previous next


HECTE or HECTEUS (ἕκτη, ἑκτεύς), and its half, Hemiecton or Hemiecteon (ἡμίεκτον, ἡμιεκτέον), 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 the medimnus, and the hemiecteon, of course, the twelfth part. (Aristoph. Eccl. 547; Nub. 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. Phorm. p. 918.37). The hecteus was equal to the Roman modius, as each contained 16 ξέσται or sextarii. In late Greek the word ἑκτεὺς 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] [W.W]

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 are 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 [p. 1.938]come down to us [see ELECTRUM ad fin.). 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 quality


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: