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On this page: Pompa – Pondera

PONDERA

time of the Emperor Claudius. (Gell. I. c. ; Tacit. AnnaL xii. 23.) Dionysius (I. c.) states that down to his time nobody had extended the poinoerium since the time of King Serving, although we know from authentic sources that at least Augustus en­ larged the pomoerium (Bunsen, I.e. p. 139), and the same is said of Sulla and J. Caesar. (Tacit. AnnaL Lc.\ Gell. I.e. ; Fest. s.v. Prosimurium; Cic. ad Aft. xiii. 20 ; Diori Cass. xliii. 50, xliv. 49.) The last who extended the pomoerium of Rome was the Emperor Aurelian, after he had enlarged the walls of the city. (Fl. Vopisc. Div.Aurel. 21 ; comp. Becker, Handbuch der Rom. Alterth. i. p. 92, &c.) [L. S.]

POMPA (71-0/^77), a solemn procession., as on the occasion of a funeral, triumph, &c. (Cic. pro Mil. 13; Suet. Jul Caes.37, &c.) It is, how­ever, more particularly applied to the grand pro­cession with which the games of the Circus com­menced (Pompa Circensis). [Cmcus.]

PONDERA (crra^oi). The considerations, which lie at the basis of the whole subject of weights and measures, both generally, and with special reference to the ancient Greek and Roman systems, have already been mentioned in the in­troductory part of the article mensura. In the present article it is proposed to give a brief general account of the Greek and Roman systems of weights.

1. Early Greek Weights. — It has been already stated, in the article mensura, that all the know­ledge we have upon the subject goes to prove that, i;i the Greek and Roman metrical systems, weights preceded measures; that the latter were derived from the former; and both from a system which

f v

had prevailed, from a period of unknown antiquity, among the Chaldaeans at Babylon. This system was introduced into Greece, after the epoch of the Homeric poems ; for, of the two chief denomina­tions used in the Greek system, namely, t&xclvtov (talentum} and jjlvcl (inina}^ Homer uses only the former, which is a genuine Greek word, meaning weight^ the other .being an Oriental word of the same meaning. (See nummus, p. 810 ; where some things, which more properly belong to this article, have been necessarily anticipated.) Homer uses Ta/\cwroz>, like /xerpo^, in a specific sense (II. xxiii. 260—270) ; and indeed in all languages the earliest words used for weight are merely generic terms specifically applied; such are TaAai/Tov, maneh (/^a), libra^ and our own pound., from pondus. Hence the introduction of the foreign word maneh (fj-va) by the side of the native word TaXavrov indicates the introduction of a new standard of weight ; which new standard soon superseded the old ; and then the old word rd\av-

tqv was used as a denomination of weight in the new system, quite different from the weight which it signified before. This last point is manifest from the passages in Ho-meiv in- wnicli the word is used in a specific'sen-se, especially in the description of the funeral games (I. c.), where the order of the prizes proves that the talent must have been a very much smaller weight than the later talent of 60 minae, or about 82 pounds avoirdupois ; and traces of this ancient small talent are still found at a very much Inter period. Thus we arrive at the first position in the subject, that the Greek system of weight ivas post- flomeric.

2. The Greek System in the Historical Period.

— Of course, by the Greek system here is meant the system wl»ich prevailed throughout Greece in

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PONDERA.

the historical times, and which contained four principal denominations, which, though different at different times and places, and even at the same place for different substances, always bore the same relation to each other. These were the Talent , which was the largest, then the Mina the Drachma (Spax^), and the Obol (ogoAo's). The two latter terms are, in all pro­bability, genuine Greek words, introduced for the purpose of making convenient subdivisions of the standard, 8pax/^ signifying a handful, and bSo\6s being perhaps the same as ogeAJs, and signifying a small wedge of silver; so that these words again fall tinder the description of generic terms specifically applied.

These weights were related to one another as follows: —

- 60 Minae.

-100 Drachmae. 6 Obols.

55

1 Talent contained 1 Mina 1 Drachma

Their relative values are exhibited more fully in the following table : —

Obol

6

Drachma

Mina

600

100

36,000

6000

60 Talent.

3. Derivation of this System from Babylon. — Now, in this system, the unhellenic word ij.vq. indicates, as already observed, the source from which the standard was derived. This word is undoubtedly of Semitic origin ; and it seems to belong more especially to the Chaldee dialect, hi which it signifies number or measure in its widest sense, the proper word for weight being tekel or shekel* (See Dan. v. 25, 26, where both words occur). In Hebrew it is used as a specific weight, equal to 50 or 60 shekels f1 (1 Kings, x. 17 ; Ezra, ii. 69 ; Nehem. vii. 71, 72 ; Ezek. xlv. 12). The word was also used in Egypt, in the sense of a fluid measure and also of a weight of water. (See Bockh, Metrol. Untersuch. c. iv.) From an ex­amination of several passages of the Greek writers, by the light of the etymological signification of the word ^a, Bockh arrives at the following conclu­sions, which, i-f not strictly demonstrated, are established on as strong grounds as we can pro­bably ever hope to obtain in so difficult a subject:

(1) that in the astronomical observations of the Chaldees and Egyptians, time was measured by the running out of the water through an orifice : —

(2) that the quantity of the water which so ran out was estimated both by measure and by weight: — (4) that this mode of measuring time led na­turally to the determination of a connected system both of weights and measures, the unit of which was the maneh 0-wa), which.1, originally signified a defi­nite quantity of 'water', determined either by iveight or measure, and was afterwards used especially in the sense of a definite weight: — (5) that this system passed from Assyria to Phoenicia, and thence to

* The t and sli are merely dialect variations.

•f Which is the true value is doubtful. Perhaps the two values were used at different places, ac­cording as the duodecimal or decimal system pre­vailed.

So 2

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