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Talent

money, weight, standard, silver, attic and commercial

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TALENT (vciaarrov) was the highest denomination of Greek weights and money, and was also commonly used by Greek writers as the translation of words signifying a certain weight in other languages. It is necessary to observe that the talent is properly only a denomina tion of weight. There was no coin of that name ; and when used in reference to money, it meant originally a talent-weight of gold or silver, and afterwards a certain quantity of current money, the weight of which (supposing the real and nominal value of the coin to be the same) amounted to a talent.

I. The HeGrem Talent, or Kirkar (74 ), contained 3000 shekels, and, according to Mr. Hussey's computation, its weight was 93 lbs. 12 ozs avoirdupois, and its value as silver-money 396/. 5s. 10d. [SnricEL.] The Hebrews had no gold money of their own.

II. The Greek Talent.—The following were the principal denomina tions of weight and money among the Greeks :-613oAcir, apavrh, ref.Aarror, of which the OBoatir was the smallest. Their relative pro portions are shown in the annexed table :— when actually made, to be a little too light, namely, in the ratio of 722 : 100, or, in round numbers, 73 : 100 to the old money, instead of 75 : 100 ; but a further investigation has led him to conclude that the true reason was to bring the new system into a defiffite proportion with the rEginetan which prevailed widely in Greece, and this pro portion is as 3 : 5.

The Romans reckoned both the Attic and Euboic talents as equal to 80 Roman pounds (compare .Polyb. xxi. 14, with rail. 26, and Liv. xxxvii. 45. with xxxviii. 3S).

The Attic commercial standard underwent an alteration by the edict above referred to, which made its mina = 150 drachma; (silver) its 5 mime = 6 mime (commercial) its talent = 65 mina:, (commercial) In this new standard the five-minas weight was equal to 71b. 134 oz. 14'96 grs , and the talent to 85 lbs. 2i. oz. 701 grs.

The Athenians took the greatest care of their standards of weight. The principal set were lodged in the Acropolis, and there were other sets in the Prytaneum, at Piraeus, and at Eleusis.

The highest coin used by the Athenians was the tetradrachm, or piece of four drachma; the mina and talent were never coined, but were paid in drachma, oboli, &e. The following table shows the value of all the denominations of Attic silver money, according to the com putations of Mr. Hussey :— This system prevailed throughout Greece, but the actual values of the talent varied in different states. Most of these variations may be included under two chief standards, namely, the Attic and rEginetan.

I. The Attic Talent.—The value of the Attic talent before the time of Solon is a matter on which we possess little historical information, though there is no doubt that previous to Solon the Euboic talent was in use, and coins exist which are held to belong to that period. After Solon had remodelled the coinage, the Attic silver money was celebrated for its purity; and therefore from the coins of that period which still exist we may determine the value of the standard with tolerable certainty. Now the chief coin was the drachma of silver, the average weight of which, from the time of Solon to that of Alexander the Great, is found to be grains. From this we get the following values in avoirdupois weight :— lb. or gr.

• Obol . . . . . .. 11.09 Drachma . . . . 66.5 Mina .. 15 63.75 Talent . . . 56 151 100.32 This was the standard always used for silver money, and was there fore called " the silver standard." Besides this there was another standard, the chief weight of which was called the commercial mina (ij Ara ii invoinorh), and contained 138 drachmae, "according to the standard weights in the silver mint" (see a decree in Bockh, Corp. Inserip.', i 123, § 4); that is, not that a commercial mina contained 138 commercial drachmae, but that this was quite a different standard from that used for silver money, its unit being to that of the latter in the ratio of 138: 100 ; while the rrlatire proportions of the weights were the same in both systems. The following table shows the value of the Attic commercial standard :— lb. or gr.

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