Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 June 2024



  • Frederick Norman Pryce,
  • Mabel L. Lang
  •  and David William John Gill


Weights of the Greek bronze age are usually flattened cylinders of stone or metal, incised circles on the upper surface indicating the unit of measurement. Other forms are the duck and the bull's head. An octopus weight from Minoan Cnossus weighs 29 kg. (64 lb.) and the average weight of nineteen copper ingots from Agia Triada is 29.132 kg. (64 lb. 4½ oz.) Several standards appear to have been current, extant Minoan weights (see minoan civilization) having been related to the Egyptian, Babylonian, and Phoenician systems. Mycenaean texts from *Cnossus, *Pylos, and *Mycenae (see mycenaean language) allow an approximate table of values to be created:

The typical weight of historic Greece is a square plaque of lead with a badge, and sometimes the denomination, the name of the issuing city, or other official guarantees on the top in relief. The principal types on the most widespread series of Attic weights are the astragalos (stater), dolphin (mina), amphora (one-third stater with half-amphora as one-sixth), tortoise (one-fourth stater with half-tortoise as one-eighth). There were many other forms, as caprice or local custom dictated. Roman weights show less variety, the common form being a spheroid of stone or metal, with flattened top and bottom; the denomination is generally expressed in punctured characters on the top.


  • Greek Material Culture: Bronze Age

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription