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the gnomon, and the division of the day into twelve hours: and M. Boeckh, in one of the most learned sections of the Metrologie (iv. 4) has traced the diffusion of the worship of Mylitta, or Aphrodite Urania, original in Assyria, through the intermediation of the Phenicians, to Greece, Asia Minor, and Sicily.
In the fifth chapter of his work, M. Boeckh investigates the value of the Babylonian talent-weight as compared with the Grecian. Herodotus, in his enumeration of the tribute-money paid by the various regions subject to the kings of Persia, states that the greater number of them were directed to pay in silver, a given number of Babylonian talents; while the Indians were required to pay in gold, a certain number of Euboic talents: and he then adds that the Babylonian talent was equivalent to 70 Euboic mina; (Herod, iii. 89). The total sums however, as Herodotus states them, do not precisely coincide with the items of his estimate: but there is a confusion either in the calculations of the historian, or in the text, which cannot be rectified by the aid of our present MSS., and we are only enabled to see that the estimate of 70 Euboic mina; is lower than the real value of the Babylonian talent.
Two other statements are found, of the value of the latter: Pollux gives it at 70 Attic talents, ^Elian at 72 Attic talents. That, the number 72 is more exact than 70, is a reasonable presumption: but, if we attach to Attic talents the value of the Attic money talent as established by Solon, the three statements of Herodotus, Pollux, and ^Elian, will become absolutely irreconcileable: for the Euboic talent was a weight decidedly and considerably larger than the Solonian Attic talent. But the three statements come into complete harmony when we interpret the Attic talents, as stated by Pollux and ^Elian, to mean "great Attic talents," as they are called by Dardanus the ancient Metrologue—that is, Attic talents as they stood before the reduction of Solon. It is ascertained not merely by the evidence of Dardanus, but by the still more incontrovertible testimony of a published Athenian inscription, that the "great Athenian talent and mina" continued in exclusive use at Athens, as weights, for several centuries after Solon—that the debasement introduced by that legislator applied only to the coins, drachm*, obols and their
multiples, together with the mina and talent considered as pecuniary denominations apart from actual weight. The Attic mina and talent, underwent, by the enactment of Solon, a change similar to that of the English pound during successive centuries. Our pound originally contained a full pound weight of standard silver, and its signification both as money and as weight was identical; but in process of time the standard was lowered, and its pecuniary meaning was greatly changed, while its meaning as weight remained unaltered. We know by the evidence of the inscription above alluded to, that the mina as weight—the commercial mina, as it was formally denominated—was required to weigh 138 Solonian standard drachmae: and it will be shewn presently that its exact weight had originally been 1381 of such drachmae.
Construed in this very rational and admissible sense, the three accounts of Herodotus, Pollux, and /Elian, respecting the value of the Babylonian talent will be found concurrent. It is divided according to the common scale—viz. 60 minae, and 6000 drachmae of its own: and it is equivalent to 72 Euboic minae each weighing 138-f- Solonian standard drachmae. In other words, it is equivalent to 10,000 of these Solonian drachmae,—the precise value of the JEginaean talent, according to the express announcement of Pollux, being in the proportion of 5 : 3 to the Solonian standard. Calculating by this proportion, the standard weight of a Babylonian or jEginaean drachma (the 6000th part of a Babylonian or ^Eginaean talent) ought to be 112.295 English grains Troy. We are hardly entitled to expect any remaining actual coins to be of full standard weight, since almost every state in antiquity coined below its own standard, even when the standard continued legally unchanged; and we must allow besides for loss arising from wear and tear. But it is remarkable that the Persian silver darics, now in the British Museum, adjusted as they doubtless were to the Babylonian scale by which the silver tribute was measured, do exhibit a weight of 224 English grains Troy, or a little above—nearly the exact weight which they ought to have as Babylonian or ^Eginaean didrachms.
In the sixth chapter of his work, M. Boeckh enters into an elaborate examination of the Hebraic, Phenician, and Syrian, system of weight and money: and he establishes on probable grounds, that the scale followed in these countries even from very early times, agreed with and was borrowed from the Babylonian. The Hebraic talent had 60 minse, and 3000 holy shekels or didrachms: of the latter, the best and heaviest specimens now remaining approach so very near to the normal weight of the Babylonian or iEginaean didrachma, that we may confidently reckon them as having been originally the same (c. vi. § 3). It appears however, that the subordinate divisions of the Hebraic scale were not coincident with those of the IEginaean, which portioned the drachma into 6 obols: the Hebraic holy shekel or didrachm was divided into 20 gera, and the common shekel or drachma (the half of the holy shekel) into 10 gera: thus rendering a gera the equivalent of an Attic obolus (vi. 3 and vi. 5). M. Boeckh gives in c. vi. § 7, the weight of a number of different coins, some of various Syrian kings, others of the Phenician cities. The heaviest and least, worn amongst them come so near to the normal weight of the iEginaean didrachm as to authorise the conclusion that they were intended to conform to it: and there are several conformable coins, belonging to the Sicilian city of Panormus, which raise an inference that the same standard of weight and money had passed from Tyre to its colony Carthage.
