). In ancient written sources (Hsch. 219; Poll. 9,82 i.a.) the danake is a silver Persian coin ─ the name derives from danak ─ which weighed slightly more than an Attic obolós ( c. 0.9g). Together with the silver half- danake (ἡμιδανάκιον; hēmidanákion), the danake should probably be linked to coins from Sidon (1/16 shekel) and Aradus, as a provincial coinage, since the coins are mainly found in the Levant. The danake was occasionally used as an obolos for the dead.  Charon's fare;  Obolos;  Siqlu Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography F. Hultsch, …

Chalkos

(128 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (χαλκοῦς; chalkoûs). In Pollux (4,175; 9,65f. 81) generally described as a bronze coin, the chalkous was the smallest fraction of a coin in Greek poleis. In Athens one obolos makes 8 [1. 47], in Delphi and Epidaurus 12 [1.56ff.], in Priene 16 chalkoi [1. 61f.]. The weight of the chalkos varied; the bronze coins from Seleucia/Tigris having an Χ (= Chalkos) under Antiochus IV weigh c. 2.8-5 g [2. 271f.]; a Neronian coin with the value marking ΧΑΛΚΟΥΣ in Antiochia/Orontes weighs c. 2.5 g [3].  Obolos Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography 1 M. N. Tod, Epigraphi…

Chous

(328 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) | Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
(χοῦς, χοεύς; choûs, choeús). [German version] [1] Jug or decanter Jug or decanter (height a little over 20 cm); used on the second day of the  Anthesteria during the wine-drinking competition. Probably used as a measure of volume for the prescribed quantity of wine. On Choes Day the three-year-old children receive a small choes decanter (H 6-8 cm) as a symbol of their entry into life. [2, 50f.; 1, 96ff.]. As a measure of volume for liquids the chous is divided into 12 kotylai and 72 kyathoi and amounts to 1/12 of the metretes. Depending on the region, the chous contained 4.56 l (Laconia), 3.…

Binio

(86 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] A double-sided aureus minted from about AD 210 with a weight of around 10-15 g; replaced by the double-sided solidus after the Constantine coin reform (AD 310).  Aureus;  Medaillon;  Coinage reforms;  Solidus Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography F. Kenner, Der röm. Medaillon, in: NZ 19, 1887, 1-173 especially 13-27 F. Gnecchi, I medaglioni romani, 1912 K. Menadier, Die Münze und das Münzwesen bei den Scriptores Historiae Augustae, in: ZfN 31, 1914, 1-144 especially 9-12 Schrötter, s.v. Binio, 75 J. M. C. Toynbee, W. E. Metcalf, Roman Medaillons, 19…

Damnatio memoriae

(602 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin) | Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] I. Historical Damnatio memoriae (DM) was the process of erasing from the (public) memory of a person (usually a Roman emperor) whose name and images are removed from public inscriptions and buildings. Underlying this measure was the religious assumption, widespread in the Roman-Hellenistic world, that meritorious rulers, like heroes, had come from the realm of the gods and returned there after their death (Cic. Rep., somnium Scipionis; Verg. Aen. 6,734ff.). If divine origin was not sufficiently evident in the successes, good deeds and virtues of…

Dextans

(139 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] In the Roman system of weights and measures, dextans describes 10/12 of the whole and is derived from deesse and sextans, i.e. 1 as (12 unciae) less 1 sextans. The dextans was used in the measurement of length ( pes), the measurement of area ( iugerum), in the law of succession and in the calculation of hours. Based on the Roman pound ( libra: 327.45 g), the dextans weighs 272.88 g [1. 296]. Bronze mintings of 10 unciae in the sextantal or somewhat lighter standard were issued in Luceria as a compensatory coin for the Roman as shortly after 211 BC for a…

Axum, Axomis

(1,158 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) | Pahlitzsch, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Arabia (Aksum). City on the Abyssinian plateau. Founded around the time of the birth of Christ, during the 1st cent. AD the kings of A. already managed to extend their area of influence as far as Adulis by the Red Sea. A. was Christianized by Alexandria under King Ēzānā in the mid 4th cent. In the 6th cent., King Kālēb Ella Aṣbeḥā conquered the kingdom of the Jewish king of the Ḥimyars, Yūsuf Asar Yaṯar (Ḏū-Nuwās) with Byzantine support. A. c…

Didrachmon

(179 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (δίδραχμον; dídrachmon). A unit of weight and a silver coin worth two drachmas, the didrachmon was the largest value in circulation, mostly struck in Asia Minor, southern Italy, Rome and part of Sicily, as well as Corinth, Elis and on Aegina, seldom in Athens, and rated variously at 12.48 g in Aegina, at 8.73 g in Attica or at the south Italian standard of 7.9 g, later 6.6 g. As a unit it represented a stater, so esp. for gold coinage. Rhodian 1st-cent. bronze coins and Neronian coins from Antioch on the Orontes bear the legend ΔΙΔΡΑΧΜΟΝ; DIDRACHMON [1; 2].  Drachma;  Stater Ml…

