Ancient and Premodern Weights and Measures, with Modern Equivalents

Modern equivalents are approximate. Abbreviations used for certain measures are given below in parentheses.

Measures of Capacity

keramion = 8 khoes = 25 l
khous (kh) = 3.12 l
kophinos = 36 kotylai = 3 kh = 9.4 l
medimnos (Attic) (med) = 48 khoinikes = 52.176 l
metretes = 12 kh = 37.4 l

Measures of Surface Area

plethron = 10,000 ft2 = .09 hectares (ha)
iugerum = .25 ha

Measures of Weight and Monetary Units

1 talent = 6,000 drachmas (dr)
1 dr = 6 obols (ob)

Premodern Turkish Measures

binek (volume) = 38 l
binek (area) = 1000 m2

 

MINA

The mina was an ancient Near Eastern unit of weight that predates talents and shekels going back to Sumerian times, which came to mean “mines”, indicating mineral resources extracted from the ground. The mina was a unit of currency that had a value of 1/60 talents as well as 60 shekels weighting 0.571 kilograms or 18.358 troy ounces. Later in ancient Greece it was equal to 100 drachma and by the time of Christ during the 1st century AD, it was the equivalent of about a fourth of the annual wages earned by an agricultural worker.

GERAH

 

gerah was 0.568 grams and 20 equaled a shekel.