#### QUADRANTAL

**QUADRANTAL**or

**AMPHORA QUADRANTAL**, or AMPHORA only, was the principal Roman measure of capacity for fluids. (Amphora was the later name for the quadrantal, and is not found as a measure earlier than

**Cic. Font. 9**,

**19**; cf. Fest. p. 258, “quadrantal vocabant antiqui, quam ex Graeco amphoram dicunt” ; so also Volus. Maecian.

__Dist. Part.__79, “quadrantal, quod nunc plerique amphoram vocant.” This was in the middle of the 2nd century A.D.) All the Roman measures of capacity were founded on weight, and thus the amphora was originally the space occupied by eighty pounds of wine.

There is also preserved to us by Festus (s. v. Publica
Pondera, p. 246) a plebiscitum [LEX SILIA] of unknown date, regulating the weights
and measures, to the following effect:--“Ex ponderibus publicis,
quibus hac tempestate populus oetier (uti) solet, uti coaequetur
sedulum, uti quadrantal vini octoginta pondo siet: congius vini decem p.
(i.e. pondo) siet: sex sextari congius siet
vini; duodequinquaginta sextari quadrantal siet vini:” --that is,
that the quadrantal should contain 80 pounds of
wine,^{1} and the congius 10; and that the
sextarius should be 1-6th of the congius, and 1-48th of the quadrantal. The quadrantal was subdivided into 2 urnae, 8 congii, 48
sextarii,
96 heminae, 192 quartarii,
384 acetabula, 576 cyathi, and 2304 *ligutae.* As compared
with the Roman dry measure, the quadrantal was
three times the [p. 2.531]modius. The only measure larger than the quadrantal was the culleus of 20
amphorae, which was used, as well as the amphora itself, in estimating the
produce of a vineyard. [CULLEUS: comp. AMPHORA
sub fin.]

The quadrantal was connected with the measures of length, by the law, that it
was the cube of the foot, whence its name quadrantal, or, as other writers give it (using the Greek
κύβος instead of the Latin quadrantal) amphora
cubus. (Cato, *Cat. Agr. 57*; **Gel. 1.20**; Auct. __Carm. de Mens. et
Pond.__ vv. 59-63:--

Pes longo in spatio latoque altoque notetur:

Angulus ut par sit, quem claudit linea triplex

Quatuor et medium quadris cingatur inane:

Amphora fit cubus, quam ne violare liceret, Sacravere Jovi Tarpeio in monte Quirites.

A standard model of the amphora was kept with
great care in the temple of Jupiter in the Capitol, and was called amphora Capitolina (__Carm. de Mens.__
l.c. Capitol. __Maximin.__ 4). It was under the charge of the
aediles (__C. I. L.__ 6.1520, 10.8067; **Plb.
3.26**; cf. Mommsen, __Staatsrecht,__ ii.3 p. 500). There still exists a congius which professes to have been made according to this
standard. [CONGIUS] For a full
account of this congius, see H. Hase, __Abhandl. d. Berl. Akad.__
1824.

There are two questions connected with the Roman quadrantal: namely, (1) whether the equality to the cubic
foot was originally exact, or only approximate; and (2) whether there was
any exact ratio between the Roman and the Grecian measures. The full
discussion of these questions would be inconsistent both with the limits and
with the chief object of this work. A general statement of the matters in
dispute will be found, under MENSURA pp. 160, 161. It may here be added that, whether there was or
was not originally any precise ratio between the Greek and Roman measures of
capacity, they were at least so nearly related to one another, that, when
the two systems came to exist side by side, it was found easy to establish
the following definite ratios. Of the liquid measures: the Roman amphora, or quadrantal,
was 2-5ths of the Aeginetan, and 2-3rds of the Attic amphora or *metretes;* and the congius of the Roman system was equal to the
χοῦς of the Attic. Again, comparing the
Roman liquid with the Greek dry measures, the quadrantal was, 1-3rd of the Aeginetan, and one-half of the
Attic, medimnus. Consequently, of the dry
measures, the modius (which was 1-3rd of the
quadrantal) was 1-9th of the Aeginetan, and
1-6th of the Attic, medimnus. The connecting
subordinate unit in all these sets of measures is the Roman sextarius, or *sixth part of the
congius,* which was introduced into the Greek. system under the name
of εέστης, and which stands to the several
measures now mentioned in the following relations:--

1.
Liquid Measures. |
|||

The Roman quadrantal | = | 48 | sextarii |

The Attic metretes |
= | 72 | sextarii |

The Aeginetan metretes |
= | 120 | sextarii |

2.
Dry Measures. |
|||

The Roman modius | = | 16 | sextarii |

The Attic medimnus | = | 96 | sextarii |

The Aeginetan medimnus | = | 144 | sextarii |

The εξ́στης, or Roman sextarius, is not to be confounded with the genuine Attic
ἑκτεὺς or *sixth of
the medimnus,* which was equal to the Roman modius.

From the preceding remarks it will be seen that the only safe mode of
computing the content of the amphora in terms of our own measures of
capacity is by deducing it from the value already assigned to the Roman
pound, on the authority chiefly of the coins. That value may be taken, in
round numbers, at 5050 grains. [PONDERA Vol. II. p. 455.] Now the imperial gallon contains 70,000
grains. Therefore the Roman amphora = 5050 [multi] 80/70000 = 5.77
imperial gallons, i. e. a very little over 5 gallons and 6 pints. It is
clear, therefore, that for rough calculations, at any rate when the numbers
dealt with are not very large, if we reckon the sextarius as a pint (instead
of .96 of a pint) and the quadrantal or amphora at 6 gallons, it will be a
close enough approximation. (Boeckh, __Metrol.__ 167; Hultsch,
__Metrol.__ pp. 112 if., ed. 2, 1882.)