Classical Numismatics Discussion
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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Ancient Coin Forum (Moderator: Danny S. Jones)  |  Topic: What is a grain? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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JBF
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« on: November 03, 2019, 01:01:27 pm »

I mean, I know that a grain is a unit of weight, but where does the term come from?  How far does it go back?  Is it a grain of, well, grain?  (wheat??).  Does the measurement go back to antiquity?  How far back into antiquity can we trace it?  Books from the late 19th century sometimes talk about weights in grains, is this the same as ancient uses of the measurement, assuming that there are ancient uses of the measurement?  Inquirying minds want to know....
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shanxi
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2019, 01:12:56 pm »

wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grain_(unit)



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Joe Sermarini
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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2019, 04:35:44 pm »

Some (all?) BMC Greek weights are in grains.  Fortunately you can type "xx grains to grams" (replace xx with the number of grains) in Google and it will convert for you.
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Joseph Sermarini
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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2019, 07:13:52 pm »

For those who not want to use various weight converters:

1 grain = 0.0648 gram

1 gram = 15.432438 grains
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JBF
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2019, 10:11:52 pm »

a belated thank you to people who answered.  It is a little rude of me to wait, but as you can see I have been trying to figure out things. Grin

I have an interest in the incuse coinage of Magna Graecia which is where the Pythagoreans were most prominent, and so I was wondering what would happen if one converted measurements into something the ancients would use, would anything interesting turn up?  A Sybaris stater is about 8.1 grams which converted into grains would be 125.002 grains.  If you are a Pythagorean, your a mathematician, but your also a number mystic reading into numbers (for example, lucky number 7 for the Greeks meant opportunity).  I am not saying that there is any merit to reading into numbers, it is a spurious activity except maybe a kind of aesthetic to it.  If you are "into" numbers though certain numbers are more beautiful than others.  As Sheldon said on Big Bang Theory, 72 is a nine (on scale from one to ten).  Why? because 72=2 cubed times 3 squared.  (2^3)(3^2).  It is just a very elegant number and we do know that the Pythagoreans played with "square" numbers and "triangular" numbers and so forth.  Another elegant number is 125, or 5^3.  Is it a coincidence that the incuse coinage is around 8.1 grams (125 gr.)?

There is a die/weight that was found in Sybaris.  On it it an inscription that has three, in a vertical 'column,'  Greek_Delta Greek_epsilon.  An incuse stater is divisible into three drachms.  The inscription stands for "deka" repeated three times, in other words, 30 drachms or 10 stater.  The weight weighs 80.55 grams. or roughly 1250 grains.  It is not exact for our tastes, but I think it should be considered in the acceptable range.  For that matter, a grain is not exactly that exact a measurement, if one is weighing barley.

I don't think that any other standard works for these "number games".  I think with every other standard if one converts it, you get numbers in the tenths, hundredths, etc. places.  in other words, not a nice neat whole number like 125.  But, I do think that it works for the early incuse staters, before the standard began to decline.

Kind regards,
JBF
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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Ancient Coin Forum (Moderator: Danny S. Jones)  |  Topic: What is a grain? « previous next »
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