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Xestes

(129 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] (ξέστης/ xéstēs). From the turn from the 3rd cent. BC to the 2nd onwards, the term xestes is recorded as a Greek term for the Roman sextarius , a fluid and dry measure of capacity (=  c. 0.546 l) corresponding to 1/48 of an amphora [2], 1/6 of a congius or 2 heminae , 4 quartarii and 12 cyathi . In late Antiquity Egypt, 72 xestai/ sextarii corresponded to an artábē, which was subdivided into 48 choínikes. Hence a choínix can be equated with 11/2 xestai/ sextarii. Sextarius (with table) Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim) Bibliography 1 H. Chantraine, s. v. X., RE 9 A, 210…

Parasanges

(75 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] (παρασάγγης; parasángēs). Babylonian-Assyrian and Persian measurement of length, equal to 30 stadia (cf. Hdt. 2,6,3; Xen. An. 5,5,4) or 10,800 royal cubits, the equivalent of c. 5.7km. According to Herodotus, roads as well as those areas of land included in the tax land register were measured in parasangs in the kingdoms of the Ancient Near East (Hdt. 6,42,2). Stadion [1] Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim) Bibliography F. Hultsch, Griechische und römische Metrologie, 21882, 476ff.

Mensor

(294 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] was the Latin term for technical experts who carried out measurements in the broadest sense of the word. Mensores agrarii ( agrimensores, geometrae, gromatici, surveyor) were responsible in both civil and military domains for marking out surfaces, laying out roads, aqueducts, and building camps. This activity gained great importance during the 1st cent. BC, as a consequence of the allocation of land to veterans. According to the representation on the gravestone of L. Aebutius Faustus (CIL V 6786 = ILS 7736), their main instrument was the groma. Mensores aedificiorum

Sicilicus

(154 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] (also quartuncia = 1/4 uncia ; Greek σικελικός/ sikelikós). Roman unit of 1/48 of a larger whole. As a weight the sicilicus corresponds to 1/48 of a libra [1] = 6,82 g and hence 11/2 sextulae , as a length 1/48 of a pes = c. 6 mm, as an area 1/48 of a iugerum = 52,5 m2, as a time unit 1/48 of an hora (hour) = 11/4 minutes (Plin. HN 18,324). In the imperial monetary system of the Greek East the sicilicus was synonymous with the assárion . In the late Roman and Byzantine systems of weights the sicilicus was equivalent to 6 scripula (value mark VI or Ε; scripulum ) or 11/2 solidi (Solidus). I…

Quincunx

(173 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] The quincunx ( quinque unciae; Greek πεντόγκιον/ pentónkion) was a Roman measure equalling 5/12 of a larger unit, also in the sense of 5% in interest or an inheritance. As a measure of weight it corresponds to 5/12 libra = 136,4 g, as one of area to 5/12 iugerum = 1051 m2, as one of volume 5/12 sextarius = 0·23 l. Because of its exceptional position within the usual duodecimal system, weights of this value are extraordinarily rare. Examples from the Roman period bear the value mark IIIII (CIL XIII 10030,36) or V, pieces from the Byzantine period Γ-Ε. The quincunx as a bronze…

Cardo, kardo

(377 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] The point around which something rotates; technical term in Roman land-surveying ( limitatio); within the rectangular grid of the survey, it refers to the horizontal lines ( limites). Originally, it was a cosmological term, referring to the pivotal point of the uni- verse; later, it was used to describe the north-south axis -- in contrast with the east-west axis of the   decumanus , which divided the world into two halves, one of sunrise and one of sunset, or one of day and one of night [1. 147]. In gromatic theory ( Surve…

Spithame

(112 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] (σπιθαμή/ spithamḗ, handspan). Greek unit of length taken from the proportions of the human body, extending between the tips of the thumb and little finger, equal to 1/2 pchys , i.e. 3 palaistaí ( palaist ) or 12 dáktyloi dáktylos [1]. Depending on the underlying foot size ( pous ), its length was c. 20-26 cm. According to a metrological relief from the island Salamis [1], the Attic spithame was 24,3 cm long. There was no unit of length corresponding to spithame in the Roman measurement system. Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim) Bibliography 1 K. W. Beinhauer (ed.),…

