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the Greeks, who are expressly stated to have derived from Babylon their method of dividing the day and measuring time, and other important usages, and whose most ancient talent (the Aeginetan) was still, in the historical times, identical with the Babylonian.
4. The Babylonian Talent.—The Babylonian talent itself was current in the Persian Empire as the standard weight for silver. Under Dareius the son of Hystaspes, the silver tribute of the provinces was estimated by the Babylonian talent, their gold tribute by the Euboic; and coined silver was also paid from the royal treasury according to the Babylonian talent. (Herod, iii. 89, foil. ; Aelian. V. H. i. 22.) Now the two standards here mentioned are connected by Herodotus by the statement that the Babylonian talent is equal to 70 Eubo'ic minae, which, since every talent contained 60 minae, gives 70 : 60 for the ratio of the Babylonian talent to the Euboic. There are, however, very sufficient reasons for concluding that 70 is here a round number, not an exact one. (See Bockh, c. v.) Pollux gives the same ratio (70 : 60) for that of the Babylonian to the Attic talent ; for he says that the Babylonian talent contained 70 Attic minae and 7000 Attic drachmae (ix. 86) : and it is probable that this statement is founded on the testimony of Herodotus, but that Pollux substituted the familiar Attic standard for the less known Euboic, which two standards he knew to have some close connection with each other, and so he fell into the error of making them precisely equal. The same correction must be applied to the testimony of Aelian (I. c.}, who makes the Babylonian talent equal to 72 Attic minae ; and in this statement, so corrected, we have probably the true ratio of the Babylonian talent to the Euboic, namely 72:60 or 6:5. In such arguments as these, it is extremely important to remember that the evidence is not that of Pollux and Aelian, who could not possibly give any -independent testimony on such a subject, but that of the ancient authorities whom they followed, and by whom the term Attic may have been used truly as equivalent to Euboic ; for the Attic standard before the legislation of Solon was the same as the Euboic, and this standard was still retained in commerce after Solon's alterations.* In this sense there can be little doubt that, in the statement of Aelian, we have the testimony of some ancient writer, who gave a more exact value than the round number which Herodotus deemed sufficient for his purpose as an historian ; and the truth of his testimony is confirmed, not only by the greater exactness of the number, but by its very nature ; for, not only do we find in 70 (=7 X 10) a prime factor which is most unlikely to have entered into a system of
* It is necessary here to caution the student against an error, which he might mistake for an ingenious discovery ; into which Bockh himself fell in his Public Economy of Athens ; and which Mr. Hussey has adopted ; and to which therefore the English student is much exposed. This error consists in assuming that both Herodotus and Aelian may be right; and thus that the Babylonian talent was equal to 70 Euboic or 72 Attic minae ; and therefore that the ratio of the Euboic talent to the Attic was 72 : 70. It will presently be shown that this ratio was not 72 ; 70$ but 100 : 72, i. e, 72 : 51-84.
weights, namely 7, but in 72 (=6 x 12) as well as in 60 (5 x 12) we have the duodecimal computation which we know to have prevailed most extensively in the early metrical systems. The division of the day into 12 hours, which Herodotus expressly ascribes to the Babylonians, is not only a striking example of this, but a fact peculiarly important in connection with the idea that the measurement of time by water led to the invention of the Babylonian system of weights. It is also important to observe that these two ancient systems, the Babylonian and the Euboic, differ from one another in a proportion which is expressed by multiplying 12 by the numbers which form the bases of the decimal and duodecimal systems re-spectivel}', namely, 6 and 5. In connection with this fact, it is interesting to observe that the Hebrew talent, which was no doubt essentially the same as the Babylonian, is made, by different computations, to consist of 60 or 50 maneli.
Indeed, the whole of the Hebrew system throws important light on the Babylonian, and on its connection with the Greek. The outline of this system is as follows : —
where the principal unit is the Shekel, which can be identified with the principal unit of the old Greek system (in its chief application to coined money), namely, the didrachm or old stater. Hence we have the
Kiklxtr equivalent to the talent
Maneli „ mina
Shekel „ didrachm or stater
Bekah ,, drachma.
To this part of the subject, which we have not space to pursue further, Bockh devotes a long and elaborate chapter (c. vi. Plebr'disches, Phonicisches, und Syrisches Geivicht und Geld}.
5. The Aeginetan Talent. — Returning to the connection between the Babylonian and Greek talent, we have seen that the Babylonian talent contained 72 Euboic minae. It will presently appear that the Euboic talent and mina were the same as the great Attic talent and mina, which were in use before the reduction effected in them by Solon ; and further that the nature of that reduction was such that the Old Attic (Euboic) talent was equivalent to 8333^- New Attic (Solonian) drachmae, and the Enbo'ic mina to J 38|- Solonian drachmae. Now the Babylonian talent contained 72 Euboic minae, that 'is (138f x 72=) 10,000 Solonian drachmae. But 10,000 Solonian drachmae were equivalent to an Aeginetan talent. (Pollux, ix. 76, 86 ; comp. ncjmmus, p. 810, a.) Therefore, the Aeyinetan Talent was equivalent to the Babylonian. What is meant precisely by the Aeginetan talent, and how this talent was established in Greece by the legislation of Pheidon, has already been explained under nummus. The only step remaining to complete the exposition of the outline of the sub-