Amphora (unit)

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This article is about the unit of measurement. For other uses, see Amphora (disambiguation).

The amphora, or amphora quadrantal was a unit for measuring liquids or bulk goods in the Roman Empire, and for estimating the size of ships and the production of vineyards.

The volume of a standard amphora is equal to one cubic foot.

Thus the Roman amphora (one foot ~29.6 cm) contains about 26 litres, Greek amphoras varied from 18.5 L (pous italikos ~26.5 cm) to about 36 L (pous Ptolemaikos ~33.1 cm). The French amphora, also called the minot de Paris, is 1/8 muid or one cubic pied du roi and therefore about 34 litres.

Along with other standard measures and the Roman currency, it gave an added advantage to Roman commerce. A standard amphora, the amphora capitolina, was kept in the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill in Rome.

The talent, an ancient unit of mass was roughly the mass of the amount of water that would fill an amphora.