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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.

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…

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…

Centenionalis

(183 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] Roman copper coin, following the AD 356 edict of Constantius II and Julian equated with the colloquially named maiorina (Cod. Theod. 9,23,1), and decreed by a law of AD 349 to be of copper and silver (Cod. Theod. 9,21,1). Minting of what was then known exclusively as the centenionalis ceased in the West by an edict of Honorius and Arcadius of AD 395 (Cod. Theod. 9,23,2), but it continues in the East until about AD 425. The three denominations introduced in the coinage reform of AD 348, of copper with a maximum of 3.0 per cent silver, weigh c. 5.25 g, 4.25 g and 2.5 g, but the…
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