), and its half,
), are terms which occur,
in more than one sense, in the Greek metrical system, and are interesting on
account of the examples they furnish of the duodecimal division.
1. In dry measures, the hecteus
was the sixth part of
and the hemiecteon,
of course, the twelfth part. (Aristoph. Eccl. 547
643, 645.) In the latter passage the ἡμιεκτέον
is called τετράμετρον,
as holding 4 choenices. The form ἡμιεκτέον
is used by Aristophanes, ἡμίεκτον
by later writers (Dem. c.
p. 918.37). The hecteus
to the Roman modius,
as each contained 16
or sextarii. In late Greek the
became obsolete, and μόδιος
took its place, as in the fragments of
Galen's metrological writings. (Boeckh, Metrol. Untersuch.
pp. 33, 200; Hultsch, Metrol.
p. 82.) [P.S
2. In the case of coins also, the hecte was the sixth part of some unit. It
would seem from the statement of Hesychius (s. v.) that the term was applied
to fractional coins, whether of gold, silver, or cooper. In this wide sense
the silver obol, as being the sixth part of the drachm, would be a hecte.
But the name was specially applied to small coins of gold and of electrum
(mixed gold and silver). One reason for this may have been that as the
mintages of gold and electrum belonged principally to Asia Minor, the unit
or stater in those metals followed the Oriental principle of division by
thirds, sixths, and twelfths, rather than by halves and quarters. The sixth
part of the gold and electrum staters of the cities of Ionia, of Lydia, of
Cyzicus and Phocaea, was a coin in frequent use in antiquity, and minted in
great quantities. Ἕκται Φωκαΐδες
mentioned as dedicated in the Athenian treasuries in the lists of B.C. 429
and 397 (C. I. Att.
1.199, 207). At a later period they were
issued jointly with Mitylene, in virtue of a compact of which the text has
come down to us [see ELECTRUM
). The hectae of Phocaea of Mitylene and
of Cyzicus abound in our museums: they are roundish coins made of a pale
mixture of gold and silver, and weighing from 35 to 44 grains.
The twelfth or ἡμίεκτον
of electrum was
also a common coin. This is mentioned by Julius
Hecte of Phocaea.
Hecte of Cyzicus.
Pollux (9.62, quoting Crates) as the equivalent of eight obols of silver;
that is to say, if the obols be Attic obols, ninety grains of silver, giving
a proportion of value between electrum and silver of 4 1/2 to 1, a
proportion which can only have obtained if the electrum were of very base