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TALENTUM

TALENTUM (τάλαντον) was the heaviest unit of weight in use among the Greeks; and as a talent of gold, silver, or copper was a definite amount of money, varying of course with the standard by which it was weighed, the word stood also for monetary units. A large number of talents were in use in different parts of Greece--the Euboic, the Aeginetan, the Phoenician, &c.--the weights of which will be found in the tables under PONDERA Pollux (9.86) mentions several of these, and gives their value in proportion to the Attic talent. He also remarks that the talent of each district contained 60 minae of that district, and the mina 100 drachmae.

There were, however, one or two talents of a peculiar character which require special mention. The talent of gold of Homer (Hom. Il. 9.124; 18.507; 23.262) was certainly some quite small amount; and ancient writers conjectured that it was of the weight of a daric (128 grains), a view which modern investigations tend to confirm. Of somewhat greater value was a talent of gold mentioned by the poet Philelmon as consisting of three χρυσοῖ or gold staters. Possibly they may have been the equivalent of a talent of copper.

Like all other nations, the Greeks used various, talents for different classes of goods. The Babylonians, as we have set forth under PONDERA had one talent for gold, one for silver, and one for goods. In Athens in historical times the emporic or commercial talent was quite differen from the talent of the mint, bearing to it a relation of about 3 to 2. And even for different sorts of heavy goods special weights were employed. Thus we hear of a talent for weighing wood (ξυλικὸν τάλαντον) as in use at Antioch and at Alexandria; and in all places the Attic weights seem to have been used for drugs. For abundant references to ancient authorities, see τάλαντον in the index to Hultsch's Metrologici Scriptores.

[P.G]

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