Sextarius

(163 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] (later Greek ξέστης/ xéstēs, 'a sixth'). Roman unit of fluid and dry capacity equalling 1/48 of an amphora [2], 1/6 of a congius, 2 heminae , 4 quartarii and 12 cyathi (Cyathus [2]; see table); a sextarius corresponds to approximately 0,546 l. As a measure of volume sextarius also occurs on ancient measuring vessels. Colloquially sextarius was also used for 1/6 of anything. The sextarius was the largest measure of both fluid and dry capacity; higher units had distinct names. Roman units of fluid and dry capacity and their relationships: sextarius      Unit:     cyathus  …

Leuga

(360 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] Gallo-Roman unit of measurement of Celtic origin for measuring and displaying distances on roads in Aquitania from the 2nd cent. AD and in the other Gaulish as well the two German provinces from the beginning of the 3rd cent. One leuga is equivalent to 1.5 Roman miles and corresponds to c. 2,200 m. Whilst in the 1st and 2nd cents. in these provinces the distance indications on the miliaria ( Milestones) were provided exclusively in Roman miles (abbreviation M P = milia passuum), the measures generally appeared in leugae (abbreviation L) from the time of Septimius Sev…

Pondo

(45 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] Fossilised ablative of limitation of Latin pondus, -i, 'in weight'. Often used instead of libra [1] as a basic Roman unit of weight in the sense 'at a weight of 1 pound'. Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim) Bibliography F. Hultsch, Griechische und römische Metrologie, 21882.

Ulna

(111 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] (ὠλένη/ ōlénē, literally 'elbow'). A measure of length based on one of the proportions of the human body which appears primarily in poetry (cf. e.g. Hor. Epod. 4,8; Verg. Ecl. 4,105; Verg. G. 3,355); its extent is inconsistent. Whereas the term is occasionally used as a synonym for cubitus (ell = 11/2 feet), it is also found in Plinius [1] the Elder as a translation of ὄργυια/ órgyia (fathom = 6 feet; cf. Plin. HN 36,87 with Hdt. 2,148,7), the length a human can span with both arms (Plin. HN 16,133; 16,202). Use as an official measure of length is improbable. Schulzki, Heinz-Jo…

Libra

(249 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] [1] Unit of weight (also pondus, ‘pound’, metonymic ‘what has been weighted’; Greek equivalent: λίτρα/ lítra). Terminus technicus for the unit of weight of 327,45 g of the Roman measuring system; a libra corresponds to the as , which in the duodecimal system was divided into 12 unciae of 27,28g [2. 706 fig. XIII]. The standard very likely remained unchanged until early Byzantine times, as evidenced by weighing coins of precious metals and silver implements. [3. 222]. As weights, we find librae of bronze and of lead, also of stone. They are to be differentiated…

Pechys

(137 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] (πῆχυς; pêchys). Greek measure of length derived from the proportions of the human body, from the tip of the longest finger to the elbow ('ell' or 'cubit', Latin Cubitus), equal to 2 σπιθαμαί ( spithamaí/'handspans' ), 6 παλαισταί ( palaistaí/'handbreadths'; cf. Latin Palmus) as well as 24 δάκτυλοι ( dáktyloi/'fingerbreadths'; cf. Latin digitus), corresponding to 1 1/2 feet (cf. Vitr. De arch. 3,1,8). Depending on the foot measure (Pous) that was used, its length was c. 40-52 cm. According to a metrological relief from the island of Salamis, the Attic pechys measured …

Medimnos

(102 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] (μέδιμνος; médimnos) is the largest Greek unit of measurement for dry substances, with a volume of 6 hekteis ( Hekteus), equivalent to 48 choinikes ( Choinix) and 192 kotylai ( Kotyle [2]). According to Hultsch, it equals c. 52.5 l, according to Nissen c. 51.8 l with considerable regional differences. Measures of volume Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim) Bibliography 1 F. Hultsch, Griechische und römische Metrologie, 21882, 108, 703 tab. X 2 M. Lang, M. Crosby, Weights, Measures and Tokens (The Athenian Agora 10), 1964, 41ff. 3 H. Nissen, Griechische und römische M…

