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Mina

(393 words)

Author(s): Hitzl, Konrad (Tübingen) | Huß, Werner (Bamberg)
[German version] [1] Unit of weight and coinage The mina (μνᾶ/ mná), with its multiples and divisions, was the most common Greek unit of weight alongside the stater. It was set on the one hand by the theoretical weight of the drachma coin minted in the city concerned, and on the other hand by the number of Drachmai which equated to a mina. The view long current in research that every mina weighed 100 drachmai, has been refuted. On Aegina, the mina (coin and weight) amounted to 70 drachmai (70×6.237 g = 436.6 g); the Corinthian mina was probably commensurate to it, equating to 150 drachmai (150×2.91…

Al-Mīnā

(85 words)

Author(s): Klengel, Horst (Berlin)
[German version] Location at the mouth of the Orontes river where, in the 2nd millennium BC, the port of the city  Alalach was located. The town continued to exist for several centuries even after the demise of the port (around 1200 BC). Once  Seleucia (Pieria) was established as the port of  Antioch [1], Al-Mīnā was no longer significant. Excavations show that it was a Phoenician-Aramaic settlement that had contact with  Cyprus and the Aegean world. Klengel, Horst (Berlin) Bibliography A. Nunn, RLA 8, 1994, 208 f.

Weights

(2,896 words)

Author(s): Sallaberger, Walther (Leipzig) | Felber, Heinz (Leipzig) | Hitzl, Konrad (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In Mesopotamia and its neighbouring regions, weights were made of stone (primarily haematite [Haematite], or else limestone and others) or metal (bronze, copper), often in the form of a barleycorn or a loaf, or figuratively as a duck (3rd to 1st millennia), and in Assyria from the 1st millennium also as a lion. Weights could be inscribed with a numerical value with or without indicating the unit, as well as with an inscription of a ruler, an institution, or an offic…

Menetekel

(128 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] Properly Mene-tekel-ufarsin, a cryptic Aramaic inscription in the literary context of Dan 5:25-28 (within an Aramaic apocalypse in Dan 2-7), written by a supernatural hand on the wall of the palace during a banquet given by Belsazar, the heir to the Babylonian throne. The elements of this writing have been interpreted as cuneiform signs for weights (Neo-Babylonian manû‘mina’, šiqlu‘shekel’; mišlu/ zūzu‘half’/‘to share’), or as Aramaic terms in cuneiform script, in the order mina, shekel, half-shekel. Daniel interpreted the writing as a play on the words manû ‘to c…

Stater

(341 words)

Author(s): Hitzl, Konrad (Tübingen) | Klose, Dietrich (Munich)
(στατήρ/ statḗr). [German version] I. Weight In contrast to other Greek units of weight, the stater lacked an exactly defined norm. Instead, the term stater referred to the most common weight pieces at hand. In Athens, inscriptions on a few exemplars show that the stater was a two mina piece adorned by an astragal (Ornaments) with a relief. The Attic stater could be doubled or subdivided into fractions - attested are thirds, sixths and twelfths, but also fourths, eighths and sixteenths. Peculiar is that the mina [1] was not understood to be half a stater but was seen as an independent u…

Quiza

(104 words)

Author(s): Huß, Werner (Bamberg)
[German version] City in Mauretania Caesariensis, northeast of Portus [5] Magnus on the right bank of the Oued Chelif (Plin. HN 5,19: Q. Cenitana; Ptol. 4,2,3: Κούϊζα κολωνία/ Koúïza kolōnía;  It. Ant. 13,9: Q. municipium), modern El-Benian. Duumviri are attested for AD 128 (CIL VIII 2, 9697); there is also mention of a disp( unctor) reip( ublicae) Q( uizensium) ('comptroller of the city of Q.', CIL VIII 2, 9699). Inscriptions: CIL VIII 2, 9697-9703; suppl. 3, 21514 f. Significant ruins survive. Huß, Werner (Bamberg) Bibliography AAAlg, leaf 11, no. 2  P. Cadenat, Q. et Mina ..., in:…

Talent

(445 words)

Author(s): Hitzl, Konrad (Tübingen)
[German version] (τάλαντον/ tálanton; Latin talentum). The talent was the biggest Greek unit of measurement for the monetary system and for commercial weights. Thus, the word tálanton was used in the Greek Bible translation as a synonym for the highest weight level of the Hebrew text (Hebrew kikkar, cf. 2 Sam 12,30; 1 Kings 9,14; 9,28 et alibi; cf. Mt 25,14-30), without any connection to its actual weight. A talent was always worth 60 minai ( mína [1]) regardless of their weight. The silver coin-talents from Aegina, Euboea, Attica and probably Corinth, too, consistently…

Siglos

(655 words)

Author(s): Klose, Dietrich (Munich)
[German version] (Greek σίγλος/ síglos, σίκλος/ síklos, or neuter σίκλον/ síklon; Latin siclus, sicel, from Akkadian šiqlu = shekel, Hebrew לקש). Ancient oriental weight, 1/60 of a light or heavy mina [1], or 1/50 of a mina among Jews (Ez 45,12) and Greeks, where 1 mina was the equivalent of 100 drachmai. As a coin standard, siglos was the name of various silver coins. The autonomous large silver coins of the Phoenician cities were sigloi as tetradrachms (Tetradrachmon), e.g. in Sidon (units of coins from 2 down to 1/64 siglos) and Tyre (units of coins from 1 down to 1/24 siglos), which were m…

