The Full Wiki

More info on Talent (measurement)

Talent (measurement): Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An ancient Greek amphora. A talent was approximately the mass of the water required to fill an amphora

The talent (Latin: talentum, from Ancient Greek: τάλαντον "scale, balance") was one of several ancient units of mass, as well as corresponding units of value equivalent to these masses of a precious metal.[1] It was approximately the mass of water required to fill an amphora.[1] A Greek, or Attic talent, was 26 kg,[2] a Roman talent was 32.3 kg, an Egyptian talent was 27 kg,[2] and a Babylonian talent was 30.3 kg.[3] Ancient Israel adopted the Babylonian talent, but later revised the mass.[4] The heavy common talent, used in New Testament times, was 58.9 kg.[4]

An Attic talent of silver had a purchasing power of approximately $20,000 in 2004 money.[5] It was also the value of nine man-years of skilled work.[6] During the Peloponnesian War, an Attic talent was the amount of silver that would pay a month's wages of a trireme crew.[7] Hellenistic mercenaries were commonly paid one drachma per day of military service. There were 6,000 drachmae in an Attic talent.

The Babylonians, Sumerians, and Hebrews divided a talent into 60 mina, each of which was subdivided into 60 shekels. The Greek also used the ratio of 60 mina to one talent. A Greek mina was approximately 434 ± 3 grams. A Roman talent was 100 libra. A libra is exactly three quarters of a Greek mina, so a Roman talent is 1.25 Greek talents. An Egyptian talent was 80 libra.[2]

The talent as a unit of value is mentioned in the New Testament in Jesus's parable of the talents.[8] This parable is the origin of the sense of the word "talent" meaning "gift or skill" as used in English and other languages. Luke includes a similar parable with different details involving the mina.[9] The talent is also used elsewhere in the Bible, as when describing the material invested in the dwelling of the commandments.[10] Solomon received 666 gold talents a year.[11]


  1. ^ a b Talent (Biblical Hebrew), unit of measure,
  2. ^ a b c John William Humphrey, John Peter Oleson, Andrew Neil Sherwood, Greek and Roman technology, p.487.
  3. ^ Herodotus, Robin Waterfield and Carolyn Dewald, The histories (1998), p. 593.
  4. ^ a b "III. Measures of Weight:",
  5. ^ "Life of Crassus"
  6. ^ Engen, Darel. "The Economy of Ancient Greece", EH.Net Encyclopedia, 2004.
  7. ^ Torr, Cecil, "Triremes", The Classical Review, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Mar., 1906), p. 137
  8. ^ Matthew 25:14-30
  9. ^ Luke 19:12-27
  10. ^ Exodus 38
  11. ^ 2 Chronicles 9:13
    1 Kings 10:14


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address