Quadrantal

(177 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] The quadrantal (cubic foot) was the basic Roman unit of volume (Measure of volume) for liquids, identical in measurement to the amphora [2], equal to 2 urnae, 8 congii, 48 sextarii, 96 heminae, 192 quartarii etc. (cf. table). Calibrated to water, the quadrantal was equal to 80 librae (1 libra = 327.45 g), i.e. 26.2 litres. The quadrantal was probably standardized in the late 3rd cent. BC by a lex Silia de mensuris et ponderibus (Fest. 288). The Roman measures of volume and their relationships     Unit of volume    acetabulum     quartarius     hemina     sextarius    …

Sextula

(144 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] ('A small sixth' = 1/6 of the u ncia ; cf. Varro Ling. 5,171: aeris minima pars sextula, quod sexta pars unciae). Roman unit of measurement constituting 1/72 of a bigger whole. As unit of weight, the sextula corresponds to 1/72 of the libra [1] = 4,55 g, as unit of area to 1/72 of the iugerum = 35 m2. In the Late Roman and Byzantine weight system, the sextula was equivalent to four scripula (value symbol Δ; scripulum ) or one solidus (value symbol N). Sextula also appears as part of the declared weight on silver crockery from Late Antiquity (CIL XIII 3100,5; 10026,25; 29a). Schulzki…

Iugerum

(232 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] Latin name for a square measure comprising a rectangle of 120 × 240 feet = 35,52 × 71,04 m = 2523 m2 = 1/4 ha, made up of two squares ( Actus [2]) [1. 84f.; 3. 9f.], according to Plin. HN 18,3,9 the area which could be ploughed in one day by one yoke of oxen, in a figurative sense a ‘day's work’. Division according to the duodecimal system into 2 actus, 12 unciae, 288   scripula , with 1 scripulum corresponding to 100 square feet. A full calculation of the sub-units is given by Columella 5,1,4-5,2,10 [2. 627]. Varro, Rust. 1,10,2 mentions   heredium (2 I.), centuria (200 I.) and   sa…

Kados

(128 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] (κάδος; kádos, Latin cadus, ‘jug, pail’). Graeco-Latin term for a vessel, usually earthen, for storing fluids. In Athens, kados was also the term for the biggest unit in the measure of volume, synonymous with metretes, equal to 39,4 l. [1. 101-102; 703 table X A]. In Rome, kados was the measure of Greek wines, as opposed to Italian wines, which were measured by the amphora [2]. In Roman literature, kados is a technical term for wine jug, often used metonymically for wine by the poets of the Augustan period. Records show that satirists also used the…

Hekte

(190 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] (ἕκτη; héktē). Greek term for the sixth of a unit. Nominal term for the electrum staters ( Stater) of Cyzicus (inscription IG I2 199; 203), Mytilene and Phocaea made of a gold-silver alloy. In addition, series from the 7th to the 5th cents. BC have been found from indeterminate minting sites of Asia Minor that were launched according to the Milesian, Phocaean and Samian-Euboean standard [3. 7-17]. The coins of Mytilene and Phocaea made in the gold-silver ratio of 1:131/3 [1. 55] as joint mintings according to the coinage agreement of 394 BC [2. 29] corresp…

Hemina

(166 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] ( emina). Latin term adopted from the Greek (ἡμίνα; hēmína) for a measure of volume for liquids and dry goods in the volume of 1/96  amphora, 1/32  modius, 1/2  sextarius, corresponding to 2  quartarii, 4  acetabula, 6  cyathi. It corresponds to 0.273 l; calibrated in relation to water, there are 10 ounces to 1 hemina. Widespread as a measurement for drinks - comparable with ‘half a pint’ in comedy and in other writers [1. 2602-2604] as well as a quantity indicator in recipes in Caelius Apicius [2. 99-100; 3. 143]. As an oil measure, hemina describes by the name λιτραῖ…
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