Front Page Titles (by Subject) § II.: Of the Eginean and Euboïc Talents. - A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money
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§ II.: Of the Eginean and Euboïc Talents. - John Ramsay McCulloch, A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money 
A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money from the Originals of Vaughan, Cotton, Petty, Lowndes, Newton, Prior, Harris, and Others, with a Preface, Notes, and Index (London: Printed for the Political Economy Club, 1856).
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Of the Eginean and Euboïc Talents.
THE Attic was not the only money-talent used in Greece. Historians and others mention the Eginean and the Euboïc Talents. The former weighed 10000 Attic Drachms, but, like other Talents, contained only 6000 of its own; which being so much heavier than the Attic, the Athenians called it ???????? ???????, or the thick drachm.* This Talent was used at Corinth, as appears by a passage in A. Gellius, where the Corinthian Talent is valued at 10000 Attic drachms† : and as Corinth was a place of great trade, it was probably used in most of the cities of the Peloponnesus.
If the Attic Drachm weighed 66½ Troy grains, the Eginean should weigh 110?; which, to avoid fractions, and because our Attic Drachm is rather undersized than otherwise, I shall call 111.
There are Macedonian coins, struck before Philip coined gold, that answer to this standard. One of Philip, in the Pembroke collection, weighs 224 grains. Mr. Duane hath a silver coin, of either the first or second Alexander, which weighs 447½ grains; three of Philip, of 221 each; another of Philip, of 223¼; and a fifth, 223¾. The mean Drachm from these six coins is 111¼ grains, which comes as near to the Eginean drachm, as can be expected from so small a number of silver coins. Therefore, the Eginean Talent must have been the standard of the Macedonian money, till Philip changed it.
It appears likewise to have been the standard of the Ptolemaic money in Egypt. Mr. Duane hath a gold coin of the Ptolemies, like c. 1. T. III. of the Pembroke collection, weighing nearly 27½ grains; Mr. Stuart another, weighing 27; supposing each was a quarter of the Drachm, the former will give it almost 110 grains, the latter 108½; but they are both a little worn. Mr. Duane hath a gold coin of Arsinoë, like c. 3. T. III. of the Pembroke collection, which weighs 430 grains; and Dr. Hunter hath another of the same weight, which give a Drachm of 107½ grains. Dr. Hunter hath likewise a perfect silver coin of one of the Ptolemies, weighing 221 grains, another of 220, and a third of 109¼; but the two last are a little worn. The Ptolemaic gold coins in the Pembroke collection give the Drachm from 107 to 108 grains. As the piece of 221 grains wants but half a grain in the Drachm of the Eginean standard, and that of 107 but four grains, we may fairly conclude that Talent to have been the money standard of the Ptolemies. And not only so, but that it was originally Egyptian. For what should induce Ptolemy, to relinquish the standard established by Alexander, and used all over Asia and the greater part of Greece, but that he found the Eginean Talent established in Egypt, when he possessed himself of that opulent kingdom.
Yet so imperfect are the accounts now remaining, of the ancient weights, that no writer hath mentioned this Talent, or one like it, as used in Egypt. On the contrary, Pliny tells us, on the authority of Varro, that the Egyptian Talent weighed 80 Roman pounds.* But this is undoubtedly a false reading, and for Ægyptium we should read Euboïcum; for Pliny is speaking of the riches of Asia, where the Euboïc Talent was used for weighing gold; and we know the weight of that Talent was settled at 80 Roman Pounds, by the treaty between the Romans and Antiochus.
The fragment of weights and measures ascribed to Galen, makes the Egyptian Mina to weigh 16 ounces† ; and consequently, the Talent 80 Roman pounds. But this Talent could not be the standard of the Ptolemaic coins.
There is a passage in Pollux which makes the Egyptian Talent contain 1500 Attic Drachms.‡ But this is an injudicious interpolation in the last edition of that author.
The fragment ascribed to Cleopatra, and one that follows it, mention a Ptolemaic Mina of 18 Ounces, whose Drachm should weigh 75? Troy grains; and Cleopatra says, there was an Egyptian Drachm, which weighed but the sixth part of the Attic.
Galen§ and the fragment ascribed to Dioscorides say, the Mina of Alexandria weighed 20 Ounces, or 120 Drachms. By Drachms, Galen certainly meant Denarii of 8 in the Ounce; for he tells us, that, in his time, a Drachm was always understood to mean what the Romans call a Denarius.? The Drachm of this Mina should weigh 84 grains.
Lastly, Festus says, the Alexandrian Talent contained 12000 Denarii.* If by Denarii he meant Attic Drachms, this Talent should be just double the Attic.
