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STANDARDS OF VOLUME

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 485 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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STANDARDS OF VOLUME.—There is great uncertainty as to the exact values of all ancient standards of volume—the only precise data being those resulting from the theories of volumes derived from the cubes of feet and cubits. Such theories, as we have noticed, are extremely likely to be only approximations in ancient times, even if recognized then; and our data are quite inadequate for clearing the subject. If certain equivalences between volumes in different countries are stated here, it must be plainly understood that they are only known to be approximate results, and not to give a certain basis for any theories of derivation. All the actual monumental data that we have are alluded to here, with their amounts. The impossibility of safe correlation of units necessitates a division by countries. Egypt.—The hon was the usual small standard; by 8 vases which have contents stated in hons (8, 12, 20, 22, 33, 40) the mean is 29.2 cub. in. .6; by 9 unmarked .pottery measures (30) 29.1 t • 16, and divided by 20; by 18 vases, supposed multiples of hen (1), 32.1 t•2. These last are probably only rough, and we may take 29.2 cub. in. t •5. This was reckoned (6) to hold 5 utens of water (uten... 1470 grains), which agrees well to the weight; but this was probably an approximation, and not derivative, as there is (14) a weight called shet of 4.70 or 4.95 uten, and this was perhaps the actual weight of a hon. The variations of hon and uten, however, cover one another completely. From ratios stated before Greek times (35) the series of multiples was . ro, 8=bon, 4=honnu, 10—apet ( to=(Theban), to=sa. or besha t4—tama 3.65 cub. in. 29.2 116'8 1168 4672 11,68o 116,800 (Theban) is the " great Theban measure." In Ptolemaic times the artaba (2336•), modified from the Persian, was general in Egypt, a working equivalent to the Attic metretesvalue 2 apet or z tama; medimnus=tama or 2 artabas, and fractions down to raa artaba (35). In Roman times the artaba remained (Didymus), buts was the usual unit (name unknown), and this was divided down to or T1 artaba (35)—thus producing by i,lij artaba a working equivalent to the xestes and sextarius (35).. Also a new Roman artaba (Didymus) of 1540' was brought in. Beside the equivalence of the hon to 5 utens weight of water, the mathematical papyrus (35) gives 5 besha =3 cubic cubit (Revillout's interpretation of this as t cubit' is impossible geometrically; see Rev. Eg., 1881, for data) ; this is very concordant, but it is very unlikely for 3 to be introduced in an Egyptian derivation, and probably therefore only a working equivalent. The other ratio of Revillout and Hultsch, 320 hons = cubit', is certainly approximate. Syria, Palestine and Babylonia.—Here there are no monumental data known; and the literary information does not distinguish the closely connected, perhaps identical, units of these lands. More-over, none of the writers are before the Roman period, and many relied on are medieval rabbis. A large number of their statements are rough (2, 18, 33), being based on the working equivalence of the bath or epha with the Attic metretes, from which are sometimes drawn fractional statements which seem more accurate than they are. This, however, shows the bath to be about 2500 cub. in. There are two better data (2) of Epiphanius and Theodoret—Attic medimnus =1 % baths, and saton (3 bath) = 1 B modii; these give about 2240 and 226o cub. in. The best datum is in Josephus (Ant. iii. 15, 3), where 10 baths =41 Attic or 31 Sicilian medimni, for which it is agreed we must read modii (33) ; hence the bath =2300 cub. in. Thus these three different reckonings agree closely, but all equally depend on the Greek and Roman standards, which are not well fixed. The Sicilian modius here is H1, or slightly under 3, of the bath, and so probably a 4000 the Syrian being I& Roman sextarii. The Babylonian system was very similar (18) (i), 4=capitha, i8-maruepha, 1o=homer, 6 =achane. 33 cub. in. 132 1980 2380 23,800 142,800 The approximate value from capitha =2 Attic choenices (Xenophon) warrants us in taking the achane as fixed in the following system, which places it closely in accord with the preceding. In Persia Hultsch states- capetis 48 =artaba, 40 1 =achane, mans 72 74'4 cub.ia. 1983 3570 142,800 the absolute values being fixed by artaba=51 Attic choenices (Herod. i. 192). The marls of the Pontic system is z of the above, and the Macedonian and Naxian marls 110 of the Pontic (18). By the theory of maris = 5 of 20.63 it is 1755'; by maris=Assyrian talent, 185o, in place of 185o or 1980 stated above; hence the more likely theory of weight, rather than cubit, connexion is nearer to the facts. Aeginetan System.