Dareikos

(318 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover)
[German version] (δαρεικός, δαρικός, δαριχός, dareikós, darikós, darichós). Greek name, deriving from Darius I, (Hdt. 4,166; 7,28f.; Thuc. 8,28) for the generally bean-shaped gold coins (στατήρ, statḗr) of the Great King of Persia. The occasionally used terms dareikoi Philippeioi and argypoi dareikoi are incorrect. The first coins, minted in c. 515 BC and the same weight as the kroiseios ( c. 8.05g), which did not replace the latter until 30 years after the fall of the Lydian Empire, show a symbolic representation of the Persian king on the obverse ─ kne…

Šiqlu

(269 words)

Author(s): Klose, Dietrich (Munich)
[German version] Akkadian word for an ancient oriental weight from which the Hebrew term shekel and síglos (Siclus) derive, 1/60 of the manû (Mina [1]) and 1/3600 of a biltu (Talent). The šiqlu is recorded in hundreds of cuneiform accounts from the 3rd mill. BC onwards. In the Mesopotamian system of weights the manû weighed 499.98 g, the šiqlu 8.333 g [3. 510]. A shekel of 11.4 g, corresponding to the Phoenician shekel [2. 21], is recorded in Judaea and Samaria in c. 738 BC [1. 612]. The Persians adopted the Babylonian system; under Darius [1] I, the manû was increased to 504 g, and the šiqlu…

Lytron

(274 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (λύτρον/ lýtron, mostly used in the plural λύτρα/ lýtra). The ransom for prisoners of war was called lytron in Greek (similarly: ἄποινα/ ápoina). The expression was also used for buying the freedom of victims of piracy. Buying the freedom of prisoners was, alongside exchanging prisoners, enslaving or killing, a common practice in Greek warfare from Homeric (Hom. Il. 6,425ff.; 11,106) to Hellenistic times. According to Ducrey [1], selling into slavery was, of course, more common than buying a person's f…

Ugaritic

(259 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Term for a Semitic language, named after Ugarit, an important city and centre of the northern Syrian city state of the same name. The city of Ugarit was only discovered in 1928. Other than in Ugarit, texts written in Ugaritic have been found in Mīnā al-Baiḍā (the port of Ugarit), Ras Ibn Hāni and sporadically in other places, including Cyprus. Ugaritic represents an independent branch of the Semitic language family. Its precise classification is disputed by scholars of the Sem…

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…

Daneion

(318 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (δάνειον; dáneion). The  loan, limited assignment of fungible goods (in kind or money) was an everyday way of doing business throughout the regions inhabited by the Greeks. It took place between private individuals as well as in public life. The lenders were often banks or temples and the borrowers often states, which often also owed debts to private individuals (e.g. IG VII 3172: Orchomenus is indebted to Nicareta). This practise was generally known as daneion, but sometimes   chrḗsis was used; the   eranos loan is a special type. The daneion was set up with a fixed r…

Cesnola Painter

(187 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Named after his geometric krater, formerly in the Cesnola collection (h. 114.9 cm with lid, from Kourion/Cyprus, now in New York, MMA, Inv. 74. 51. 965;  Geometric pottery). The work of the anonymous vase painter combines motifs from the Middle East with those from mainland Greece and the Greek islands. In the past, both the unusual form of the eponymous krater and the combination of decorative motifs led to discussion as to its date and origin, but these are now confirmed by ana…

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…

Seisachtheia

(329 words)

Author(s): Osborne, Robin (Oxford)
[German version] (σεισάχθεια; s eisáchtheia). Greek authors used the term seisachtheia (lit.'shaking off of burdens') from at least the 4th cent. BC to denote the abolition or mitigation of debts by Solon [1]. The portrayal of Solon's measures in Aristotle suggests that the word was in general use in the 4th cent. (Aristot. Ath. pol. 6,1). While according to Androtion (FGrH 324 F 34; Plut. Solon 15,4), it was coined by those who had been freed from part of their debts by means of a reduction in interest, D…

Emporion

(522 words)

Author(s): von Reden, Sitta (Bristol)
[German version] Although ἐμπόριον ( empórion, Lat. emporium) could originally be translated by ‘port/trading centre’, there arise a variety of problems of definition because of the changing meaning in antiquity due to regional differences and historical developments, and this caused the term to become a reflection of economic and cultural structures. Consequently, in modern research emporion is neither used as a topographical term, or as a distinct form of settlement, nor as a well-defined economic institution, but only to cover some fundamental, distinctive features: 1. An empo…

Coinage, standards of

(821 words)

Author(s): Stumpf, Gerd (Munich)
Relates to the systems of weights upon which ancient coinage was based. [German version] A. Greece In the Greek coinage system ( Money;  Minting), there were various standards; however, the designations of the nominal values and  weights were uniform and usually had the following ratios: 1  talent = 60 minai, 1  mina = 50 staters, 1  stater = 2 drachmas, 1  drachma = 6  oboloi [1. 159]. The determination of ancient standards of coinage is based on the average weight of the largest possible number of well-preser…

Ugarit

(546 words)

Author(s): Tropper, Joseph (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Ḫattusa | Mesopotamia | Aegean Koine ( Ras Šamra) is the name of an ancient city on the Syrian coast (11 km north-east of al-Lāḏiqīya), which was discovered in 1928. U. was continuously inhabited from c. 6500 to c. 1180 BC. The strategically advantageous position at the intersection of trade routes from the north (Asia Minor) to the south (Palaestina, Egypt) and from west (Cyprus, Mediterranean world) to east (Mesopotamia) facilitated the growth of U. into a significant commercia…
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