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date: 05 February 2023

Carmen de ponderibus et mensurislocked

Carmen de ponderibus et mensurislocked

  • Wilbur R. Knorr
  •  and Serafina Cuomo


Carmen de ponderibus et mensuris (perhaps c.400 ce), a Latin didactic poem in 208 hexameter verses, once ascribed to *Priscian, but now attributed to one Rem(m)ius Favinus (or Flav[in]us), sets out the several systems of *weights and *measures adopted in ancient Greece and Rome. It includes two interesting technical accounts:

(1) a hydrometer for measuring the specific gravity of liquids (ll. 103–21), similar to the instruments attributed elsewhere to the Alexandrians *Menelaus (3), *Pappus, and *Hypatia; and

(2) a method used by *Archimedes for solving the problem of the crown (to distinguish an alloy from pure gold or silver) by means of a hydrostatic balance (ll. 125–62), much like the instrument attributed to Archimedes by Menelaus.


  • Science, Technology, and Medicine

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