Eumenus

(133 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (Εὔμενος; Eúmenos). One of the earliest Syracusan stamp cutters, manufactured around 415-400 BC, initially influenced by Sosion, predominantly tetradrachmas of varying quality. E. signed alternately with Sosion, Phrygillus, Evaenetus and Euth[...]. In the older research he is occasionally referred to as Eumenes.  Evaenetus;  Phrygillus;  Sosion;  Tetradrachmon Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography R. Weil, Die Künstlerinschr. der sicilischen Münzen, in: 44. Winckelmannsprogramm der Arch. Ges. zu Berlin, 1884, esp. 5-7 L. Forrer, Biographic…

Exagium

(197 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (ἐξάγιον, στάγιον; exágion, stágion). Originally a Hellenistic coin weight (in Babylon with a weight of 17,00 g), the exagium is predominantly a coin weight for the solidus subsequent to Constantine's reforms (AD 312); within the Greek speaking population, it even became a synonym for the latter and was distorted to stágion. The equation was made easier by the fact that the solidus and the exagium had a weight of 1/72 of a libra (= 4.55 g), but the weight of the latter was reduced in the Byzantine era (from the 9th cent.: 4.43 g). Exagia take the shape of round or squa…

Culleus

(96 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] Culleus properly designates a leather sack made of cowhide; it was used by the Romans as the largest unit for measuring fluid capacity (especially with wine). Probably originally based on the volume of the stitched cowhide, the culleus amounts to 524 l; 20 amphorae, 40 urnae or 160 congii constitute the culleus, with 1 congius corresponding to 3,275 l.  Amphora;  Congius;  Measure of volume;  Urna Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography F. Hultsch, Griech. und röm. Metrologie, 21882 F. Olck, s.v. C. (no. 2), RE 4.2, 1901, 1746-1747 O. A. W. Dilke, Mathematik…

Dichalkon

(112 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (δίχαλκον; díchalkon). A Greek measure of weight and bronze coin worth twice as much as a chalkous. It corresponded to 1/4 (Athens), 1/6 (Delphi, Epidaurus) or 1/8 (Priene) of an obolos [1]. Variants of the mark of the value were e.g. B X (stamp of Antiochus IV, Seleucea on the Tigris at about 9.6 g) [2. 271f.] or ΔΙΧΑΛΚ(on) (stamp of Apollonia Pontica at 2.1 g) [3].  Chalkous;  Obolos Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography 1 M. N. Tod, Epigraphical Notes on Greek Coinage, in: NC 6.6, 1946, 47-62 2 E. T. Newell, The coinage of the Eastern Seleucid mints fr…

As

(1,075 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] Originally the expression for ‘one’ or ‘unit’; in the Roman system of measurement the basic unit in measures of length (1 pes = 29.57 cm), measures of area (1 iugerum = 2,523 m2) and of weight (1 libra, ‘pound’ = 327.45 g). In inheritance and property law the entire estate is called as; the heir to the estate is thus called heres ex asse. In the system of weights the as is divided duodecimally, some part units also representing denominations of coinage ( Aes grave). However the quincunx, bes, dodrans and dextans denominations occur infrequently [1. 39]. The earliest l…

Cistophori

(284 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] Silver coins minted with the reduced Chian-Rhodian or Ptolemaic weight standard of 12.75 g that Eumenes II issued as local currency between about 175-160 BC to substitute for Seleucid coins and the Philhetairos tetradrachmes [3. 62; 4. 10ff.; 5. 45ff.]. Borrowed from the mystery cult in Pergamum, the name refers to the obverse motif of the Dionysian cista mystica consisting of an ivy reef from which a snake appears. The reverse side shows a goryt with two snakes. Cistophori were minted at various times by the more important towns of …

Cubitus

(85 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] denotes the elbow, i.e. the forearm up to the tip of the middle finger and, along with the usual Roman unit of measurement, the pes, was used as the ‘ell’, amounting to 1 1/2 feet (444 mm). In Greek the cubitus is translated as πῆχυς ( pêchys) .  Measures;  Pes Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography F. Hultsch, Griech. und röm. Metrologie, 21882, 76f., 98 H. Nissen, Metrologie2 = HB Altertumswiss. I2, 1892, 838, 865 A. Oxé, Die röm. Meile eine griech. Schöpfung, BJ 131, 1926, 213-244, especially 233ff.

Daktylos

(162 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
(δάκτυλος; dáktylos). [German version] [1] Measure of length The daktylos, Latin digitus, as a measure, is the term for the fingers' width, with four dáktyloi constituting a palm (παλαιστή; palaistḗ, Latin palmus), 16 daktyloi a foot (πούς; poús, Latin pes) and only in Greece 12 daktyloi making a span (σπιθαμή; spithamḗ). In Rome however the daktylos can also, according to the duodecimal system, be equated with the uncia and be counted up to the as (= pes). The guide for the daktylos is the foot that measures between 29.4 and 35.4 cm. It therefore fluctuates between 1.84 and…

Bes

(330 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin)
[German version] [1] Roman coinage In the Roman system of weights and measures the bes ( binae partes assis) represents 2/3 (8/12) of the as and, on the basis of the Roman pound (327.45 g), weighs 218.30 g [1. 72]. In Roman minting the bes was stamped with S as its symbol of value; only issued by C. Cassius in 126 BC in bronze (with the head of Liber/ prora) [2. 290].  As;  Small coin, shortage of;  Libra Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) Bibliography 1 Schrötter, s.v. Bes 2 M. H. Crawford, Roman Republican Coinage, 21987. [German version] [2] Dwarfish Egyptian god with hideous face (Egyptia…
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