That both the Euboic talent with its subdivisions, and the Babylonian talent with its subdivisions, were in use throughout 'he Persian empire, is proved by the fact that the tributes to government, were required to be paid in them. I may remark however, that it is very doubtful whether the Persian tribute Was paid in coined money. Herodotus tells us, that it was the practice of the great king's officers to melt the silver and gold which they received in payment of tribute, and to pour it into wge earthenware jars: as soon as the metal cooled, the jars Were broken: portions were then detached from the mass when there was occasion to make disbursements3. We know farther •rom. the same historian, that the gold and silver in the treasury °* Kxcesus was principally, if not entirely, uncoined4. There
could be no advantage in receiving coin when it was destined to be melted: moreover, the coins, which the great king might receive at one extremity of his large empire, would be unsuitable for payments at the other extremity, or even at the centre. The object of the requisition was a given weight of fine metal; weighed according to the Euboic, or smaller talent, for the gold; according to the Babylonian, or larger talent, for the silver. I shall have occasion to revert to this point, which I do not find noticed by M. Boeckh, when I come to speak of the conventions between Antiochus and the Romans.
Both the Babylonian and the Euboic scale of weight passed from Asia, probably through the medium of Phenicians, into Greece: the former being adopted principally in Peloponnesus and the Dorian states: in Bceotia, Phokis, Thessaly, Makedonia, and Krete. M. Boeckh adds Achaia to the list: but the passage of Hesychius, on which he relies, is obscure and unsatisfactory5. The conventions between Athens, Argos, Elis, and Mantineia, in the Peloponnesian war, respecting the pay of troops, were stipulated in ^Eginsean drachmae and trioboli; and the reckoning of the assembled Amphiktyonic council was carried on in iEginaean staters or didrachms6. There may possibly have been other scales in some Grecian cities coinciding neither with the ^Eginrean, the Euboic, and the Attic: but we have no distinct information concerning any such. The coins now remaining, of those Grecian states which followed the JEglnaean standard, do not exhibit a full proportion of 5:3 between the ^Egina?an and the Attic drachma: their actual weight falls decidedly below it. On the ground of this inferior weight, Mr. Hussey, in his instructive Treatise on the Ancient Weights and Measures, disputes the correctness of Pollux, in giving the proportion of 5:3, a statement hitherto universally admitted, and which M. Boeckh successfully vindicates. That states which professed to follow the ^Eginaean scale, should nevertheless coin a
5 Hesych. ira^eir] dpaxf*-y' To SiSpa\fiov 'Axatoi. When the Achaean confederacy first established itself extensively in Peloponnesus, the cities composing it were bound by a special resolution to use
the same weights and measures and coins. Polyb. ii. 37.
8 Thukyd. v. 47; also Xenoph. Hellen. v. 2, 21. Boeckh. Corp. Inscrip. Gr&carum, No. 1688.
degraded money, is by no means astonishing, nor does the fact furnish any reason for questioning the proportions announced to us as normally belonging to the scale. Of the various Greek states which professed to follow the same standard, some coined better money, others worse, according to circumstances: the general tendency amongst them, as it has been in modern no less than in ancient times, was to lower continually the value of their coins, and never again to raise it. The Athenian mint maintained the integrity of its coinage, from Solon downward, longer than the rest; but we may perfectly well admit, as it is stated by K. 0. Miiller, no less than by Mr. Hussey, that the Mginsean didrachm, as it was actually coined in Peloponnesus during the Peloponnesian war, had become so lowered as only to be worth l£ Attic didrachms, without discarding the belief, that the jEginsean scale, as first introduced and applied, placed these two coins in the ratio of 5 : 3. M. Boeckh produces positive evidence that such was actually the fact, from the still remaining coins of Melos and Byzantium; both of them Dorian settlements, and one a colony of Sparta. Very ancient coins are found of both these cities, exhibiting the full weight of the ^Eginaean standard, with a deduction altogether insignificant; and there is every reason to conclude that these states must have derived their scale of coinage from their mother cities in Greece Proper, maintaining it faithfully in practice even after the latter had silently receded from it. The coins of the Makedonian kings, anterior to Alexander the Great—those of the Bisalta? and those of the Chalkideans in Thrake—exhibit in like manner very nearly the full jEginsean standard weight. Either these are to be taken as examples of the genuine, undegraded ^ginsean standard, and as authenticating the proportion which Pollux gives us, of 5 : 3 between that standard and the Solonian Attic: or else they must be taken as instances of some other monetary scale heavier than the .rfEginaean—which is unsupported by any evidence, and contrary to all probability.
Respecting the Euboic talent, the opinion which M. Boeckh now maintains, that it is identical with the ante-Solonian Attic talent, is supported by the approximative weight of many actual coins, as well as by strong indirect evidence—the adoption of it