# Attic talent

The **Attic talent** (a talent of the Attic standard), also known as the **Athenian talent** or **Greek talent** (Greek: τάλαντον, *talanton*), is an ancient unit of mass equal to about 26 kilograms (57 lb), as well as a unit of value equal to this amount of pure silver.[1] A talent was originally intended to be the mass of water required to fill an amphora, about one cubic foot (28 l).[2] At the 2017 price of $547/kg, a silver talent is worth $14,113.[3] It was equivalent to 60 minae, 6,000 drachmae or 36,000 oboloi.[1]

During the Peloponnesian War, a trireme crew of 200 rowers was paid a talent for a month's worth of work, one drachma, or 4.3 grams of silver per rower per day.[4] According to wage rates from 377 BC, a talent was the value of nine man-years of skilled work.[5] This corresponds to 2340 work days or 11.1 grams (0.36 ozt) of silver per worker per workday. In 2004, a modern carpenter's median wage was about $25,060 per year or $226,000 for nine years of work.[6]

In 1800, a building craftsman in urban Europe received an average wage of 11.9 grams (0.38 ozt) of silver a day,[7] or about $0.49 a day.[8] Adjusted for inflation, this corresponds to $6 a day in 2007 money.[9] Assuming a European worker in 1800 to be as productive as a worker in ancient Greece, the purchasing power of a talent in ancient times was about equal to $20,000 in the early 21st century.[10] The plausibility of this calculation is confirmed by the fact that a talent of silver was worth $1081 in 1800,[8] equivalent to $13,000 after adjusting for inflation.[9]

## See also

## References

- The exact mass of a talent was 25.992kg. Herodotus, Robin Waterfield and Carolyn Dewald,
*The Histories*(1998), p. 593. - Talent (Biblical Hebrew), Unit of Measure,
*unitconversion.org*. - "Money Metals charts".
*Money Metals*. - Torr, Cecil. "Triremes",
*The Classical Review,*Vol. 20, No. 2 (March 1906), p. 137. - Engen, Darel. "The Economy of Ancient Greece", EH.Net Encyclopedia, 2004.
- See careers.stateuniversity.com/pages/240/Carpenter.html
- Calculated from Robert Allen's "Wages New", p. 36.
- Calculated from here Archived February 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Calculated from here Archived 2007-07-21 at WebCite.
- See also footnote one in "Life of Crassus", which calculates the value of a talent as $20,000 in 2004 money.