—This is so called from according with the Aeginetan weight. The absolute data are all dependent on the Attic and Roman systems, as there are no monumental data. The series of names is the same as in the Attic system (18). The values are 11 Xthe Attic (Athenaeus, Theophrastus, &c.) (2, 18), or more closely I I to 12 times of Attic. Hence, the Attic cotyle being 17.5 cub. in., the Aeginetan is about 25.7. The Boeotian system (18) included the achane; if this = Persian, then cotyle =24.7. Or, separately through the Roman system, the mnasis of Cyprus (18) =17o sextarii; then the cotyle = 24.8. By the theory of the metretes being I2 talents Aeginetan, the cotyle would be 23.3 to 24.7 cub. in. by the actual weights, which have tended to decrease. Probably then 25.0 is the best approximation. By the theory (18) of 2 metretes=cube of the 18.67 cubit from the 12.45 foot, the cotyle would be about 25.4. within .4; but then such a cubit is unknown among measures, and not likely to be formed, as 12.4 is s of 20.6. The Aeginetan system then was- cotyle, = chows = cotyle, q= choenix, 3 8 = hect .. 4 .eus, metretes,tt~ ~=medimaus. 25 cub. in. too 300 Son 3200 4800 This was the system of Sparta, of Boeotia (where the aporryma =4 choenices, the cophinus=6 choenices, and saites or saton or hecteus=2 aporrymae, while 30 medimni=achane, evidently Asiatic connexions "throughout), and of Cyprus (where 2 choes= Cyprian medimnus, of which 5 =medimnus of Salamis, of which 2 =mnasis (18) Attic or Usual Greek System.—The absolute value of this system is far from certain. The best data are three stone slabs, each with several standard volumes cut in them (11, 18), and two named vases. The value of the cotyle from the Naxian slab is 15.4 (best, others 14.6-19.6); from a vase about 16 6; from the Panidum slab 17.1 (var. 16.2-18.2) ; from a Capuan vase 17.8; from the Ganus slab 17.8 (var. 17•-18.). From these we may take 17.5 as a fair approxi-oration. It is supposed that the Panathenaic vases were intended as metretes; this would show a cotyle of 14.4-17.1. The theories of connexion give, for the value of the cotyle, metretes=Aeginetan talent, .•. 15.4-16.6; metres 1 of 12.16 cubed, ...16.6; metretes = of 12.16 cubed, .•. 16.8; medimnus=2 Attic talents, hecteus=2o minae, choenix=21 minae, 16.75; metretes=3 cub. spithami (2 cubit =9.12), .•. 17.5; 6 metretes=2 ft. of 12.45 cubed, .•, 17.8 cub. in. for cotyle. But probably as good theories could be found for any other amount; and certainly the facts should not be set aside, as almost every author has done, in favour of some one of half a dozen theories. The system of multiples was for liquids- cyathus, t(=oxybaphon, 4=cotyle, 12=thous, I2'---metretes, 2.9 cub. in. 4'4 17'5 210 2520 with the tetarton (8.8), 2 =cotyle, 2 =xestes (35•), introduced from the Roman system. For dry measure- cyathus, 6= cotyle, 4=choenix, 8 = hecteus, 6=medimnus, 2'9 cub. in. 17'5 70 56o 336o with the xestes, and amphoreus (168o) =I medimnus, from the Roman system. The various late provincial systems of division are beyond our present scope (18). System of Gythium.—A system differing widely both in units and names from the preceding is found on the standard slab of Gythium in the southern Peloponnesus (Rev. Arch., 1872). Writers have unified it with the Attic, but it is decidedly larger in its unit, giving 19.4 (var. 19.1-19.8) for the supposed cotyle. Its system is- cotyle, 4=hemihecton, 4=chows, 3=(n). 58 cub. in. 232 932 2796 And with this agrees a pottery cylindrical vessel, with official stamp on it (OHMOEION, &c.), and having a fine black line traced round the inside, near the top, to show its limit; this seems to be probably very accurate, and contains 58.5 cub. in., closely agreeing with the cotyle of Gythium. It has been described (Rev. Arch., 1872) as an Attic choenix. Gythium being the southern port of Greece, it seems not too far to connect this 58 cub. in. with the double of the Egyptian hon=58.4, as it is different from every other Greek system. Roman System.—The celebrated Farnesian standard congius of bronze of Vespasian, " mensurae exactae in Capitolio P. X., " contains 206.7 cub. in. (2), and hence the amphora 1654. By the sextarius of Dresden (2) the amphora is 1695; by the congius of Ste Genevieve (2) 1700 cub. in.; and by the ponderarium measures at Pompeii (33) 1540 to 1840, or about 162o for a mean. So the Farnesian congius, or about 1650, may best be adopted. The system for liquid was- quartarius, 4=sextarius, 6=congius, 4=urna, 2=amphora, 8.6 cub. in. 34'4 206 825 1650 for dry measure 16 sextarii=modius, 550 cub. in.; and to both systems were added from the Attic the cyathus (2.87), acetabulum (4'3) and hemina (17.2 cub. in.). The Roman theory of the amphora being the cubic foot makes it 1569 cub. in., or decidedly less than the actual measures; the other theory of its containing 80 librae of water would make it 1575 by the commercial or 1605 by the monetary libra—again too low for the measures. Both of these theories there-fore are rather working equivalents than original derivations; or at least the interrelation was allowed to become far from exact. Indian and Chinese Systems.—On the ancient Indian system see Numismata Orientalia, new ed., i. 24; on the ancient Chinese, Nature, xxx. 565, and xxxv. 318.
End of Article: STANDARDS OF VOLUME
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