Unit of weight in ancient Greece: the main measures of mass

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Unit of weight in ancient Greece: the main measures of mass
Unit of weight in ancient Greece: the main measures of mass
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Practically all countries of the modern world owe something to Ancient Greece. Pieces of culture, knowledge in science and everyday life, even certain worldviews of this ancient country were taken as the basis of most European, and not only, states. The history of this relatively small state is still interesting to study.

Temple of the Parthenon in Athens

Greek measures

As you know, each policy on the coast of the Aegean Sea was an original state formation, so the measurement systems had significant differences from each other. For a long time there was no clear and generally accepted structure of measures, and a single unit of weight in Greece simply did not exist. However, with the development of trade relations, there was a need for their generalization and standardization. So, in the VI century BC. two generally accepted monetary systems were formed - Euboean (it was used in the Aegean) and Aegina (became popular in the Peloponnese). Over time, Athens switched to the Euboean system, and from the moment the Athenian Maritime was formed, it formed the basis of the systemmeasures of the smaller city-states of the union.

Ancient Greeks

The advent of the mass counting measuring system

It is still unclear where the unit of weight came from in ancient Greece and where the measures for measuring and calculating the mass of loose and liquid bodies appeared. Most of the finds by archaeologists date back to the Late Bronze Age. A significantly smaller number of artifacts belongs to the early Bronze Age. Based on the data obtained during the excavations, the famous archaeologist Lorenz Ramstorff was able to suggest that the inhabitants of the ancient Greek state were significantly influenced by the Middle East. According to him, it was from there that the Greek measuring system was taken, in particular, the measure of weight in Ancient Greece. This happened around the 3rd century BC

Greek unit of weight

A clear structure of calculations and generally accepted names of measures did not appear immediately. The unit of weight in ancient Greece underwent significant changes and only eventually lined up in a fairly "harmonious" system. It was based on:

  • halq - was equal to 0.09 grams;
  • obol - was equal to 8 chalk and 0.71 grams;
  • diobol - consisted of 2 obols and was equal to 1.42 grams;
  • drachma - consisted of 3 diobols, equating to 4.25 grams;
  • tetradrachm - consisted of 4 drachmas and 17 grams.
  • mina - consisted of 25 tetradrachms and was equal to 425 grams.
  • talent - consisted of 60 minutes and was equal to 25.5 kilograms.

Such were the fewweights in Ancient Greece.

Bronze scales in ancient Greece

Trade relations

Weight units of ancient Greece formed the basis of all trade relations in the state. As you know, for the ancient Greeks, trade was one of the key aspects in the life of both urban residents and residents of the surrounding area. Overland trade, which occupies a dominant position, played a significant role. An important place was played by retail trade relations between the seller and the buyer - the sale and purchase of goods and food products, which were the main engine of trade.

In each Greek policy there was an area - an agora. Depending on the scale of the policy, there could be several areas. The agoras were of different orientations - for example, the fish agora was located next to the sea. The entire trade and money turnover took place on the squares: products were bought and sold, goods were exchanged, deals were concluded between the townspeople. Large vendors in the agora were assigned places to sell, smaller traders used prefabricated rows or tents.

Practiced was the distribution of goods in rows, these certain people were engaged. In trade, scales in the form of a yoke and lever type, standard weights made of lead or stone, and measuring vessels of various shapes and sizes were used.

There was a position for checking and supervising the trading process at the agora - an agronomist.

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