None of these Talents could be the standard of the Ptolemaic money. Though, if Galen’s Alexandrian Mina weighed 160 ancient Attic Drachms, its Drachm would weigh 106 Troy grains, which comes near to the Ptolemaic standard. But the coins require a greater weight, and the Eginean Mina should weigh 166? Attic drachms.
The Euboïc Talent certainly came from Asia; for, Herodotus tells us, the Kings of Persia weighed their gold by that Talent.† In the same place he informs us, that the Babylonian Talent weighed 70 Euboïc Minas. Pollux says, it weighed 70 Attic Minas.‡ Therefore the Euboïc Talent should be equal to the Attic. But Ælian tells us, it weighed 72 Attic Minas;§ and if so, the Euboïc Talent should be heavier than the Attic, in the proportion of 72 to 70.
An article in the treaty between the Romans and Etolians, recorded by Polybius,? whereby the latter were to pay a certain number of Euboïc Talents, in silver of Attic fineness, seems to favour this inequality of the two Talents: for, had they been equal, there would have been no occasion to specify the quality of the silver by the standard of one country, and its weight by that of another.
But, if the Euboïc Talent was the standard used in the commerce between Greece and Asia (as it seems to have been) both countries were concerned to keep it up to its just weight; which was a sufficient reason for the preference given to it by the Romans, on account of its authenticity, whether the Attic Talent was equal to it or not.
And there is a circumstance very strongly in favour of their equality, which is, that if Philip changed the money-standard of his own country, with a view to the invasion of Asia, (as is highly probable), he certainly adopted the standard of the Daric, which was the Euboïc Talent, by which the Kings of Persia weighed their gold. But his money answers to the Attic talent, as I have shewn above.
Pollux no where mentions the Euboïc Talent; and if he took his estimate of the Babylonian Talent from Herodotus, he certainly thought the Euboïc Talent was equal to the Attic.
But the numbers in the account Herodotus hath given of the revenue of Darius, as they now stand, disagree with each other, and must be faulty in more places than one; and as probably in his value of the Babylonian Talent as elsewhere.
He tells us, the King of Persia weighed his silver by the Babylonian Talent; therefore, that must have been reckoned the silver Talent of the empire, and was probably the standard of their silver coin.
Xenophon, in his account of the expedition of Cyrus, says, the Asiatic Siglus was worth 7½ Attic Oboles.* This coin seems to have been the Drachm of the Babylonian Talent; and if that Talent weighed 72 Attic Minas, the Siglus was really worth but 7? oboles; but the place Xenophon here speaks of was near Babylon, where the Attic money was unknown and consequently undervalued in common currency. This however shews, that, if the Babylonian Talent was the standard for the silver coinage in Persia, its weight probably exceeded 70 Attic Minas.
The same author tells us, that Cyrus paid Silanus the Ambraciot 3000 Darics for ten Talents. Therefore, the Talent of silver was worth 300 Darics. And if 3000 Darics were coined out of the Euboïc Talent of gold, 300 weighed six Euboïc Minas: and supposing the Babylonian Talent to weigh 72 such Minas, the price of gold, at that time, was twelve times its weight in silver, as Plato, who was Xenophon’s contemporary, tells us it was.*
By the former of these passages, it appears probable that the Babylonian Talent weighed above 70 Attic Minas; by the latter, that it weighed above 70 Euboïc Minas; and if Pollux took his value of the Babylonian Talent from Herodotus, as the text now stands, and Ælian his value of the same, from a more correct copy of that author, or from some better authority, the Euboïc Talent must have been equal to the Attic.
[* ]See Pollux, L. IX. c. 6. § 86 and 76.
[† ]A. Gellius, L. I. c. 8.
[* ]Nat. Hist. L. XXXIII. c. 3.
[† ]Stephani Thes. Græc. t. IV. col. 25.
[‡ ]L. IX. c. 6. § 86.
[§ ]See the word ???? in the index to Stephens’s Greek Thesaurus.
[? ]???????? ??? ??????? ??????? ???? ?? ????? ????????? ??????, ???? ?‘??????? ???????? ???????????. Galen L. VIII. De compos. medicam, as quoted by Gronovius, L. II. c. 6. De Pecun. Vet.
[* ]Festus, De Verborum Signif. v. Talentum.
[† ]Herod. L. III. § 89.
[‡ ]Pollux, L. IX. c. 6. § 86.
[§ ]Var. Hist. L. I. c. 22.
[? ]Polyb. Excerpt. Legat. § 28.
[* ]Xenoph. Exped. L. I.
[* ]Plato, in his Hipparchus.